We had the good fortune of connecting with Martha Howard and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Martha, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I ‘m married with two kids. Earlier in my career when my kids were babies, I owned a salon. I made the decision to step away from salon ownership to working in a different salon as a booth renter. I still had the freedom and control of my work schedule which gave me tons of flexibility to be with my family. Looking back it was a difficult decision to make however I didn’t want to ever put raising my kids second to my business. Now that my kids are both grown and in college the work balance has changed. I’m able to work more or pursue other interests because I have more time.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Having been in the hair industry for 30 years, I’ve seen trends come and go. Our industry is cyclical…what’s popular today will be gone tomorrow. However you’ll see a variation of trends and styles pop come back out 10 years from now. I service a multi-cultural client base and the majority of my African-American clients were getting relaxer services for years. About 10 years ago those numbers started to decline. Many of them no longer wanted to chemically straighten their hair. They became interested in wearing their hair in its natural state. I was all for it because I myself have been wearing my hair naturally curly long before it was popular. I began to notice that for some the transition from going from straight to now being curly was easy for some but not for others. Particularly clients whose texture was a tighter curl. At times I didn’t know how to help them because how I serviced a client with a looser curl pattern did not work for the client with a tighter curl pattern. I researched and tried to find advanced training on learning how to cut and style tight curly, kinky textured hair and there wasn’t much available. DevaCurl was the only product company offering products and education on working with curly hair. I took a DevaCurl cutting class which was helpful however the method and technique that I learned did not cater to my clients who had tighter curls and coils. My cousin had suggested that I seek out her hairstylist’s tight curly cutting/styling advanced training called Cut It Kinky. I took their class and became a part of a wonderful community of like-minded stylists dedicated to on-going education in learning the art and science of styling, cutting and maintaining tightly curly, kinky and coily textured hair. Women who are embracing their natural texture today for as long as it’s now been popular I believe it has transcended from being a trend. For many it has become a lifestyle.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Well since the Covid-19 shutdown, places here in town are slowly opening up but still practicing social distancing. I live in Chandler which is a suburb of Phoenix, Az. and I would first take them to a new cool restaurant/bar called “The Hidden House”. It’s located in downtown Chandler they have excellent food and amazing mixologists who make these super dope drinks! I would then take them to downtown Phoenix, Tempe area and Scottsdale for shopping and probably just hang out and throw something on the grill for chill time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give a shoutout to my husband John W. Howard for all of your love, encouragement and support throughout my career. Years ago when we had the salon and we had difficulties keeping a barber on staff, he decided to enroll in barber school and became a licensed barber so that we would always have that position filled. I would also like to give a shoutout to my cousin Robin Collymore-Henry for suggesting that I seek out her stylist’s new educational team I Am Black Girl Curls and take and become a Cut It Kinky Alumni stylist. Since meeting and educating with the team it has helped my business tremendously in becoming a Tight Curl Specialist.
Other: We meet on the Zoom platform every Monday and starting in July are community will turn into becoming a paid membership. We are also in the process of writing an online book titled “The NAP ebook.”