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Jamaica biz offers stylish solutions

And while some may say Heyward is not fully grown up at age 22, she is the owner of her own salon on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica.

Ciara’s Beauty...

By Courtney Dentch

By age 14, Cambria Heights resident Ciara Heyward knew she wanted to be a hair stylist when she grew up.

And while some may say Heyward is not fully grown up at age 22, she is the owner of her own salon on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica.

Ciara’s Beauty Salon opened at 110-14 Sutphin Blvd. in October, catering to customers looking to get their hair cut, styled, relaxed, set or colored, Heyward said.

Like many little girls, Heyward developed her passion for hair from watching her mother and other women undergo transformations at beauty salons, she said. Heyward would try to recreate the styles on some willing clients when she got home, she said.

“I am not sure just what the impetus was or the exact moment I made up my mind, but I knew some day that I wanted to own my own shop,” she said. “I was always messing with the dolls and doing their hair.”

Heyward pursued the craft by enrolling in the beautician program at Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City, she said. The instructors taught them the basics of hair treatments and styling, and the students, including Heyward, had to pass the state license exam at the end of the program, she said.

After high school, the fledgling beautician got a job at Hairstyling by Joseph in Manhattan, where she worked with stylists, she said. After three years refining her skills, Heyward was approached by a man who attends the Far Rockaway Church of Christ, where her father is a minister, and offered her a chance to go out on her own, she said.

The man, who owns the Sutphin Boulevard building that houses the salon, built the beauty parlor for his wife, who was enrolled in beauty school, Heyward said. But the woman had an adverse reaction to some of the chemicals used in the industry and could not open the shop herself, Heyward said.

“At first I said no,” she said. “I didn’t know if I was ready — I still don’t know if I’m ready. I’m really young.”

Heyward left the busy Manhattan salon to start the Jamaica shop, but it has been a tough transition for her, she said.

“At first it was really depressing,” she said. “I was so used to being around a lot of people. It’s kind of hard to be here by myself. I have friends who stop by to keep me company.”

Customers in Queens are also different from the clientele she was used to working with in Manhattan, she said. For example, many Queens women will ask to have their hair straightened using a stove iron, Heyward said.

“A lot of different people go there,” she said of the Manhattan parlor. “Sometimes we got celebrities. They don’t do certain things there that customers want here. Out here, people like to fry their hair, basically, with the stove irons.”

The young woman has also made some sacrifices to run her own business, she said.

“Being so young, there are a lot of things I can’t do now, like I can’t travel right now,” she said. “It’s just a lot of responsibility with the business itself.”

Heyward does have a loyal following of repeat customers, and the shop attracts walk-in customers who often come back, she said. The stylist is also looking forward to seeing more clients during the summer, she said.

Heyward is also hoping to find beauticians to rent the seven free chairs in the salon, she said.

“The hair care profession is forever evolving and there is always something to learn, so your training never stops,” she said. “For me the bottom line is satisfied and happy customers. It is important to me that they are not only pleased but delighted with our services.”

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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