Annazette Cromartie moved to New Bern to be closer to her sister. She also pursued a new career in the process. She moved from Red Cross supervisor and nursing student to cosmetologist. Styling hair has been her lifelong passion. Her career change also inspired her to open her salon, SATZ Hair, in March 2018.
Before opening the salon, Cromartie made a commitment to herself to launch her business “the right way.” She attended Craven Community College Small Business Center’s (SBC) entrepreneur series and business pitch competition. The workshops and the competition allowed her to create a business plan, learn about taxes, legal, finance and other important elements of business ownership.
When involved with the SBC, entrepreneurs are often asked a question very early on: what is “Their Why?” In other words, what is their motivation for becoming a business owner. Cromartie said in addition to her passion for the work, she wanted flexibility of schedule in order to be there for her family.
Family is an important ingredient in her success. The name of her company is made up from the first initial of each of her for daughters’ first name. Her son and daughters earn money by working in the business. In addition to the vital support he provides, her husband Maurice, a retired Army veteran, is in charge of bookkeeping and other important management tasks. His involvement allows her to focus on her unique strengths and contributions to the business.
By September, the business was going in the direction Cromartie desired. It was becoming financially stronger. She was invited to work two shows at NY Fashion Week. She was amazed that she was able to accomplish this long-desired goal so early in her business. The day after she returned to New Bern from fashion week, Hurricane Florence affected her family in a way she never imagined.
Cromartie and her family were forced into the national news spotlight because of life-threatening flooding. They were safely rescued after hours of being trapped in their house by floodwaters. While her business was spared, Cromartie was dealing with loss of home and the emotional aftermath that she, her husband and children experienced. Even as she discusses this difficult event in her life, she expresses enduring optimism—a hallmark trait of successful entrepreneurs.
At this time, her salon has moved into the black and is sustaining itself through positive cash flow. She believes her key revenue driver is her customer experience, and her key profit driver is consistency in operations. She works about 60 hours weekly in her business—which includes important management time. The management time gives her an opportunity to learn more, analyze and be forward thinking.
Her past challenge was start-up costs. Currently, she would like word-of-mouth referrals to come in faster. She said her future challenge could be self-doubt. “I don’t want me getting in the way of myself,” said Cromartie.
Cromartie urges future entrepreneurs to take classes, use the resources, find a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask questions. She considers herself someone who is very dedicated to learning so that she can always be on trend with her craft and her business.
For more information, visit their website > https://www.SATZhair.com/
Deborah Kania, director of the Small Business Center at Craven Community College.