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Rising Stars: Meet Jordan James

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan James. 

Hi Jordan, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Growing up in a small town I wasn’t exposed to much. Both my parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles were born, raised, and stayed in Martinsville, Indiana. The Midwest is a place not many people get out of to experience what all life has to offer. Growing up I was a little bit of a terror. I was bossy, got super passionate about things I really really wanted to do but was still too young to pursue these things on my own. I never just wanted to be “home”. My mom always tells me stories about how I always wanted to just go “somewhere”, it didn’t matter where. Being a girl under the age of 15 with so many aspirations and self-assuredness — these were very hard feelings to navigate and express because at the time I didn’t understand why I felt so sure. I truly believed I could do anything. I started working when I was 14 at a local pool concession stand it was my very first job and I remember feeling a little more “in control” of my life knowing every two weeks I would be handed my “own” money. Taking no for an answer was never an option for me. Obviously when you’re that young “no” is a word used quite frequently but at the time when it came to things, I wanted for myself, whether that was the newest makeup from Clinique or winning 1st place in singing contest at the local fairgrounds, I made it happen. All on my own. With all that being said, since I was only small my mother knew I was going to be in fact someone who did leave small-town Indiana and chase after every last dream I had. 

My mom, also being a hairstylist, I spent a lot of time with her in the salon. I would hand her perm rods, walk with her to the back room while she mixed color but most of all watch her so intently speak to her clients. My mother was such good energy. Her clients loved her and my mom loved them. She always kept it real. She loved her job. It allowed her to be home with my sister and I to raise us well while my dad worked full time. I knew I wanted to love my job like my mom did. 

Fast forward to high school, I was the girl with the new hair trends and hair colors every week. I was a Cheerleader so I was the one giving everyone “messy buns” before the football and basketball games. My friends would have me spend the night on school nights to curl their hair for school the next day. I grew up in a time before Instagram for beauty inspiration and YouTube to show you to create it, so looking back now, in a sense, I was a beauty outlet for many young girls my age. Slowly people picked up on my natural talent doing hair… I soon started giving the “scene” haircuts (we all had our emo streak) in the bathrooms at school with shaving razors and then before I knew it, I had brides reaching out to me asking me to do hair for their weddings! I remember charging $40 an updo and I felt like the richest 17-year-old there was! To this day these women tell me they loved their hair on their special day. 

Without doubt, I graduated high school and attended cosmetology school. I worked in a high-end salon for 3 years before realizing the drive and work ethic I had on my own to pursue self-employment and run my own business. When I finally took the big step out on my own it was pure success. I worked my butt off to make sure it happened! 60-hour workweeks, missed family gatherings, baby showers, weddings, you name it. I was the first one in the salon every morning and the last one to leave. Before I knew it, I had a busting at the seam’s clientele and a very organized small business in a town called Brownsburg, Indiana. Money was great, I was young, so in the midst of this I had taken up the hobby of traveling all over the world. I spent a lot of my first few years self-employed, working really hard and then taking a couple weeks off to travel Europe. I would repeat this trend over and over until finally moving over to the United Kingdom to pursue a life! You can only imagine my parents’ reaction when I dropped this news! All my early to mid-twenties I spent working in the Chester, England. Building a clientele came easy for me as I worked in a small shop in the city center called, Naomi Chantelle Hair Salon. The owner was well known in the area and so very generous in handing me clients that she was unable to fit in. By this time, I had been doing hair about 5 years so I had a good amount of experience and before I knew it my clientele was growing so quickly. This was around the time (2015) Instagram was becoming a thing and having that exposure really helped build me even quicker. I was working with all different hair textures, being asked for different colors that really took me out of my comfort zone and I just went with it! I made whatever my clients wanted, happen. I had gained SO much knowledge SO quickly working in that salon. Inevitably, Chester changed me. The diversity of people, the intermixing of cultures, the fashion, the communication between people, the simplicity of life I discovered living over there woke me completely. It was so much I was never exposed to and it just all made sense now! I felt accepted, I felt inspired, and I had built wonderful friendships, I no longer felt I was searching for that fulfillment I could never grasp as a young girl- that feeling of contentment that seem to come so easy to everyone around me back home in Indiana. I was finally in my happy place, working in England, as a hairstylist, creating beautiful hair, every single day. After 5 years It was time, I indefinitely came back to the states. My friends threw me a going-away party, I remember reading one card from one of the girls and all that was written in it was “never change Jordan”. Those words have stuck me with me ever since. Moving to another country at times was hard for me because regardless of how “at home” I felt in the little city of Chester, England, I was still a small town, Midwest girl still so naive to the ways of the world no matter how many countries I had checked off my bucket list. I told myself when I got there, I would remain true to who I was and always approach others with love and kindness. Everyone was so diverse in the city I lived in and I think it could have been easier at times to just kinda go with the crowd or blend in. Although it was uncomfortable at times, I always stayed true to who I was. Those years in England I was praised by my friends on how accepting I was to others, and how much love and kindness I had to give, so when I read those words in that card, I knew that’s what she meant. 

