Local Hair Stylist in Her Happy PlaceBy ELISA MAYO,
Laurie Wood always wanted to be a hairstylist. She remembers spending every afternoon after school in her daddy’s barber shop, “Daddy would let me work on the mannequin's hair. I’d shampoo it, style it, and even cut it. I loved it,” she says. Being a hair stylist was something she always wanted to do, but her dad, Sheldon Beard, at first discouraged Laurie from the career choice, “He wanted me to do anything else, so I went to college for one year, but I didn’t like it. He finally accepted that I wanted to do hair and sent me to beauty school. I knew it was what I was supposed to do! Now we work together every day,” explains Laurie.
Laurie’s career as a stylist has been her full-time job for 13 years, “The first five years were really hard. It took time to build my business and get a client base. I’m so glad I stuck with it though,” recalls Laurie. She works as a stylist at Image Plus Salon in Quitman with Sheldon Beard and Kim Johns, “We are a family. Kim laughs at me and daddy and we consider her our family, too.” Each day, Laurie’s dad brings her a Dr. Pepper, “It’s my favorite drink and he stops at the store each morning and gets me one. I’m still his baby and I help take care of him, too. He always wants me to help him with paperwork or set his appointments. I can’t imagine not working with him, but it’s probably harder for him than it is for me,” laughs Laurie, “I love working with daddy because we are really close. I am spoiled rotten.”
The benefits of being a hair stylist go beyond the close family she works with, it also helps her to be able to set her own schedule so she can spend time with her two children, “I like being able to set my own schedule. My customers are great and work with me.” Laurie admits she has a fetish for people’s hair, “I love playing with people’s hair. My favorite thing to do is color somebody’s hair who has never had color before. I feel like an artist and when I get a blank canvas, it’s so much fun.”
Hair isn’t the only blank canvas Laurie enjoys working with. She also enjoys painting and creating works of art, “I don’t have a lot of time for painting, but I do it sometimes when I make gifts for people.” Laurie also sings with her husband Brooks, “I love to sing. My customers call me the singing beautician because I sing while I cut their hair.” The duo currently sings at restaurants, for weddings, and for parties. “I grew up singing. Daddy sang in a band and plays drums. He sang in the Methodist Church in Shubuta, so I’ve been around it all my life,” says Laurie.
She also enjoys working in Quitman, “I really love it here. Since Brooks works at Blossman, we often get to eat lunch together. We consider that our dates, since it is often the only time we are without the girls.” With all the perks of being a mompreneur, Laurie also acknowledges that it isn’t always easy, “It can be tiring, especially around the holidays since we are standing on our feet all day, but it’s worth it. I can’t ever see myself doing anything different. I don’t want to leave my customers or my daddy.” For other mamas considering going into business for themselves, Laurie has this advice, “Stick with it. Don’t give up. It’s going to be hard in the beginning, but if you stick with it, it will be worth it in the end.”
Laurie has been married to Brooks Wood for ten years. The couple resides in Quitman with their two daughters, Brooklyn and Kori.