Today we’d like to introduce you to Josie Berry.
Josie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
One night in November of 2017, I started discussing the business concept that has become Back to You with my friend, Harry D. Wood IV, who has been in the hair industry for over 28 years, and my husband, David Green, who is a business attorney and serial entrepreneur. The genesis of the discussion was Harry sitting at our kitchen table with my sewing kit adjusting clips on a topper that was purchased by one of his clients for her teen-aged daughter with Trichotillomania. The wig shop had sold his client a very expensive topper with clips in places where her daughter had no hair and the client was at her wit’s end. She had literally sat in Harry’s chair crying in her frustration of being unable to help her daughter. We started talking about the need for a better solution for people facing hair loss and that there is an opportunity for professional stylists to gain the training and resources to help clients faced with hair loss.
This hit home for me because in 2008 I lost my mom to breast cancer. As an accountant and owner of a company, she didn’t want people to know that she was sick, so when she was losing her hair, we tried to find a wig. Her stylist of 30 years, Sandy, didn’t know how to help her so we went to a wig shop. We just stood there with our heads spinning. There were all of these mannequin heads with crazy curly hair on them and stuff everywhere that we had never seen before, it was overwhelming! The kid working the store, who was maybe 17, really didn’t know anything about wigs. My mother was so frustrated that she just chose to wear scarves to cover her head. I saw Sandy at my mom’s funeral and with tears in her eyes, she said she so wished she could have been there for mom and helped her feel beautiful when she was so sick.
We founded Back To You in April of 2018 to provide alternative hair solutions for clients with medically related hair loss in a salon environment. We train and certify the best stylists to listen, understand, and use their expertise to meet their client’s needs, wants, and lifestyle. Back To You now has over 200 stylists in 19 states; and 36 stylists here in the Atlanta area. Our mission is to provide a better alternative for the people in our lives, and the people in the communities where we live and work, who are facing hair loss as the result of a medical condition. We help our guests step outside of their medical treatment for a salon beauty experience and give access to professional guidance in alternative hair. No woman should have to feel like my mom did standing in the middle of a wig shop.
In April of this year, I retired from the insurance industry and started working full time as the Chief Operations Officer of Back To You. I worked at the same insurance company for 22 years starting as a Claims Adjuster trainee and working my way up to Managing Director of the Medical Management, Quality Assurance, and Compliance Departments. I never would have thought I would be working with the beautiful creative minds of the hair industry. I wanted to do something different but just didn’t know what, until that night in November of 2017.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Switching from a corporate mindset to a business owner has been challenging but it has also been very rewarding. In addition, switching from concentrating on structured insurance compliance with rules and statutes to being able to create workflows and processes from scratch was invigorating but also daunting.
The best advice I can give to young women entrepreneurs is to be a sponge, learn, and accomplish something every day. It is important to think through ideas; map out how it is going to look, to work, the pitfalls and anticipated results. It is easy to lose a day, 2 days or a week just talking and spinning on ideas but not accomplishing anything. Until it is mapped out, the idea can never really come to fruition.
Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
David, Harry & I as well as many of our stylists have been impacted by medically related hair loss, whether personally, through a family member or close friend, or through longtime clients. We were inspired by our collective experiences to find a better solution for people. What makes us successful is our incredible Back To You team. We work with dedicated professionals and our educators are the best in the industry. Back To You has become bigger than us. We see more salons joining our team and our cause. Our team of educators believes they are not teaching a class, they are creating a movement – the #B2Ymovement.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
The best advice I can give to a young woman just starting their career is to listen, watch, and ask a lot of questions.
- The first step is to visit www.backtoyou.org and click on Find a Stylist to see the stylists that are near you. Our trained and certified stylists are ready to schedule a consultation to help client’s find the most flattering wig or topper for their lifestyle and needs. Each piece includes a care kit, which has styling tools and care products, and packages range from $800 to $3800. Everyone at Back To You is committed to making sure that the guest experience is second to none.
- Website: www.backtoyou.org
- Phone: 404-538-2348
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @backtoyouorg
- Facebook: @backtoyouorg
- Twitter: @backtoyouorg
Ivy Salon, DeNovo Salon, David Green, Harry D. Wood IV, Jennifer Provencher