Jessica Lee would always get in trouble in high school at Archbishop Ryan for braiding her friend’s hair. It was the first sign that she was meant to be a hairstylist when she graduated.
“That was my real homework,” Lee said. “So I was preparing for things.”
Now at 22 years old, she owns her own salon space in Horsham’s Sola Salon Studios called Studio Twenti Two, a nod to her age, favorite number, and a fun twist because she describes herself as horrible at spelling.
“I wanted to make it even more me, and if you know me, I’m the worst speller in the entire world,” Lee said.
After graduating from Ryan in 2017, she went straight to beauty school at Jean Madeline Aveda Institute and graduated nine months later. She loved her experience there. First, she was in class learning about the logistics of cutting hair, then practicing on the floor.
Lee described how at Jean Madeline, they had to mix the color themselves, where most salons have premixed color, and according to her, it helped her perfect her color skills.
“Honestly, some of my beauty school clients I had still come to me today,” Lee said.
Lee attributes her success to the power of social media, describing how 10 years ago, it was hard to create a book of clients.
“My grandma was a hairstylist, and she would tell me it’s just all word of mouth,” Lee said. “But now I’m so lucky that if you post on Instagram and one person shares it, you may have just gotten 10 new clients.”
Before opening her salon, she was working at a salon in the Northeast. She soon discovered she was allergic to the color line they used and had to find other employment. She began doing hairstyling for the Miss USA organization, styling Ms. New York and Ms. New Jersey.
She was about to start another job when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything, including hair salons. After things opened back up, she was approached by a friend who is an eyelash technician, who suggested they rent space at Sola Salon Studios together.
“I thought about it, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to look back one day when I’m 80 years old, being like, I wish I took that chance,” Lee said.
Lee now has 395 clients she serves, keeping her plenty busy, and now that she uses a different hair color line, she loves doing color again.
“I always tell everybody I’m so lucky,” Lee said. “I just get to gossip and play with hair all day, and that’s what I love the most.” ••