Sherita Cherry is the owner of Genesis Hair Art in Atlanta and is very active in the community. Her niche is helping and mentoring aspiring beauty professionals. Cherry is a past recipient of The Phoenix Award from Mayor Kasim Reed because of her extensive involvement in the community as a selfless humanitarian.
Rolling out had the pleasure of speaking with Cherry as she gears up for the Bronner Bros. International Beauty Show in February 2018.
When did you decide to make hair styling your full-time career?
After I graduated from Clark Atlanta University. I was a shampoo girl during my college years because I needed a job. I began working with one of the industry legends, Carol Morrow, owner of Escape Salon in Atlanta. She took me under her wing. She would fire me and I would still come to work and I would always say “I’m not leaving” until she finally gave me a chair to work and start servicing clients. I realized that I love making women feel beautiful and began to work full time at Escape Salon.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I am constantly attending conferences in the beauty industry to grow my business. I attend hair shows and to many people’s surprise, as long as I have been a hairstylist, I still watch videos. I love being a student, so I still take classes to stay abreast of the latest trends.
As a recent recipient of Bronner Bros. ICON Award and being recognized as a “Rising ICON,” describe that moment and the hard work that led to winning the award.
I was at a point in my career where I was constantly working hard and feeling burnt out. I was a salon owner and working behind the chair, traveling with celebrity clients, traveling as an Educator for Paul Mitchell Systems. I felt like I was working hard and often being overlooked or unnoticed. The dots were not connecting and I began looking for other career options. When I received the letter that I had been selected from my peers as a Rising ICON, I was speechless and overjoyed for being recognized with some of the beauty industry ICONS such as Reggie Wells along with Oprah’s makeup artist and actor Blair Underwood. That was the fire that woke up the giant in me to teach and educate beauty professionals on building a profitable business. I created Sheritacherry.com and began coaching those who needed a mentor.
Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
My industry role model is Robert Cromeans. He is a pioneer leader in the beauty industry and an educator for Paul Mitchell System. He has always said “hard work never goes unnoticed.” Robert has challenged the professionals in the industry to be amazing stylists both in business and behind the chair. Outside of the industry, Michelle Obama. One thing I admire about her is her character. Character is who you are when no one is watching. She demonstrated that when she was forced to take the high road when negative words were stated about her publicly. She defied the odds by going to college and graduating from an Ivy-League school. I admire her courage to become the first African-American First Lady of the United States of America because it’s such a high calling and she walked in it with dignity. Building my business, having stylists walk out and bad mouth my name, say things that are untrue; is very hurtful. So, I find myself having to also take the high road. Being recognized as a leader in the beauty industry has challenged me to mature and develop my character.
Expound on your collaboration with the nationwide campaign “Styling Healthier Futures” sponsored by United Healthcare.
That was an awesome opportunity to work with the former Surgeon General of the United States, Regina Benjamin. It was a three-year campaign. It is stated that 85 percent of African American women are overweight, 65 percent say they don’t work out because they don’t want to mess up their hair. So, our goal was to educate women on maintaining a healthy lifestyle while taking care of their hair. I began to learn so much about health for myself and to change my poor eating habits. We wanted women to understand the importance of our health in the black communities.
How did your Motions campaign ad come about?
This was my first campaign ad [for] a major company. Motions contacted me from a business referral and wanted to change the look of the brand and cater to a millennial audience. After collaborating with the company executives and listening to their needs opposed to what I thought the look should be, I began to do my research. I walked through malls and watched the millennials and looked at their appearance and their behavior. I am very creative and I have a 20-year-old daughter so that helped. I was able to create an image that is now the official ad for Motions.