GenandGen Hair Boutique displays a few braided wigs at the Hairscience pop-up. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

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Annie Britt, the 43-year-old owner of Hair Science salon, has been in her own space as a hairstylist since 2014. Now she’s looking to leverage that space to help other local business owners get established too.

“This is my hair salon,” said Britt, who has been at her current location, 707A Howard St., for the last five years. “I’ve done hair for a very long time.”

Evanston hair salon Hair Science has been at 707A Howard St. for five years. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

To give Evanston startups a boost, Hair Science plans to host a monthly pop-up marketplace where local entrepreneurs can display their business or service on marketing tables at the salon.

“I like the idea of people being able to begin … to start,” Britt said. 

Her inaugural pop-up was last Saturday, May 7. She said local entrepreneurs of all backgrounds – real estate agents, health-care providers, cooks, beauty suppliers – are welcome at the pop-ups.

Hair Science salon was busy Saturday with clients and pop-up vendors. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Britt said pop-up shops are common, but she doesn’t believe brick-and-mortar businesses take advantage of them enough as a way to aid business newcomers. She hopes to provide a consistent space for mobile entrepreneurs seeking to extend their business reach.

Her own business, Hair Science, caters to natural hairstyles.

“A lot of the things that are trending now … usually aren’t the healthiest for your hair,” Britt said. “But I love natural hair. I love growing hair.”

She said her approach might appeal to clients who want to “keep their hair on their head” or who want to recover their hair from previous stylings that may have damaged it. 

A hairstylist blows out a client’s hair at Hair Science. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

TBF Diagnostic

One of the entrepreneurs at the Hair Science pop-up was Kayla Fomond, 39, a friend of Britt who knows her from growing up together in Evanston. “[Britt] has been around for the longest,” Fomond said. “She is a guru of growing natural hair.”

Fomond is the founder of TBF Diagnostic, a lab at 2916 Central St. that offers a variety of medical tests for blood, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, DNA, HIV, genetic, drug and COVID-19.

The grand opening of TBF Diagnostic was March 19, but Fomond said she has been a health practitioner for a long time.

“I was a mobile company solely focused on COVID testing since January 2022,” Fomond said. “But I brought it back into the community so I can service the people that needed help in the realm.” 

Academic Hotline

Ann-Marie Martin, owner of Academic Hotline, at her pop-up station at Saturday’s event. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Anne-Marie Martin, 47, an ETHS and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate, was at the pop-up representing her business, Academic Hotline. Her business literature notes she has a master’s degree in health services management and a doctorate in business administration.

Martin provides academic and social mentorship to students in high school or university, or even on probation.

The Academic Hotline is a unique on-call service with a sliding-scale hourly charge that lets students access not just a tutor, but an emotional and social counselor to aid with school needs. 

“[Students] just need someone to talk to, to guide them through” and to follow up with them as they try to complete their academic career, Martin said.

Gen&Gen Hair Boutique

Rushell Ferguson was another entrepreneur at the Hair Science pop-up. She works as one of the three hairstylists in Britt’s salon, but she also has her own online beauty supply business, Gen&Gen Hair Boutique

Gen&Gen Hair Boutique owner Russell Ferguson (right) sells jewelry items at the May 7 pop-up event. Credit: Debbie-Marie Brown

Ferguson says her supply store has “something for everyone,” but the most popular things it sells are braided wigs – “So, they look like braids … coming from your scalp,” and natural growth oil that she said contains vitamins E and D, natural Jamaican black castor oil, almond oil and rosemary.

“You don’t see that stuff in beauty supply [stores],” Ferguson said.

Debbie-Marie Brown

Debbie-Marie Brown is a reporter and Racial Justice Fellow at the Evanston RoundTable. They cover the local reparations initiative, Black life in Evanston, and the 5th ward. Contact Debbie-Marie at dmb@evanstonroundtable.com...

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