The COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of most Americans and made them adapt to the new normal. A local Santa Clarita Valley resident was able to defy all odds and start a new Black-owned beauty supply store in the Santa Clarita area despite a global pandemic.
Juwana Myles fell in love with braiding and styling hair at a young age when her godmother started doing her hair and gifted Myles her first set of curlers. By middle school, Myles was doing all her friends and their parents.
“Once I turned 18, I worked in my first salon and have been doing hair ever since,” Myles said.
After graduating beauty school in 1993, Myles opened her first salon in Sylmar. While Myles still does hair now, COVID-19 regulations have forced her to find other ways to make money.
According to the U.S, Chamber of Commerce, 55% of small businesses reported good financial health in July 2020— four months after coronavirus shut downs. This compares to the original 65% that reported their businesses being in good health in the beginning of 2020.
In February of that year, Myles and her husband bought a location on Soledad Canyon Road in hopes of starting a barbershop. One month into its opening, however, it was forced to close due to the pandemic. The property began to sit and the Myles family began to brainstorm ways to use the location.
“I noticed the beauty supply businesses were booming because people couldn’t get their hair done. People were buying braided hair, crochet hair and wigs and doing it at home,” Myles explained. “After talking to my husband, we decided to convert it.”
Myles described the conversion as a survival move for her and her family.
In October, Mylestone Beauty Supply was officially open for business. As a long-time salon owner, Myles felt support from her large clientele as the barbershop became a beauty supply. She explained her clients showed their support because salons were not allowed to be open however, they still needed access to Black hair care products.
“We don’t have access to [Black hair products] in the Santa Clarita Valley. You hear a lot of people saying they drive to the Fox Hills or to the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley to get regular things like natural hair care products and braiding hair,” Myles said.
There are currently only two beauty supply stores in the Santa Clarita Valley about six miles apart, HAIRstations and now, Mylestone Beauty supply. Myles’ shop is the only Black-owned beauty supply in the area.
In addition to being an entrepreneur, Myles has also been active in community service. She has worked with the nonprofit organization This is Girlpower for the last five years. The group mentors girls from ages eight to 25 and offers SAT prep and college tours. Myles also created an investment group called Kingdom Builders 100 earlier this year. Along with 99 other women, they came together and purchased commercial and residential real estate with the purpose of empowering women and helping build wealth for their families.
“While [the Black community] is underserved in Santa Clarita, I also think the sense of community has heightened during the pandemic, the call for the Black lives matter movement and all that we went through in 2020,” Myles said. “I think the consciousness and the support of black businesses is even higher. I feel like we benefit from that.
“Mylestone Beauty Supply is located at 18352 1/2 Soledad Canyon Rd, Canyon Country, CA 91387. More information about the shop can be found on their Instagram page.