ATHENA Lenawee is starting a series of interviews highlighting local women. Our first interview is with Beth Jessee.
As a child, Beth Jessee was a triathlete with the vision of becoming a gym teacher. It seemed like the perfect fit with her love of sports. Following her graduation from Adrian High School she went off to college and attended Ferris State University (FSU). In her first year, her ability to cut hair quickly became a deterrent from attending class. News of her skillset had become popular overnight and friends, as well as other college students, would call and ask for a haircut at all hours. When the first call came for a haircut during her 10am English class, she remembers trying to reschedule but the ten dollars was too hard to resist. Soon she became the college student with unlimited funds and she realized her grades were not her first priority.
During a college break, after discussing her future with her parents, Beth came to the realization that she had a passion for hair. Returning to college to pursue education as a gym teacher was simply her need to fit what she imagined society expected of her. She made the decision to apply for cosmetology school and to withdraw from FSU. During that college break, while visiting with her closest friend, the friend’s mother asked her when she was returning back to FSU. A question that led to a pivotal moment in Beth’s life. As Beth explained that she would not be returning to college, but would be pursing cosmetology, she faced what she had feared, judgement. Her friend’s mother, without hesitation, stated that “losers go to cosmetology school” and that she was “ruining her future.” Those words struck deep. They were words that she would never forget. Today she uses that heartbreaking moment to remind her to keep going, to do knew things and to never stop pursing what she finds fulfilling.
By the age of 24, after having worked for other companies, Beth’s parents encouraged her to purchase a home where she could also have a studio attached. Beth stated it was one of the best pieces of advice she was ever given. It also came at a time where the studio she was working was going to be closing down and her colleagues were looking for a new place to work. Beth made the decision to follow her parents’ advice and it was the start of what we know today as Jessee Salon Group.
Over the years, Beth has explored new opportunities for business growth and learned to leverage risk as she has taken on new opportunities. She keeps up with the latest in cosmetology and continues to support other women who are following in her footsteps to make a career for themselves.
For Beth, owning two salons and a photography company was not enough. She continued to have a vision that included becoming internationally known. She works toward that by pursuing opportunities to get published in magazines from her field, she also has a highly creative and active Instagram (@bethjessee_synergyinmotion) and worked with Nickelodeon. The experience with Nickelodeon was one she credits to another woman in her field. It was out of the norm for someone outside of Los Angeles to get the opportunity, so for Beth, they were experiences she will never forget. An experience where a woman helped another woman get ahead and get a job that a business owner in Michigan would normally never have the opportunity. She credits the experience as the development of taking her photography business to the next level and creating her brand.
Business opportunities and new experiences will continue to be Beth’s pursuit. She has found the greatest sense of achievement by taking what she is good at and connecting it with those things that ignite her passion. Her advice to others is dream bigger. She believes that women can do incredible things when they take their skillset and merge it with those things that make you wake up excited each morning.
It wouldn’t be Beth’s story if it didn’t end with her own words…
“Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams. When you hold yourself back, you are never going to see your full potential. Sometimes you have to just go for it, even if you fall flat on your face.”