Lake Street salon reopens, gives back through mentorship program

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A celebration got underway Thursday on West Lake Street as Tweak the Glam Studio opened more than two months after it was damaged and looted during civil unrest.

“I had a lot of support, a lot of people reaching out saying ‘let me help you,’” said owner Tiwanna Jackson. “People were coming in, they were helping me clean and they were helping me organize. That’s how I got it done so fast, it was a community thing.”

She moved into the space during the winter after a long search for the perfect place to expand her business. Located on West Lake Street, near the corner of South Lyndale Avenue, it offered her a storefront and space to start an apprenticeship program.

“Let’s just move there and start and hope for the best after that,” said Jackson.

She started renovating and was getting ready to open when COVID hit. Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order shutting the beauty industry down.

Over the next three months, Jackson said, “we were just at a standstill.”

Right before salons were allowed to reopen, George Floyd was killed. During the unrest that followed, about 1,500 businesses were damaged or destroyed in the Twin Cities.

Jackson’s was one of them. Her front window was shattered and the businesses looted.

“They ransacked it,” she said. “They stole very, very important things I need to run the business, like the tattooing needed for the microblading, the last extensions. They stole furniture and business equipment I used.”

“So then we got pushed back again, it took a lot, it took a lot to keep going,” said Jackson.

Finally, she is now open. Jackson held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, offering free brow services and inviting local businesses to set up booths outside.

It also marked the start of her mentoring program. Jackson hopes to help young beauty professionals start their own businesses.

“It is something that’s placed in their heart,” she said to the group that gathered. “It’s usually placed in your heart, you usually can’t stop thinking about. You have to have a certain drive. These ladies have expressed to me they have that drive.”

Jackson said many who want to become entrepreneurs don’t know where to start.

“Maybe they just don’t have that motivation, maybe they don’t know how, some people may be motivated but maybe they need more clients,” she said. “We tell them what we had to do to get there and we get them more comfortable working on clients.”

Her program has three tiers, starting with a novice level that focuses on gaining hands-on experience. The second level helps mentees further hone their skills and develop relationships with clients. The last level prepares them to go out on their own.

“They’re faster, they’re more efficient so now we’re getting them to the place where they’re building their book of business,” said Jackson.

Graduates choose their own path forward.

“Either they’re going to do their own business, or they’re going to do a chair rental somewhere, or they might help to grow Tweak the Glam Studio, it’s going to be their choice,” she said.

She already has seven apprentices, including Tamarian Hankton.

“This is something that I really want to do,” said Hankton, telling us she hopes to follow in Jackson’s footsteps. “To have someone who’s already been working in the business for 10 plus years and has her own business opening now, it’s just a wonderful opportunity to be a part of this.”

Jackson is also working to open a training facility and help young beauticians get their required licenses.

To help recover from the damage, Jackson received a We Love Lake Street grant. The Lake Street Council said it has now provided $5.5 million to over 300 businesses to help them rebuild and create jobs.

“Lake Street, I feel, is not going to die,” said Jackson. “It’s going to come back stronger than ever. This is my way of contributing back, then we’re going to keep going and help people survive.”

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