Engaging People: Sarah Brown

Monday, July 27, 2009 | 4:55 p.m. CDT; updated 8:12 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 27, 2009
Judi Smith gets her hair shampooed at Rumors hair salon. "I know it feels good when other people scratch your scalp," said stylist Sarah Brown, rubbing shampoo into Smith's hair.

COLUMBIA — Walk into hair salon Rumors and you'll see the rose-colored walls that reflect owner Sarah Brown’s personality.

The smells of hair gel, hot iron smoke and hairspray linger. Whether it's politics or the Black Entertainment Television Awards, any conversation point is fair game, falling right in line with the shop slogan, “Rumors: Have you heard?”


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Brown never went to college. Instead, she decided to pursue her love of becoming a stylist in order to make her mother proud.

“My mom wanted me to go to college, but I didn’t end up making it to college. So, when I told her I was going to hair school, she was like, 'That was good, too,'" Brown said. "When I opened up my own business, she was even more happy.”

Brown's love for hair began when she was about 15. Her favorite customers were the Barbie dolls she kept as a child, and she was often punished for giving herself a perm.

Eight years later, Brown graduated from Jerry’s Hair School in Columbia. She then began working for Mary Smith, a long time salon owner, who inspired Brown to become an entrepreneur and later advised her on business decisions.

Finally, in 2004, Rumors opened at 1111 Range Line St. The business opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. On average, Brown estimates she and employee Roy Lovelady serve between 60 and 150 clients each week.

“I think they come back because they get good quality hairstyles here. We’re friendly, and we treat you like you’re at home," Brown said. "We treat everybody like they’re family here.”

Her clientele is diverse, and Brown hopes her service in the community will continue to bring more people into her shop.

Brown said Rumors is a place for customers to come and relax.

"You have a busy day, you might be at work, when you go home you’re dealing with the kids, but when you come to a hair salon, that’s your time," Brown said. "If you want to close your eyes and go to sleep, it's that time.”

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