31-year-old owner of Organic Hair Boutique, Shanae "Empress Truth" Levine, says that while maintaining healthy hair is an urbanity, hewing locs is her mé·tier.
The native of Winston Salem, NC, attended Winston Salem State University for her nursing degree, but not before transferring to TCI for her Cosmetology License.
An Avant-garde for sure, Shanae refused to cradle into a profession that she really didn't enjoy, so she transitioned into interior design.
Technically, Shanae styled hair even while in high school, but like most teenagers, boredom set in and she was on to the next great adventure.
“I didn’t see how I could make a living off doing hair because every hairstylist that I knew... Yeah, they had Mercedes, BMW’s and they may have had a decent house, but they had to work all night to get that.
I wanted to live a free lifestyle, and I wanted to do something that I’d have fun doing it, and be free. I wanted to travel when I got ready to travel. I didn’t understand the structure of hair at that time. I came down here, and went to the Art Institute of Charlotte for Interior Designs. I was good at art anyway. It was cool, but the only reason that I couldnt complete that [degree] was because the school could no longer co-sign for my housing. I was making straight A’s. However, they said that I had to have a parent involved, so I went there a year-and-a-half before they decided to do that."
Agreeing that she was a classic and spontaneous divergent, Shanae would always venture into the unknown with a warrior spirit.
She wasn’t going to be intimated, nor would she be reliant on anyone else but herself, so she decided to find another outlet, which led to other endeavors like being a supervisor at Hungry Howie’s Pizza.
Of course, any young superior is going to look the part, so Shanae would visit the local hair salon for upkeep. That trip to the beauty parlor opened the doors for Shanae to utilize her cosmetology license, which she received early in life. You know, the license that she didn't think she'd utilize.
Shanae started out as an assistant to a Master Loctician by the name of Deon Jonson, who’s the owner of Knappy Rootz in Charlotte, NC.
After 3 months of being an assistant for Deon, at 21-years-old, Shanae obtained her own suite at Salon Central, and became manager for the establishment.
Still not accepting her seat at the table amongst Queens and leaders, Shanae took on the newest position with gracefulness.
Shanae didn’t receive her degree in Interior Design and she didn't receive her nursing degree. It's a no brained that she would not have been truly satisfied in any of those fields.
The daring Loctician doesn’t regret the transitional decision because the Naturalista knows without a doubt that those were seasonal opportunities.
Shanae doesn’t recommend that anyone stop going to school, but she believes that people should follow their passions with resolute faith, to recieve what God has in store for them.
“Within a year from me starting with Deon, I got a bigger suite, hired an assistant, and after that… I got my first salon in Noda."
Eventually, Deon rented booths from Shanae and they composed a stunning business together.
The beautician stated that she really didn’t understand commercial structure and technicalities at the time; whereas now, she’s a blazing brand name, a professional that’s won awards with a more recent win in 2016 as Natural Stylist of the Year at the QC Beauty Awards.
Reigning as a superlative, natural hair technician, Shanae sees firsthand that having faith and bravura is a necessity in any business and especially hair, which she does remarkably.
“I’m just now starting to actually swallow it. Like, I opened this place in August 2014, and even at that point, it still wasn’t mine. It was part of my dream. I had a dream that I wanted hard wood floors. I wanted suites. I wanted everything. It just happened so fast. It’s just like those other things that God put in my lap, to see what I was going to do with it. Literally, a friend of mines called and said, ‘I found you a salon, but I wasn’t looking for a salon. I came up with 14 excuses of why I couldn’t do it, but when I came and met the owner of the building, we clicked.”
Shanae worked in about 6 different shops throughout her career. She wanted to learn and work with people, but God had other plans.
The student of life believes that when God calls you to do something, you must do it. That thing that you’ve avoided will surface so many times in your lifespan until you believe that this gift, this journey, it was selected specifically for you.
“From the time I opened, until now, it’s just like, ‘Wow, Lord. I don’t even see how…’ It’s a major transition but I’m excited about it. It gets mind blowing sometimes of how awesome God is. He will see more in you than you see in yourself.”
Because of good experiences, cattiness, and chaotic scenarios while working for other shop owners, Shanae developed her shop into an atmosphere of enchanting face with smiles, great dialogue and rapport.
“I think that people just get by and they don’t incorporate systems to make their businesses work better. I want to see that more in our community. We have meetings every month, and we talk all the time. We have group chats and we have a team that we treat like family. If I see any small discord, and if someone is not feeling well that day, I want to know what’s going on. If something happens here, we need to straighten that out. The salon that I came from, before I moved into this place—the level of dysfunction there was just hideous, and… it all started at the head."
Shanae said though she can style any type of hair, her weakness is that she doesn’t want to do everything.
“I don’t want to do everything. I would rather stick to locs, and that’s what makes sense. When people come here, and they don’t have locs, I direct them to someone else that works here."
The loctician sets boundaries with hair-care, and she shares that styling locs excites her.
“When I first started out, I was doing micro’s and everything. Some things stressed me out more than it excited me, but the locs… it’s like a blank canvas to me. I can make it look like art. That’s just it. Its art and it allows me to be a true artist."
Hair tips for warmer climates:
Well, the main thing is deep conditioning and treatments; steaming and treatments—protein treatments.
If you straighten your hair, you need protein treatments. You need something that goes in and pulls out leftover products. People don’t realize that when your hair changes colors in the sun, that’s product, and it’s a trigger to what’s going on in the hair.
One thing that I tell people all the time, especially when I do my videos—ask your stylist questions. Learn every single possible thing about hair. It doesn't matter what school you go to, and the structure of hair. The more educated you want to be about your own hair, the more they will answer your questions.
Everybody is not a hoarder of information, where they try not to give it to keep you coming back. The thing about is, and this is something that has helped me succeed over time—when you share the information, that is what’s going to keep them coming back."
Speaking like a true student and now a teacher, Shanae is calling out the tricks while keeping customers satisfied, in addition to being informed.
Specializing in diverse splendors of hair, Shanae and staff sculpt tresses in meticulous fashion. While their shop is a place of mollifying delight, it's a spa where natural hair and locs wed in a beautiful display of art.
More hair talk with Shanae "Empress Truth" Levine and an introduction to her new line of hair care products.