Juanda Roberts, founder and CEO of Princess Hair Pizzazz, said the concept for her business came from her experience as a consumer. “I wanted to take my own daughter to a hair salon, but wanted to avoid adult salons because sometimes the talk among women at such places is not what you want your daughter to hear,” she recalled. Roberts found a salon that only styles children’s hair, and noticed how busy it was. She said she also couldn’t help thinking of ways to make the salon experience for girls nicer.
Among her ideas was creating a fun and fancy atmosphere where little girls could feel pampered and valued. After what she describes as a rough year in 2017, Roberts decided to go forward with entrepreneurial plans that she had postponed. In addition to losing her mother that year, Roberts faced serious health challenges. “It really made me think about how precious time is,” she recalled. “If you wait for the perfect time to do something, you may end up never doing it.” Within two years she opened two Princess Hair Pizzazz salons in Atlanta, where she grew up and attended Spelman College.
On May 15, she opened her third Princess Hair Pizzazz salon in the Stonecrest Mall area. “I learned that having three business locations is officially by definition a chain,” Roberts said with a laugh. “Now I can say I own a chain of hair salons.”
Roberts said while she does not come from a hair industry background, she applies business expertise she gained in college and in the corporate world to operating Princess Hair Pizzazz. “I depend on my stylists for expertise in caring for hair, but I’m learning about that as well. I recently attended a national hair products convention. I believe whatever you do there’s a continuing learning process.”
The Stonecrest location, she said, is her largest. “The others have 10 or 12 stylists. I anticipate having 14 or 15 here when I’m at full staff.”
Roberts said she chooses her stylists carefully, selecting not only for skill, but also for dependability and personality. “My staff members have to have a heart for children and know how to talk with their parents. I want people who understand my vision and commit to it. At the same time, I am committed to their dreams. Some of them may come from circumstances where they didn’t have the opportunities they deserve. I want to help them have those opportunities.”
Stonecrest was chosen for the same reasons Roberts chose her other locations. “I wanted a clean, safe area. I didn’t want my clients coming to areas where they would be exposed to things you don’t want little girls exposed to. Also, I wanted to be near other businesses so parents could shop or run errands while their daughter is getting her hair done,” she said.
“We do more than style hair. We build young ladies’ self-esteem by showing them they are beautiful, and they can aspire to do great things with their lives. We tell them that all hair is beautiful, whatever the length or the texture,” Roberts said, adding that her normal client base is girls from 2 through 16 years old.
Each word in the business’s name is there for a purpose, she explained. The word “princess,” she said, is there to remind every young lady who comes to the salon that she’s special. “The word ‘hair’ is there so that people know immediately the business we’re in, and we added the word ‘pizzazz’ to let people know we want to wow you.”
Roberts describes Princess Hair Pizzazz as a “high-end children’s salon that offers a beautiful and secure environment, excellent customer service, and high-quality hair products,” adding, “Our stylists are true artists. They sometimes amaze me with the beautiful styles they create doing everything from designer scalp braids to box braids to silk presses. They understand the complexities of natural hair and are passionate about creating styles the clients love.” Princess Hair Pizzazz does not apply chemical relaxers or dyes, according to Roberts.
Quality work in a meticulously clean, beautiful setting is just part of the business model, Roberts said. “A high level of customer service is essential,” she said. “Every customer must have a great experience on every visit; we want to make the visit as easy and enjoyable as possible for them. If there’s a restaurant where you love the food, but the staff is rude and indifferent to your needs, you’ll probably eventually find another place to get your mac and cheese.”
Roberts said her goal is to have at least 10 salons in the metro Atlanta area. “From there, who knows? We may eventually go national.”