People tend to ask Te’Sha Showers how she did it, how she turned TNT Beauty Supply from vision to reality.
First, she said, get your business name licensed at the Calhoun County Building in Marshall.
Second, research. Find out what requirements are needed to start a business, from an Employer Identification Number to a tax license. Dig deep enough and the costs for each can be next to nothing.
In fact, Showers hasn’t stopped researching. She asks clients what they want from her store, which offers hair products and styling for a variety of textures, aesthetician services and miscellaneous beauty products. She finds great products for great prices. She looks at similar businesses and draws upon their successes.
Showers doesn’t have a business degree. She doesn’t have a background in hairstyling, either. She researches and makes a commitment to Albion a priority. Now TNT is approaching its one-year anniversary.
“I’m not here to get rich,” said Showers. “My idea is not to get rich off of nobody. I’m a low-income citizen. I still have a part-time job at Citgo…I just really want to service the community. I see a need for a hair store, so I brought it here.”
The idea for TNT began in January of 2017 when a coworker on shift with Showers asked her what business she thought should be in Albion.
Showers instantly thought of a hair store. She said people of her hair texture and style had to go out of town or order online for the products they needed.
So began her research. She completed registration, — name, EIN, tax license — considered wholesale vendors and reached out to people in town who styled hair to see what products they would buy from a local store.
She then talked to a Justin “Moose” Harper, the barber of Cuts by Moose, who said his storefront next to his Austin Avenue shop was available. Its property owners just so happened to have operated their own beauty supply store in the same building.
“Well, it must be meant for me to open a hair store,” she recalled. “The more I started talking with people, the more stuff started coming together.”
On April 29, the ribbon was cut. Showers had opened her store without traditional business know-how, using her tax refund to cover startup costs.
“It’s not just a hair store. A beauty supply store is whatever makes you beautiful,” said Showers. “So it can be from your glasses to the makeup to the shoes you wear.”
There are conditioners, braid sheen, butters, sprays, pomades, gels and bands for hair. In-house crochet hair and wigs are also offered. Moisturizers, nail polish, eyeliner, headscarves and jewelry are available as well.
If there’s something not offered in-store, Showers says to let her know.
In the back room of her store, licensed hair stylists and aestheticians (for lash, makeup, facial and waxing needs) are available. Showers said she charges a low rate so that anyone has a chance to start to build their clientele.
She is also cognizant of Albion College’s diversifying campus. She said with that diversity comes an increased need for her services. Before, like the city of Albion’s residents, they would need to drive to Jackson or Battle Creek. Not all students have cars, and all students are restricted by a school schedule.
Some students are coming from cities like Chicago and Detroit, where hair salons and supply are close to home. She said having a store like TNT wouldn’t likely be a determining factor in choosing Albion, but could be reassuring to see.
Albion residents, too, do not always have accessible transportation and many aren’t free during a business’s nine-to-five hours.
This is why Showers offers an in-town delivery service for an extra $2. If TNT’s schedule doesn’t align, she is willing to come before or after hours. She even accepts Briton Bucks.
Low-cost rental rates, delivery and product pricing are why Showers decided to call her store TNT Beauty Supply in the first place. As her slogan goes, it’s “Where the Prices are Dynamite.”
Eric Worley, director of the Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce, said it was important to have TNT Beauty Supply in Albion because it provides a needed service right in town. It was also important, he said, because Showers was able to take her dream and make it a reality.
Ms. Showers represents what’s great about the city of Albion,” said Worley. “There is a great community atmosphere here, and we want to take care of our neighbors. She saw a need in her community and wanted to do something about it. She reflects what many others in Albion want to do: provide for their community.”
TNT Beauty Supply is located at 700 Austin Avenue. Te’Sha Showers is also planning to set up a booth for her products and for the stylists who rent for her.