** This story is a follow-up to our story from April 2023 “New Salon A Natural Extension For Owner” **

In 2023, Louisiana Entrepreneur Justine McCall embarked on a life-changing journey. Following the opening of Beautifully Blessed, a beauty salon in Delhi, Louisiana, in March 2023, McCall welcomed a new baby into her life just a few months later, marking a significant milestone amidst her business endeavors.

One of the most valuable lessons McCall learned was the importance of consistency in balancing her professional commitments with the demands of caring for her newborn.

“It can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t mean that things won’t work out,” McCall said. “I put a system and a plan in place. I followed through with the plan and I worked hard. I made myself consistent. Hard work and consistency pay off. I’m starting to see the fruits of my labor now.”

On April 27, 2024, Beautifully Blessed celebrated its one-year anniversary. Before this milestone, McCall had been pursuing her passion for hair styling as a side gig for nearly two decades. In 2019, she took a significant step by launching Beautifully Blessed as an online venture, initially focusing on selling beauty and hair products.

In 2022, McCall noticed that many of her product customers were also local hair clients. This realization, coupled with her passion for hairstyling, prompted her to pursue a cosmetology license and become a Louisiana Entrepreneur. Transitioning to full-time hairstyling in her home, McCall was inspired by the memory of her late grandmother to seek funding for opening her own salon.

Justine McCall, owner of Beautifully Blessed Salon
Justine McCall stands outside her salon in Delhi, Louisiana at the Grand Opening. Justine came to Communities Unlimited in search of a small business loan.

McCall learned about Communities Unlimited (CU) from her aunt, who attended a local meeting where CU was in town. After receiving this information, McCall reached out to CU’s Lending Team for assistance with a small business loan. With guidance from CU’s Economic Development Loan Officer, Chris Tillman, McCall secured a loan. She utilized the funds to establish a 6,000-square-foot full-service salon located in a strip mall in Delhi.

On February 1, 2024, McCall sought a second loan from CU due to lower-than-anticipated revenue. The funds were crucial for maintaining operational continuity. McCall’s pregnancy in the previous year resulted in more missed time before and after delivery than initially projected, prompting the need for additional working capital.

Currently, Beautifully Blessed aims to enhance its service offerings and boost revenue by expanding its team. Initially, the salon solely relied on McCall’s expertise. However, within just a year, significant growth has been achieved, with the addition of a nail technician, an esthetician, and two part-time receptionists to the staff. Efforts are ongoing to further staff the salon and meet the growing demand for services.

In addition to hair styling, McCall offers services such as wig styling, extensions, eyelash treatments, and makeup application at Beautifully Blessed. Recently, the salon expanded its offerings with the opening of a boutique, providing customers with the opportunity to shop for clothing and accessories alongside beauty services.

McCall aims to expand her offerings by incorporating pedicures into the salon’s repertoire in the future.

“This year, we have gotten busy, and we have picked up,” McCall said. “We’ve recently seen a big increase in our sales and our bookings. I’m also excited because I have a team. I have other people that I employ and who I look forward to coming to work every day, and I have a service that I provide to people in my community. They don’t have to drive or commute. It’s like, ‘Oh my goodness, y’all have this here in Delhi.’

“There are a lot of people who are benefiting from what I have here in this community, so I’m excited that we’re expanding the services. When we expand the services, we reach more people, so I enjoy meeting and working with new people.”

McCall’s initial interaction with CU left her with a positive impression, describing it as wonderful. Her second experience was equally positive, reassuring, and refreshing. She commended CU and Tillman for their consistency during the second interaction, appreciating their reliability and support.

Tillman strategically blended the Lending Team with the Entrepreneurship Team, connecting McCall with Senior Management Consultant Rhett Douglas and Training Coordinator Latoyia Morgan to assist the Louisiana Entrepreneur on her business. Through weekly Zoom meetings, McCall collaborates with Douglas and Morgan to gain insights into her business’s financials.

Douglas and Morgan have delved into the nitty-gritty of charts, reports, and financial ratios, elucidating how they impact her business’s revenue flow. McCall emphasizes that CU’s support has been pivotal in her business’s growth and expansion.

“I’m pleased with Communities Unlimited, and I’ve told a few people who are trying to do something with their business, and they were like, ‘Hey, how’d you do that?’” McCall said. “I told them you must be in touch with somebody who is going to have your business and your best interest at heart, so Communities Unlimited is for the small business.

"Communities Unlimited is like family. They focus on smaller communities, not big cities, or big businesses. The name itself speaks volumes - Communities Unlimited works with communities and supports small businesses. I'm genuinely excited about what they’ve offered me."

Justine McCall, owner of Beautifully Blessed Salon

— Justine McCall, Louisiana Entrepreneur, Beautifully Blessed Salon