Today we’d like to introduce you to Ericka Cherrie.
Hi Ericka, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started out at a trade high school in Baltimore Called Mervo. I graduated in 1999 and had My cosmetology license at 17. While still in school, I was an assistant in two local salons then moved on to get my own chair in my area salon called Mo Better Hair. I always read the behind the chair magazines and could envision myself one day working on stages and with celebrities.
I chose not to go directly to college, instead I worked hard to build up my clientele for two years then decided to enroll in the business and marketing program at BCCC. After graduating with my AA degree, I went to Morgan State then transferred to University of Baltimore where I finished with a degree in Business Marketing.
Juggling school and working full time was not easy. I always chose to put my clients and business ahead of anything else so sometimes the grades suffered and I would have to make it up to finish strong, but I managed to pull through. My father saw how hard I had been working so he decided to surprise me and bought a building for me to start my own salon. The only problem was that building while beautiful was all the way on the eastern shore of Maryland. I just could not see starting over to rebuild a client base so he eventually found me a building in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City.
That business opened right before the recession of 2008. Being there in my own business learning to manage others and promote my brand and other people in the midst of all the financial challenges people were facing let me know I was meant to do this. Somehow we managed to not only survive it but to thrive and grow in that time.
My interest in doing hair for tv and film also grew in that time and I sought out my mentor (Crystal Wright) who was teaching beauty preneurs to market themselves to that type of client. I began working on building a portfolio with models/photographers and other artists and doors just began opening up. I worked my first NYFW by going down the list of designers and messaging them all until someone said YES we would love to have you on our style team. The Most notable show Was Marc Jacobs where both Lady GAGA and Kylie Jenner walked for him in that season. I also built a relationship with Teknique agency and got hired to jobs working with reality tv shows on vh1, BET, Bravo, etc.
In my 22 years as a licensed cosmetologist, I’ve been blessed to be able to see many of my visions become reality.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth ride. Remember, I started my business literally about four weeks before the start of the recession in 2008. Clients were coming in but spreading out how often they came or limiting the service to just the basics. There were plenty of days I wanted to just walk away or felt like maybe it’s time to give it up. I promise each time I felt like God what am I doing? The money isn’t adding up, this or that needs to be done, a bill needs to be paid, I can’t find any reliable staff, someone would call or send a message saying how blessed they were that they found me. I had a turn off notice and no clients on the books then suddenly the phone rang nonstop or a client felt the need to give a large tip.
Another challenge was navigating the recent mandatory shutdowns due to covid 19 pandemic. My business model is based on servicing clients in person and I was forced to close my business for three months. That made me open my eyes to the need for a way to create virtual services/classes and a product line to assist my clients in maintaining their looks when they are unable to get to us for any reason. This birthed my haircare business legacy haircare.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m great at creating magic in the moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a photoshoot, a runway show, a bride or when my clients sit in my chair in the salon. I take the client’s vision mixed with my expertise and make it reality. Over time I have built a steady following from the natural and curly hair community. Back when I started relaxers and straight hair was the in thing and I decided to grow out my relaxer and embraced my curls. That just drew all those types of clients to me from them seeing various styles I wore. At that time, I was the only stylist in the whole salon who worked with natural hair. Now being natural is the in thing and 85% of my client base is natural. I specialize in curly cuts and natural hair styling for everyday wear and special occasions.
I’m proud to be able to offer my clients solutions to their hair care challenges and now also products to help them maintain their looks at home.
How do you think about luck?
I can’t say I believe in luck but I do believe in divine alignment and blessings from God. I have a strong faith and I know that as long as I consult God as my guide, the world opens up to me. There was one Sunday night I was watching a Ravens football game with some girlfriends and at that time, Torrey Smith was one of our newest players and was on fire for the ravens. He made a few winning plays that Sunday that won us the game, but when he took his helmet off his locs were undone and needed maintenance. I said man I have to find a way to do his hair. Two days later, he and another teammate happened to be shopping in the store that my girlfriend worked in and she also has locs which I styled. Long story short, she told him about me and he left the mall and came directly to me to get his hair done. That is just one story of how things that I wanted and asked for came to be.
- Curly Cut and style $starts at $150
- Loc Maintenance & style $100
- Silk Press $100
- Makeup $100
- Bridal packages start at $300
- Email: Info@createthebeautiful.com
- Website: createthebeautiful.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/erickacherriebeauty
- Facebook: facebook.com/createthebeautiful
- Other: shoplegacyhaircare.com
@createivesoul photo for image with astro suit