Local salon owner gives women a fresh start

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- She went from being homeless to hiring people.

K. Pearl’s path to becoming an entrepreneur of three businesses didn’t follow a typical blueprint.

“I was a high school drop-out. I failed the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and the 10th grade,” Pearl said.

Pearl says she was also an at-risk youth who grew up in the foster care system.

She would eventually catch up to earn her diploma and age out of the foster care system.

However, she then found herself on her own and homeless, sleeping in her vehicle.

“That’s when I started to realize I couldn’t make any excuses anymore,” she said.

That drive would help her launch Gifted Hands Salon, which focuses on natural hair care.

The salon is not the only business in the 4,000 square foot building on Salisbury Ridge Road in Winston-Salem.

Gifted Hands Hair Bar and Gifted Hands Academy are located there as well.

Pearl says she is most passionate about her school allowing other women and men to earn a license specializing in natural hair care.

“When we opened our first semester, I went to the homeless shelters, to the streets, anywhere I could grasp young ladies and even young men that were open to making a change in their life, we offered a 100 percent scholarship,” Pearl said.

Ashley Kessler received a full scholarship to the academy last September.

“At the time I was going through a homeless crisis for me and my daughter,” she said.

The opportunity allowed Kessler to support her family and regain a sense of independence.

After receiving her license, Kessler is now the salon manager.

“I’m able to smile again and I’m starting to get my thoughts back,” she said.

Pearl credits her Christian faith for her success.

She estimates that the program has helped around 30 people become entrepreneurs.

Pearl also says the academy program has a 100 percent state board graduation rating.

Gifted Hands Academy is currently enrolling for its upcoming program beginning Sept. 19.

No experience or diploma is required.

Scholarships are available for men and women.

For more information call (336) 422-9427.