The Aug 8. ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bronzed N Glow Beauty Boutique was a day full of happy tears, especially for co-founder Jamesha Lucas. Opening a beauty supply store was no easy feat; construction around the shop’s location at 19327 Livernois Ave. — paired with a global pandemic — delayed the opening several times. But after nearly three years of hard work and pivoting, Detroit’s first Black-owned and woman-owned beauty boutique celebrated its launch this past weekend.
The boutique’s minimalist setup makes way for the store’s true stars: a colorful lineup of women’s, men’s, and children’s hair products and accessories on rolling displays and mounted shelves. Lucas and co-founder Destiny Thomas envisioned a space that went beyond the traditional beauty supply store where people buy their hair care with little to no assistance. The store is unlike other beauty shop experiences, merging education and new technology to guide customers in understanding what products work best based on their individual needs.
At the ceremony, Mayor Mike Duggan and Councilman Roy McCalister spoke, and Bronzed N Glow was presented with the Spirit of Detroit award. The official store opening is Aug. 11. Lucas sat down with Hour Detroit prior to the private ribbon-cutting ceremony to share what the boutique has to offer, explain their social distancing efforts, and reflect on seeing her vision come to life.
Hour Detroit: Where did the idea for Bronzed N Glow come from?
Jamesha Lucas: It [started in] October 2017. I was recovering from a concussion, and I came across this article about the experience people were having in traditional beauty supply. People can never seem to find the right products — I know I never could. And so, then I thought, how do I now go about this? That’s what really started to create this desire. There were these different pieces that kept coming together. So it was me going to the dermatologist and realizing that I was having trouble with my scalp. So, then it was like, OK, a healthy scalp is really important, and people don’t know that. That piece then connected to this piece of like, you know, people can’t find what they need. We know that for big-box retailers, they don’t have that personalized experience. So, I’m thinking, why not? My degree is in business management; I’ve worked in business sales and consulting for nine years. I worked in retail. You have all of these ingredients in there, and it comes together to create this perfect balance of what I need to do this.
How did you choose which products to carry?
We have a mixture of products for all hair types and textures. We have a mixture of brands that are kind of new and up and coming, like CurlMix, which was on Shark Tank. We are really excited to have them. And then Girl+Hair is a very amazing brand. It was really research. A lot of time on Instagram. [Asking,] what are people trying? What do people need? How can we take a mixture of what people are used to seeing, and then also give them some new options that maybe they aren’t as used to seeing but would be willing to try? And then being able to have somebody to walk them through the process, it makes that a little more possible. We don’t need any designated section to say, “this is this person’s section.” There is no signage. There is no labeling. That is because we have our “Glow Getters” here to assist you in the process. And some people are introverts, so we’re not going to be on your back.
Are there any local ties to the brands you’re carrying?
We do have Detroit natives. Courtney [Adeleye] from The Mane Choice is a Detroit native. [Jasmine Lawrence who created] Eden BodyWorks is from Detroit. Detroit Grooming [Co.] and Golden Grooming [Co.] are both Detroit based, and the Original Moxie is out of Ypsilanti.
How is education part of the shopping experience at Bronzed N Glow?
So COVID’s kind of changed that for us. We have a hair analyzer, and it scans the hair and scalp to help us have a microscopic look. We’re able to see things such as irritation, flaking, dandruff. We’re not medical professionals, that’s the one thing that I want people to make sure that they understand. We are here to guide you in the process. We are not making a medical diagnosis of any sort, but we do want to be able to recommend you to a dermatologist if something comes up. And I think that’s where having someone to speak with about this comes in handy. But because of COVID, and it requires close proximity, we’re going to allow for the distance right now.
Along with the hair analyzer currently being unavailable and six-feet stickers throughout the store, what other social distancing efforts will Bronzed N Glow implement?
We’ll, of course, keep count of the number of people. We are only supposed to have about eight people outside of the Glow Getters [in the store] at a time. We also have a plexiglass shield [at the cash register], and there’s hand sanitizer throughout the space. And then as far as educational needs, we will be having livestream events from the store. Until we can all be in person, we’ll definitely be livestreaming and sending out educational information.
Despite COVID-19, how does it feel to be opening up right now?
I am blown away. Truly blown away. I saw the space in my dream, and it looks better than I could’ve ever dreamed. It’s more than I could have ever imagined. I keep telling everybody, like I’ve been in build mode for almost three years. But truthfully, it was supposed to happen this way. Looking at the finished sidewalks — it makes sense. I could not have asked for a better store manager. I could not have asked for a better crew. It’s truly a blessing. God has given [me] this vision and seeing it through to today. I’m completely emotional today.
For more information, visit bronzednglow.com