At 28 (2019) I regretfully had moved back to America after gaining much knowledge in the hair and beauty industry in Europe. Although I wasn’t ready to move back, I was excited to share insight on everything I had gained from living abroad, stateside. I moved back to Indiana briefly before deciding to pursue a life and career down in Tampa, Florida. I don’t know why I chose Florida. I didn’t know a single soul at the time when I moved down here. I just overheard conversation about this city and that it was a great mix of ages and cultures and people down here were active and so it just seemed right. I shortly after packed my car full of everything I owned and moved into an apartment in the city of Tampa. No clients, no friends, no connects… it was all so new. 

2 years later and I’m finally established in Florida. It took me about 2 years to build a clientele down here which is probably the longest it’s taken me as there are that many talented stylists in this area! No one needs a new hairstylist! What an amazing city/state! The people down here blow me away with their giving and kind hearts. Florida is definitely the hospitality state but not just to its vacationers… to its new residers too! I now work in a salon in South Tampa and also run an online shop, ch1luxuryhair.com, named after the small city in England I worked in for many years. The website itself showcases all my favorite and most trusted hair products including my own line of European hair extensions, mulberry silk pillowcases, and scrunchies! This is a brand I’ve been building for a while now and I’m definitely trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I just want to create a safe place where my clients or followers can buy legit products and ethically sourced hair accessories. Nowadays there are that many shops online it’s hard to navigate which ones you can trust to buy from! 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Getting to this point in my career hasn’t been smooth but it could have been worse. I think I was taught at a very young age what really good work ethic looks like, so the working part always came a little easier for me. What has opened my eyes the most is how to shift or keep your stamina for your end goal when you get told the word, “No”. My whole life I just thought you can have whatever you want as long as you work for it, but that’s not always the case. In 2018 when I moved back from the UK it was not by choice. My visa was up and had no choice but to go back home. A lot of people would say I was building a life on sand over in England knowing full well I had to come back but I was just living in the moment and enjoying the “now” I honestly didn’t even think once about when that day would come! I’ve had to learn to embrace the nos and see them as new opportunities for growth and even bigger possibilities I never thought were possible! 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a fully licensed hairstylist. I specialize in all aspects of color, hair extensions, and cutting and styling. My favorite part of my job would be the blowout. The blow-dry is the finished result for all the hard work I’ve just put in. Color is my expertise. I love the clients that come in to me and tell me they have never been able to achieve specific colors and I’m able to give them the hair they have always wanted. I’ve asked my clients in the past on a poll on Instagram what they loved most about services with me and surprisingly the most common answer was my transparency and originality. I always try my best to keep it real. I love that my clients pick up on this. I love that I’m able to be more than just their “hairstylist”. I provide a place for my clients to feel they can be themselves, judgment-free, and they are loved no matter what! I think this ties back in to when I was younger and feeling like I was this person I couldn’t express for many years. I can only hope I am a small outlet for each and every client when they sit in my chair to just be who they want to be. I am proud that my clients feel that energy from me. 

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The covid 19 crisis has made me even MORE aware of mental health issues all around the world. I think although that time was very difficult for most, it was also a time to reflect and REST. During quarantine, I think a lot of people felt pressure from social media that they needed to be doing “something”. I am a strong believer that rest and doing “nothing” is success! Resting your body and mind. Just turning OFF is sometimes what we all need to recharge. Not to mention, sometimes people’s best they can do for the day is wake up and do nothing and that should be recognized as progress! 

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