KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The effect of COVID-19 on small businesses across the country has left an impact on many communities, especially if those businesses depend on close contact with customers, like hair salons.
For weeks last year during the beginning stages of the pandemic, hair salons temporarily closed their doors. One woman shares how she took a leap of faith and opened her own salon amid an ongoing and unpredictable pandemic.
Hannah Odendhal is living her dream. Ever since she was a student at Carter High School, Hannah wanted to be a hairstylist. Now at 28, she owns her own shop, Lucy Lu’s in Powell which opened in November.
“I don’t have to sit at a desk and punch a clock. I come in and get to be expressive in every way. And I kind of get to be an artist and create different looks,” Hannah Odendhal, Lucy Lu’s Owner, said.
For 8 years, she cut and styled hair out of a rental area at another salon. But when hairstylists were out of work for six weeks last year due to the pandemic, Odendhal considered the possibilities of starting her own business.
“I wasn’t ever going to live out this dream of owning my own. You just kind of had to dive right on it,” Odendhal said.
Lucy Lu’s isn’t just a salon, it’s also a boutique filled with women’s and children’s clothing, and accessories. Remember, she took this leap of faith in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis — and says her husband inspired her.
“He was very supportive of it. You can do this kind of thing. Every time I would doubt, he was like, ‘we’ve got this, we’ve got this.’ His motto was, ‘we never know if we never try,'” Odendhal said.
Sherry Glenn-Jones, Hannah’s client, applauds her spunk.
“I think it’s great. I admire her for taking the initiative and doing what she feels like she wants to do and needs to do,” Sherry Glenn-Jones said.
The salon-boutique is doing well, despite setbacks and life changes like a growing family.
“We have expanded, we have two new stylists who work with us now. We’re looking for a third. The foot traffic has doubled, we have lots of walk-ins here. It is really nice,” Odendhal said.
At a time when some businesses shut their doors because of the virus, Hannah opens her door for a fresh start: “I just want to make people happy. I want to make people feel good. With all the negativity in the world, I take it on as a role to bring positivity to people.”
Opening a new business is a real gamble, even more so with the pandemic we’re in. But if you’re willing to take that leap of faith by offering something people want and need, and if you’re good at what you do, the rewards can pay off.