Black women have a knack for coming out of nowhere, and gnat testifies to this reality.
For Black History Month, CÎROC tapped Welch to help with the brand’s Black Excellence campaign.
“To be recognized by CÎROC as part of what it means to demonstrate black excellence and to be celebrated as a trailblazer in the city that has been its home is honourable. Hair salons + beauty salons are pillars of our community and a safe space where we can bond through conversation and experiences,” Welch noted. “I am grateful to be seen on a platform like #CIROCStands by a brand that has been influential in the Black & Brown community that understands the importance of being a conduit for small business owners.”
“The stories of Black Excellence shared by these pioneers are incredibly inspiring and uplifting. “Through #CIROCStands, we are able to amplify these stories to the world and hope these examples of vision and ambition show that black excellence should be celebrated and recognized throughout the year,” said declared Adrienne CuschieriBrand Director of CÎROC in an official press release.
Welch grew up on the Dearborn Homes projects and always wanted to style his friends’ hair.
“We all had like our Jheri curls, and I would dye the hair with peroxide, then color it with Kool-Aid. So I was like coloring everyone’s hair red, purple, and that was years ago,” Welch fondly recalled in a 2016 Vogue video profile.
She finally went to work with a friend of her mother’s as a shampoo assistant at 17.
“That’s where I learned everything I know now as a stylist and business owner,” she says, crediting her former employer with showing the hairdressing ropes.
Within two years, she became a licensed esthetician, then opened her own salon a year later at the age of 23 in south Chicago called Issues.
“I learned how to be a real stylist at school – school is so important,” she said and pointed out that customer service is not well liked by young stylists because they don’t appreciate not to acquire a formal education, according to Essence.
“I’ve loved helping people look good since I was a little girl,” she said. “I’ve always been the one to style hair, do piercings for my friends and really make them feel good about themselves since childhood.”