Pictured is Brianna Harris, a 2019 Stanly Community College Cosmetology graduate,
who recently opened up
a new beauty salon called, The Secret Sanctuary, located in Charlotte.
Albemarle, NC – Brianna Harris, a Stanly Community College (SCC) Cosmetology graduate, has finally found her passion in hair and makeup. “I have always been fascinated with the beauty industry, especially hair and makeup, but I wasn’t really sure what that looked like for me. Straight out of high school, my plan was to be a nurse. I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant for about six months but I never really enjoyed it, even though I liked taking care of people. Then, I switched to dental assisting thinking that is where I was meant to be. I began working as an Oral Surgery Assistant (OSA). I had a good job in Charlotte with excellent pay, but I just was not happy and knew that I did not want to be an OSA for the rest of my life,” explained Brianna.
Like so many people today, Brianna felt stuck in her job and knew that she needed to change careers, so she took action. “My fiancés mother actually inspired me to go back to school and get my Cosmetology license; she is a cosmetologist as well. She knew how unhappy I was being a Dental Assistant. I was not sure about the change at first because I always pictured myself in the medical field, having that “nine-to-five” job. I honestly just took a leap of faith and I enrolled at Stanly Community College in the Cosmetology Technology program and was able to earn my Cosmetology Degree in May of 2019. It’s the best thing I ever did for myself.”
She said studying at SCC was a good experience. “Overall, attending SCC was a pretty good experience. I always thought spring fling and fall fest were fun and a good way to meet other students to learn about the other programs that SCC has to offer.” On the other hand, Brianna admits that studying at SCC was also a lesson in tenacity and dedication. “Honestly, just coming to school was a huge commitment. As funny as it sounds, it’s so true. We had to be there at 8:00 a.m. every morning and stay all day until 5:00 p.m., four days a week. Throughout the day, we would do school work and work on clients, so by the end of the day you were tired. Most of us had jobs that we had to go to after school, and not to mention we had lots of homework, too. For me, passing the state board exam was very stressful. It’s a two-part test, written test and physical test. You have to go to a testing center to take the written test and pass. Then, you go to Raleigh to take the physical test, in which you perform different tasks which is nearly four hours long.”
Brianna currently works with her soon-to-be mother-in-law, Pam Alfred, and together they went into the salon business. “We recently built a small salon and it’s called The Secret Sanctuary (located in Charlotte) and our tagline is ‘Where Outer Beauty is Renewed and Inner Beauty is Restored.’ I have my own clients, but when I am not busy with them I will help assist with Pam’s clients.”
Brianna tells us that she loves what she is doing. “I love what I’m doing! There is always new styles and trends to learn in this field, and it’s very exciting!” However, just like many hairstylists around the nation, she has had to adapt to the conditions of COVID-19. “As of right now, I can honestly say COVID-19 has been a challenge for me. The mask mandate makes it hard. We are up close and personal with our clients, so it definitely has affected clientele, plus the pandemic has made it hard to build clientele.”
When asked what has been the most rewarding in her work, Brianna replied, “Being able to make people feel beautiful and build their confidence makes me feel so good. It is honestly the best feeling in the world when you see your client’s face light up, when they love their hair, and they just cannot stop smiling. You can see the confidence and joy on their faces. I also love being able to be the person that people can vent to and feel comfortable around. I want my clients to walk in my salon and just feel instant peace.”