By Chris Olsen
In response to the global health crisis, My Founder Story partnered with BankCherokee to launch Fueled by Purpose micro grants. Every week through June, we awarded a grant to a female-founded small business in need.
Lori Lozano was a hairstylist for 13 years when she decided to pursue barbering. Precision haircuts had always been the part of her work she was most passionate about, so the transition felt natural. In 2015 she traded in her cosmetology license for a barbering license. Three years later, after dreaming of professional freedom and a workspace to call her own, with the support of her cousin, Lori started construction on a mobile barbershop. She established her business entity for Proud People Barber Shop and continued to barber while working toward bringing her entrepreneurial dream to life.
Around the same time, Lori began experiencing physical symptoms that drastically affected her mood and energy level. She pushed forward with work on the trailer for her mobile barbershop, but the severity of the symptoms increased. She went in for medical testing and was diagnosed with uterine fibroids. After doing more research, she learned the impact that environmental toxins in foods, cosmetics, plastics and more have on the body and how they contribute to conditions like hers. She immediately switched to a vegan diet, drank more water and began cooking with cast iron. She reduced her hours at work and added time to each appointment so she could slow her pace and reduce stress. She no longer skipped lunches for walk-in appointments. She was still exhausted from the anemia brought on by her condition, but Lori felt exponentially better. Unfortunately, the changes at work affected her income, which meant the trailer project would have to slow down as well.
Lori soon realized her workstation at the barbershop was a hot spot for toxicity. The shave gels, aftershaves and talcs she was using were filled with unhealthy ingredients. So she decided to take matters into her own hands. She began creating her own non-toxic products to detail her finished work. Her clients became her test models. She gradually replaced the old with the new, one product at a time. When her customers suggested she sell her products, Lori realized she could offer something no one else was offering and something other barbers likely needed. That’s when she decided she would officially launch a product line and call it LowKey Hi-Q.
Lori’s challenges over the past year have given her an entirely new perspective on the purpose of the trailer. While it’s still a work in progress, rather than four chairs (three as rentals), half of the space will hold a single-chair barbershop and the other half will be dedicated to product development and sales. In the meantime, she’s working on an alternate plan to offer her services in the community. Lori plans to use the grant to help upgrade production of LowKey Hi-Q.
To learn more about Lori’s business, visit ProudPeopleBarber.com.
To learn more about and apply for a Fueled by Purpose micro grant, visit our grants page.
Photo: Proud People Barber Shop
About the author: Chris Olsen is an author and broadcast media maven turned communications consultant. Through her work as a consultant, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.