DETROIT (WXYZ) — August is National Black Business month, and to celebrate, each week on The Rebound Detroit, we're introducing 7 Action News viewers to a thriving local Black-owned business.
From hospitality to beauty, home services and retail; all month long we're shining a light on the struggles and the triumphs these businesses and their owners have seen over the last year and a half, and the impact they're making on the community.
Kicking off our Black Business Month series is Skinphorea, a business which started inside one of the owner's homes and within the last five years, has grown into a skin care and beauty staple in metro Detroit.
Skinphorea's first location is on Washington Avenue in Royal Oak, and it's been busting at the seams even before the pandemic; which is why business partners Shareese Shorter and Jessie Hayes-Stallings knew it was time to expand.
“It started probably about 2 1/2, maybe 3 years ago," Shorter, who is Skinphorea's Director of Operations, told 7 Action News of the expansion.
When the duo first decided they were ready to grow, they scouted out the perfect location in Detroit, right on Michigan Avenue in Corktown. The new space dwarfs their original Royal Oak location, allowing Skinphorea to boost its clientele and services.
“And then everything literally came to a screeching halt because of COVID," Shorter said.
Like other spas, they had to temporarily close due to pandemic restrictions and COVID also pushed back the construction on the new building they were renting space in. The big expansion sat still for a while, but now they're finally here.
Skinphorea's new location in Corktown has a ribbon cutting Friday, Aug. 6, and will officially open to the public this weekend.
CEO and Founder Hayes-Stallings likes to think of Skinphorea as a beauty experience for people on the go; it's part of the concept behind their "facial bar," which has been a big hit for groups like birthday or bridal parties.
“This is what makes Skinphorea special," she said, showing us the new Corktown space. "You’re able to sit right here you don’t have to disrobe. You’re able to lean right back and we do all of the facials right here in 40-45 minutes."
The facials start at $59.
Most of Skinphorea's clients suffer from acne, so they developed at-home acne kits which they sell around the country. And when COVID first hit, they started virtual skin consultations, which they still offer.
The business duo first met in middle school, and have been through a lot together; especially since going into business.
They painted the walls of their first location in Royal Oak by hand, and watched it grow from the ground up.
“The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in the five plus years that we’ve been in business in that you have got to be solution oriented," Shorter said.
A lesson that pandemic has made only more clear. They need 35 employees to run their two Skinphorea locations, and right now they're still at 22. One way they're trying to close that gap is by offering a chance to grow for people who want to learn the industry; Skinphorea University, designed as an apprenticeship program.
“We hire people right out of school or you can come here and it’s a school. We partner with the State of Michigan, so you can get licensed and trained here," Hayes-Stallings said.