For Janet Jackson, founder and CEO of JouJou Hair Studio, there’s a transformative relationship between beauty and empowerment. Indeed, it’s “bringing out the beauty within,” as Jackson says, that she loves most about working in the hair care industry. The phrase “Be-You-Tiful” is splashed across the studio’s website and social media, serving both as a sort of workplace mantra and, more significantly, a reminder for everyone that they are beautiful, and that beauty does lie within.
Established in 2007, JouJou Hair Studio is nestled in the heart of Etobicoke, Ontario. Jackson leads a team of artists who provide an array of services, from cuts and design to styling and treatment. In 2020, JouJou Hair Studio won ByBlacks’ People’s Choice Award for Best Beauty Salon.
In addition to running JouJou Hair Studio, Jackson has made numerous TV appearances as a beauty expert and worked on shows like The Marilyn Denis Show and Project Runway Canada. On top of that, she has styled the tresses on some of entertainment and fashion industries’ most famous heads, from Iman and Winnie Harlow to Usher and Rita Ora. However, what’s perhaps most remarkable is the work Jackson does within her community.
Ultimately, what sets Jackson apart from many hairstylists is her ability to work with all hair types, the extensive knowledge she brings to every appointment and assignment, and, above all, the connection she builds with her clients. One need only peruse her portfolio or read client testimonials to see just how much of an impact Jackson has made through her work. More than beauty, more than hair care, what Jackson does is bring out the best of those who sit in her chair.
Where did your journey in the hair care industry begin? How has your relationship with your own hair changed over time?
My journey in hair care started years after I started doing hair. At first, my only concern was the artistry — and creating. In school, the focus was not on how to care for hair and to keep it healthy, but how to alter it and create hair styles. But as years went by, and with working in different salons, I noticed a lot of damage being done, especially to textured hair. It was then that I started to look at hair differently.
For example, I used to chemically straighten my hair for a very long time — until I realized the damage I was doing to my hair. I soon decided to go natural, and [it] has been natural since! I must add that being “natural” is not for everyone, but I now know how to educate my clients on how to keep relaxed/chemically straightened hair healthy.
You founded JouJour Hair Studio in 2007. Was opening your own studio always something you had envisioned for yourself?
Opening a salon was never a part of the plan I had for [myself]. I started in my basement, worked in many salons, rented chairs, and then realized I needed an entire space. I started off with one assistant, but then my clientele was growing quickly — I was getting even busier outside of the salon — and I could not keep up with the demand. At that point, I decided to get a bigger place, build a team, [and] train them so that I could keep up with the high demand.
What is your favourite part of your job, and why?
Introducing clients to a new version of themselves, bringing out the beauty within. I love making people feel good through the art of transformation.
You’ve worked with stars like Winnie Harlow, Rita Ora, Iman, Kim Fields, Marci Ien, Tracy Moore, Usher, Stephan James, Keshia Chanté, Miguel, and countless others. What got you your first celebrity assignment? How did you feel about it?
My first major celebrity assignment was working with Iman on Project Runway Canada. I got that job because, before that, I had worked with Jay Manuel on Canada’s Next Top Model. He had then recommended me to Iman when she was looking for a Canadian hairstylist to work with her on [Project Runway Canada]. I must say that I was extremely nervous, but, in the end, [I] had an amazing time with Iman and learned a lot.
Do you believe you are contributing to diversity in the beauty industry?
I definitely do my best as a professional hairstylist. I recognize all ethnicities and hair types. I am capable of styling anyone who sits in my chair that not too many stylists can do. I also make sure to address all hair types in my TV segments and product brand projects. Diversity in the beauty industry is something I speak on often, and [I] find ways to contribute whenever I can.
Though everyone naturally has different hair types and needs, what are some general summer hair care tips you would advise our readers?
Minimize your hair exposure to the sun. Cover your hair with your favourite conditioner. Put it in a ponytail/braid before going for a swim. Trim your ends regularly.
“Be-YouTiful” is JouJour Hair Studio’s mantra. What inspired this, and what makes you feel “be-you-tiful?”
The inspiration behind “Be-You-Tiful Day” comes from my social service worker background. I know how important it is to help your community and, in my case, helping people feel great about themselves. So, I created this day for a team of professionals — hairstylists, make-up artists, nail technicians, fashion stylists, and photographers — to go to different shelters. During the event, participants get their hair, make-up, and nails done. Then, the photographer does a short photo shoot session with each of the participants. Some of the families end up doing family/friends photos, documenting how “Be-You-Tiful” they look that day.
Jericho Tadeo | Contributing Writer