Latrice Rogers | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Latrice Rogers

Photo courtesy Latrice Rogers

Photo courtesy Latrice Rogers

The Mississippi Small Business Association named Latrice Rogers, a Brandon resident and owner of Goddess Lengths Virgin Hair Bar (125 W. Northside Drive), as the recipient of the 2017 SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award last week. SBA will formally present Rogers with the award in a ceremony in May.

Goddess Lengths primarily provides hair extensions but also employs several makeup artists and stylists, and features hair-care products and other beauty items for sale. Rogers opened her shop in 2014 and has made more than $1 million in the first year it was open.

"I never win anything like this, so receiving this kind of award from the SBA feels like a huge accomplishment for me," she says. "I've always been fascinated with beauty, and growing up, people would often compliment me on hair and clothing. I can just close my eyes, feel a person's hair and tell them all about it, so it wasn't much for me to just jump into this line of work where I can do something I love."

Rogers, 29, is a graduate of Canton High School and Jackson State University, where she received a bachelor's degree in biology in 2010. She briefly attended graduate and nursing school at Baptist College of Health Science in 2011 for a few months after graduating from JSU but found that she didn't like either. She ultimately came back to Jackson and worked odd jobs until she decided to go into business for herself.

"I got started working out of the trunk of my car, providing extensions and beauty services as a side business at first," Rogers says. "I would set up in the parking lot at places like Target, and pretty soon, I started getting long lines of people at my car waiting for services. My husband, Clifton Rogers, recommended opening up a storefront, and I initially rented a space out on McWillie Drive for about $200. From there, it just grew and grew until I was able to buy my current location."

In addition to offering hair-extension services at her storefront, Rogers has also set up a vending machine in Northpark Mall that dispenses extensions for customers to apply on their own at home. The machine has proved a success, and Rogers says she plans on setting up similar machines throughout Jackson in the near future.

"The beauty industry is a competitive field, so on top of striving to be the best at what you do, you have to make sure that no one is doing things quite the same way you do," she says.

CLARIFICATION: This article originally said that Rogers' business, Goddess Lengths Virgin Hair Bar, made more than $1 million between the time it opened and the date of publication (three years' time). To be more accurate, Rogers' business made over $1 million within its first year.

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