Student Entrepreneurs Meet Demand with Hair Businesses

Lohkoah Payne ‘24 (center) gives a haircut to Noah Leddel ’23 as Sachiel Ming ’24 looks on (Photo provided).

Northwood has a very entrepreneurial atmosphere, with students creating businesses to solve problems many face. One problem students have is finding a place to get their hair cut or styled. This is especially challenging for minority students who struggle to find suitable places to have their hair worked on in Lake Placid.
Luckily, two students are helping the community. Lohkoah Payne ‘24 is building a small barbering business, and Amanda Iva-Nelson ‘23 has become the hairstylist of choice for many Black students.

“I started cutting hair over the summer, but my craft really started to bloom this school year,” Paye said. “I started cutting to save money; then it turned into a way to help my peers and friends and strengthen the community bond in Northwood. Due to the location of Northwood, my business has attracted a lot of people who could not find a place to get their hair managed.”

Nelson also wanted to help her community. “I started when a student asked me to do their hair, and I thought, ‘Why not?’ So I did it, and the student loved their hair. They told other people, and more people came. This was when I realized that I could make a business out of it.”

Paye’s and Nelson’s services fill a void in the larger Lake Placid community. “Another reason [for my business] is there are not many people of color in Lake Placid, so I thought about doing this business to help myself earn money but also to help the wider community,” Nelson added.

“When working on a customer, I use my own products and combs, allowing the customer not to worry,” Nelson said. “I usually charge $15-$20, depending on the person and what they want.”

Jace Donawa ’25 is one of Paye’s satisfied customers. “Koah cut people’s hair for free, which I am so grateful for. He just started cutting this year, but I can already see the improvement in each cut. Personally, I think Koah cuts hair to a good standard. I will definitely go again.”


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