I am Milon McCune-Murphy. I am a fresh 26- year-old lady as of January 4, 2017 and I hail from Baltimore, MD. I co-own Kontrol Beauty Studios and Kontrol Extensions. We offer hair services and extensions at an affordable rate. I’ve known since I was 10 years old that I wanted to own and operate a hair salon chain and I’ve always been obsessed with hair, nails, and skin. I’ve always wanted to be the person behind the scenes to help people see the beauty they never thought they could possess, from encouraging words to actually changing their appearance (i.e. hair, makeup or tips). I’ve also always wanted to be sure children that came from public housing, just as I have, would know we have options and opportunities, even if we have to make those things happen for ourselves.
I first assisted my cousin in her salon and after receiving my license, went to work in a franchise salon to enhance my skills and repertoire. I always wanted to at least know things just to see if I did want to perfect that; you have to be knowledgeable about your craft whether you can do something or not. After being at the salon and actually becoming an assistant manager, my business partner, Khadijah and I realized the types of things we wanted to create were not coming through the doors and even with promotion the stigma of the name of that salon was not necessarily attractive to potential clients. I knew I wanted more control of my income, my time, and my clientele. Something I surely learned was that you have to put your physical and mental health before a dollar and that was my biggest push.
The process was not easy. We each were still going to work at the other salon part time while we built this salon to be what we wanted. We gathered our money and invested in ourselves. Unfortunately, but fortunately, we were both released from the other salon after we had just taken the leap of faith to put all of our money into Kontrol. I was a bit discouraged but I knew God wouldn’t ever put me in a position to fail after all I had been through. We opened our doors May 19, 2016 and haven’t looked back since. We filed all of our necessary paperwork to operate and have promoted ourselves via social media. I have clients that travel to me from as far as New York.
I was so terrified to open this salon. I’m a stickler for a plan from A to Z and when things were happening that weren’t planned, like losing my main source of income, I had to just dive head first into this venture. I had to rest my faith in God, although I’d still panic (blame my flesh and not spirit lol), I knew it was handled. The biggest fear and inspiration is knowing that all of this is on you! If you fail or succeed, you played a part in it. If I failed I at least knew I had done all I could on my end to be successful and vice versa for my success. I also felt so responsible for my situation because it was my dream and my dream was costing me things. I had no choice but to do it!
We had to use everything that was free to promote, social media, StyleSeat, word of mouth, texts; just anything to get the word out that we had a venture and that we were going to allow our clients to be themselves in our space. There were times we were short on salon rent but of course God would work something out. We are in a better place now that we have momentum but it was tough in the beginning.
Another trial was remaining encouraged and keeping communication open between us as business partners. We are friends too but we know how to get down to business first and proceed. We have found our balance and always check on each other to be sure all is well. With such huge roles and making the different decisions we are, we have to be sure to check for mental and physical health because that’s what is most important.
An average day Monday-Thursday for me consists of going to my job as a Group Leader for The Y after school program at a local elementary school. I teach the enrichment “JA BizTown” for 5th grade, which consists of financial literacy, economics, job markets, and more to get students prepared for a day at JA BizTown where they will practice everything they’ve learned. I also teach “Beauty Shop” for K-5th grade, which consists or self- esteem building, learning healthy hair practices, and etiquette. After I’m done with the program I take evening appointments at the salon. On Friday and Saturday I take appointments all day. I’m typically busy every day whether it’s for my students or the salon, but I’m sure to take time to myself.
I wish someone would’ve told me about the real emotional and physical changes it’ll put your body through and that there’s technically no right time to do things. I’d advise my ladies to take control of your life. If there is something you want to accomplish in life go for it, literally nothing beats a failure but a try. Remain prayed up because the enemy will try to steal your joy. You need to have discernment because things will look good but aren’t meant for your good. Get things done but be meticulous, don’t ever jeopardize your brand just to say you were the first or to have an “accomplishment”. Last thing is to remember with anything positive, there will be negativity but filter your space presently to match your future. Everyone and everything is not meant to be a part of your journey, it’ll hurt but it’s so worth it in the end.
Kontrol Beauty will be nationally recognized in 5 years and preparing to go global. Our salon will have a storefront and we will have 2 more locations by the end of year 5. Our service list will expand and we will have more ladies and gentlemen to service our clientele.
I will be styling for your favorite tv shows and movies. I will steadily build my brand and business.