Growth & Jobs | Travene Walker’s passion for styling hair
Travene Walker is passionate about hair. Whether long, short, curly or straight, the 2017 winner of the JN Small Business Loans (JNSBL) Barber and Beauty Battle hairdressers' category says she can never get tired of styling hair.
"I used to style my own hair to go to school as a child," said Walker. "I always liked combing it and how it felt. From there, I started to comb the hair of my family members, and I grew to love it. Since then, I have never thought of doing anything else except hair styling."
Walker, who has been in the hairdressing business formally for the past six years, won that section of the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle ahead of Keiva-Kay Barrett and Carlene Clayton. Walker received $500,000; while Barrett received $300,000; and the third-place winner, Clayton, won $100,000.
The third of five children, Walker first styled someone's hair while still a student at Yallahs High School, when one of her relatives was planning to attend a wedding. She willingly styled her relative's hair and received rave reviews.
"Each time I styled my siblings' hair, they received compliments about it. After getting those positive feedbacks, I reached the point in my life where I decided to become a hairdresser," she explained.
INVESTING IN HERSELF
After leaving high school, she apprenticed at a shop in White Horses, St Thomas, when the owner Kerry-Ann Brissett heard she wanted to become a hairdresser.
"I learned a lot from Miss Brissett," Walker related. "While there, I also started to develop my own client base; and, from there, I eventually established my own operations."
Now, she operates her own salon, Trav's Beauty Concept, in Morant Bay, St Thomas, and plans to expand her operations to include selling hair extensions, beauty products and having at least one employee.
"I have been moving in that direction since I won the JNSBL Barber and Beauty Battle," she explained. "I used my prize money to invest in my operations - I purchased a new chair, other equipment and supplies to serve my clients better."
Prior to winning the competition, Walker marketed herself via social media, referrals and business cards. Since last year, the public attention she gained from winning has resulted in more recognition.
"People come up to me all the time and say, 'You are the winner of the JNSBL Barber and Beauty competition'. Then they ask where my salon is located and make an appointment. I now have clients from all over because they saw my work during the competition," she related.
In addition to gaining more clients, the avid netball player also learned how to better manage her operations, and received her certification from the HEART Trust/NTA.
"One of the lessons I learned from the competition was to produce quality work under pressure," she explained. "I also grasped the dos and don'ts of operating a salon. Therefore, I am now able to showcase my craft anywhere in the world because of the certification. I have no regrets when I decided to yield to my clients' suggestions to enter," she maintained.
Unlock the industry's potential
Gillian Hyde, general manager, JNSBL, explained that the competition was conceptualised to expose persons in the beauty sector to training, funding options, and the opportunity to showcase their talents.
"We wanted to unlock the industry's potential and position its members to be recognised as professionals by providing opportunities to learn different approaches to their craft, certification, and to grow their operations," Hyde stated.
"Miss Walker's experience simply demonstrates that the competition is meeting its major objectives. And we hope to make it even more impactful to members of the sector in the future," she said.
Walker's busiest periods are on weekends and the days before a public holiday. She plans her time to relate to family and friends, and hopes that as her operations become more structured, she will be able to spend more time with them.
"I enjoy being around the people whom I care about, but I also love what I do. My weekends are extremely busy, therefore, I set aside two days in the week that I find time to spend with them," she explained.