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A Moment with Our EDTP Graduates: Meet Barbara Hall- Bryant and Crystal D. Lewis

Posted on 4/27/2016 by EDTP Coordinator in LAEDA News

Barbara Hall- Bryant and Crystal D. Lewis are the owners and operators of I Say Yes Salon & Spa, LLC, and graduates of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program. We had a chance to sit down with them to ask both of them about their experience with entrepreneurship and LAEDA’s training program.

Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take, with many different possible directions. What made you both decide to become entrepreneurs? Why did you both choose the beautician industry?

Crystal: “I wanted to step out and be on my own and I also wanted to leave a legacy for my daughter, Crystal. I started off doing my sisters hair. I loved to do hair ever since I was 10 years old and really have a passion for it.”

Barbara: “Crystal used to cut off her Barbie doll’s hair and she used powder collate to change the doll’s hair color and then made different hair styles. She went to beauty school right out of High School and graduated successfully. I wanted to see my daughter succeed in her business and wanted to help her as well because I also have a passion for hair. “

Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-hah!” moments? How did the program help you?

Barbara: “The program was definitely a door that God opened up for us. This program provided us with not only knowledge, but hands on experience as well and we graduated with all of our work done and ready to put into action. Our Ah-hah moment is that this program is a jewel of a program in Camden, NJ and every night being in the classes that this program provides was an amazing experience.”

Crystal: “We know what it takes to run a business because of this program and we were given the right tools; all we have to do is apply it. This program really opened up our eyes to a lot of knowledge that we can really use to launch a successful business.”

Can you both talk about your journey on the road to business startup? What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?

Crystal: “I started my own business with six other people back in 2008. At that time I did not have a business plan and no prior management. Thus, it did not work out so well and I ended up losing my business. However, I had clients in my friend’s salon and I still worked hard at my passion and my mother and I prayed. With the help of LAEDA’s Entrepreneurial Development Training Program and my mother’s support right after my mother and I graduated LAEDA’s Program in January 2012 we both found a place in March and opened up to the public in November after getting all the licenses that we needed.”

Barbara: “One of my daughters client, Ginger, who is also a graduate from LAEDA’s program told us both about LAEDA and how it can help us. Joining LAEDA’s Program and being with LAEDA really helped us take all the right steps to opening up a successful business. My daughter and I came up with a valuable business plan at LAEDA. Moreover, our obstacles were that each town is different with licensing and it takes about 3-4 months to get it. Each license cost money, but we cannot do anything until the township people do their inspection. Everyone had to have a license state cosmetology to inspect. However, the most significant challenge that we had when it came to the inspecting process was that Sandy happened the day that our inspection was scheduled. However, after a while, NJ State Cosmetology faxed us a paper that we can open for business. We both prayed a lot and tried to bless each other and motivate each other during those challenges.”

Could you both tell me a little about where your business is today?

Barbara: “Our Salon and Spa is multicultural and ecofriendly, we specialize in hair restoration, improving hair care, restoring people’s hair, color, and we specialize in natural hair care. Aside from that we recently had a psychiatrist do a workshop at our salon and we also held a book signing.”

Crystal: “We have six employees and we are looking to expand because we have so many customers coming in. We hold special occasions at our salon and launch parties for new businesses.”

Do you have any advice for future (or existing) entrepreneurs?

Barbara: “Let your business plan be your Bible.”

Crystal: “Read your business plan everyday and apply it.”


Congratulations to both Barbara Hall- Bryant and Crystal D. Lewis for completing EDTP and recommitting to their journey on the path of entrepreneurship. If you’d like to learn more about Barbara Hall-Bryant and Crystal Lewis and their business, please visit their website at http://www.isayyessalonandspa.com/

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) is a free, nine week business skills training course offered in Camden, NJ in the Winter, Spring, and Fall each year. Qualified entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and one year of technical assistance. Apply online at www.LAEDA.com