I Love My Job: Syreeta Scott
Syreeta Scott has been a Philly small business owner for almost 16 years now. She opened Duafe Holistic Hair Care, a natural hair care salon in North Philly and describes styling clients as “colorful”—she’s been able to see people along their life’s journey, through their moments of joy and pain. Along the way she’s styled some major influencers like Janet Jackson and Ava DuVernay. Most recently, she launched The Sable Collective, a retail boutique in Allegheny West. Scott tells us what it took for her to launch her first business and why she took a leap to start a second one. She also talks about the responsibility she feels she has to North Philadelphia and why she won’t ever relocate her businesses.
I grew up in … North Philadelphia. 29th and Oxford!
I opened up Duafe Holistic Hair Care in 2001 because … I was sick of working in corporate America. As worked at All State, I was an underwriter.
I opened up the retail boutique Sable in 2016 because … as a business owner, you get stuck sometimes. I wanted to do more. Sable has given me a second wind.
My first job was … at Suzy Wigs on 60th and Market. It was the only job where my mom trusted me to be because she knew the owner.
The amount of seed money I had to start the salon back then was … $400.
A Philly restaurant I really enjoy is … South. I love South!
Being a business owner for 16 years has taught me that … you can grow out of your dream. Life has many chapters so we should allow ourselves to grow out of things.
A trip I have on the calendar this year is … Bali next month. It’s a business trip. A friend is going to teach me how to bring products from there to market at the boutique.
A 2017 style trend I’m looking forward to is … people wearing how they feel. I’m looking forward to people wearing pins and sweatshirts that have catchy phrases that allow them to express themselves with the clothes they wear. Less rules.
A roadblock I’ve had to overcome is … being a workaholic.When I started the businesses I’ve tended to deprive myself of joy and fun. I’ve had to intentionally create more joy in my life. I’ve also learned I have to wake up and be conscious in the moment, especially under this political climate.
A song I have on repeat right now is … Alabama Shakes’ Don’t Wanna Fight.
A TV show I’m watching now is … This is Us. I love the way it’s written.
In Philly we need to stop ignoring … the litter problem. We did an initiative to make people more conscious about throwing things on the ground but we need to do more. I take my two children out to clean up our area. To teach them honor and respect for their community.
What I love about the natural hair movement is … that it’s self-awareness. It’s about choosing authentic beauty versus what was taught to you. What is beauty if you can’t put yourself in the definition?
Being a business owner in the community where I grew up means … I have a huge responsibility. As a leader people are watching you and I display is what I am teaching. I used to think, “it’s not personal; it’s business.” But to me, business has been extremely personal. I take care of my community because I started all of this on the shoulders of so many people. People were kind enough to teach me more, so if I can do, I do.
Some celebrities I’ve styled are … Jill Scott, Ava DuVernay, Questlove, Smokey Robinson, Janet Jackson, Sonia Sanchez, and Lisa Cortés.
A celebrity styling experience that stands out to me is … when I styled Janet Jackson. She flew me out to Paris about a year and a half ago to braid her hair. After styling her, she took me to dinner at an amazing restaurant and we toured Paris in her car. It was such a wonderful evening!
I work in North Philly because … that’s who I am.
I haven’t taken my businesses to Center City because … people are willing to travel to my business. This isn’t a community to just drive through. I’m going to make you stop and see that it’s not as bad as you assume.
Philly is … growing. The land isn’t growing but it’s the neighborhoods that are changing. Where I am is now called Brewerytown, and I can walk up the street and go to a yoga class or dive bar or great restaurant.
At Sable people can … find a safe space for intentional retail. They can find things that they need spiritually, things they love. They can be exposed to artwork from around the world, things with indigenous aesthetic, and even vintage clothing. We’re trying to introduce them to a lifestyle of keeping it sexy and authentic and unapologetically you.
A social cause I devote myself to is … education for urban youth. I’m involved with Jr. Music Executive. They teach students from middle school to college about music and the business behind it. We’re opening them up to career in the music industry. Everyone doesn’t have to be Beyoncé. I’m also involved with Jill Scott’s nonprofit Blues Babe Foundation.
A piece of career advice I always give is … you have to be passionate. You have to do something that wakes you up and puts you back to sleep even if it doesn’t equate to financial gain at first.
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