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Health-challenged entrepreneur expands her haircare reach online

Ashley Tucker jumped started her virtual online hairstyle training class on Feb. 26 with these exhortative questions: “Is everybody ready? Excited?” 

The four-hour class educated her audience about locs, a type of dreadlock, and braiding techniques, and how to care for the hair.

Tucker is the owner of Coty Beauty Ashley (CBA), which she opened in January 2021. The business is represented by a purple butterfly, the symbol of individuals battling the autoimmune disease Lupus.

Tucker has been battling since 2012. She became certified as an instructor in May 2021 from the Institute of Beauty.

About half of people who have been diagnosed with lupus at some point develop a malar rash that is raised and scaly, and extends from cheek to cheek over the bridge of the nose.

It resembles the shape of a butterfly, which has become a popular symbol representing the disease. Butterflies are also significant because they are a symbol of hope, according to mylupus.com.

Blessed and grateful for her own journey, Tucker aspires to help as many people as possible to follow their passion in the beauty industry, which is always evolving. 

The participants of the online training class were from various states. They are trying to obtain their hair braiding certification/licensing.

They were excited about the training and brushing up their skills to improve their business prospects.

“I love locs and wigs and want to know more about the industry,” said Crystal Bridges of Dallas, Texas. 

Latisha Steward of Tupelo, Mississippi, owner of She Personal Hair Studio, said, “I joined Ashely’s class to further advance my knowledge of the hair industry. I have been braiding hair for 20 years and I make my own hair care products. I want to learn more about locs.” 

Steward already has her cosmetology license in Mississippi.

Finding the best techniques and using the best products can make a difference in the overall outcome of the desired style and the health of the hair.

One of the techniques Tucker demonstrated, using a mannequin’s head, was the latch and hook, which can be used to tighten locs and braids.

Tucker used a mannequin head with a relaxed hair texture to show the application of locs and braids is not limited to kinky hair texture. 

“If someone is relaxed and want to begin their journey, they can and are not limited. One can start with loc extensions and over time as their hair grows, you can trim the extensions in stages until only their natural hair remains,” said Tucker. 

Tucker also demonstrated how Afro Kinky hair is a staple product to use when doing loc extensions. She explained, “a little goes a long way and it gives the look of the natural hair texture.” 

In addition to learning new techniques and hair care, several attendees have expanded their business by traveling to meet the needs of their clients. 

Kevin Cordell of Memphis, better known as “LocswithKC,” said, “I lost my job in March 2020 and began doing locs out of my home in November 2020 full time. I met Ashley through a mutual friend and began training with her, and received my braiding license in February (of this year) 

“I have traveled to several clients in Nashville and Southaven. I also have clients who have traveled from Arkansas, Mississippi and as far as California to Memphis for me to do their hair.” 

Cordell, who currently services clients at the Kniiche Salon in Bartlett, wants to expand his business with his own hair care line of products. 

Tucker hosts locs and braiding classes the last Saturday of every month. On Mondays, she offers makeup classes.

“I wanted to provide virtual classes so people that live outside of Tennessee would still benefit from my training. 

“Online classes allow me to connect and form relationships with people from around the country. Once they have successfully completed my course, I provide them with the necessary paperwork needed to help them get certified in their state,” Tucker said. 

Tucker has started “Butterfly on a Budget,” an affordable beauty supply store, where all products are available for $1. Products include shampoos, conditioners, headband wings, oils, and loc perfumes. 

“My products are handmade and are versatile. My shampoos can be used to cleanse the hair and skin. My oil can also be used as a moisturizing agent for the body and heated aromatherapy,” said Tucker. 

Coty Beauty Ashley is inside Phoenix Salon at 4699 Poplar Ave, Suite 114. Butterfly on a Budget Beauty Supply and merchandise from her husband Rod Tucker’s business, RightEye T’s & Things, are available next door in Suite 115. Hair care products can also be purchased online at butterflyonabudget.com.

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