Friday, August 26, 2011

Celebrating the courage of women entrepreneurs

Kay at work in her new hair studio
Despite the bad economy and a turn of events that completely wiped out her thriving business, one women entrepreneur turned her unfortunate situation around to her advantage. Kay Hack, sole owner of a small business came back fighting and ended up better off than she was before. Kay has that entrepreneurial spirit that makes for success no matter what.

Several months ago...early one morning, Kay jumped in her black van and took off for work in Louisville Kentucky. She pulled into her regular parking place in the parking lot in Old Louisville and walked across the street to her small hair salon. The day proceeded as usual, appointments one after the other, walk-ins and the ordinary day of a small business owner.

Just before closing that she heard a loud explosion in the shop next door to hers. She ran next door to see if she could help just in time to see the two owners grappling with huge flames from an explosion of a gas line. They had both been smoking.

Running back to her shop to call 911, she was surprised and horrified to see, through the storefront windows, her business of 29 years going up in flames. There was nothing she could do but stand there and watch the destruction of her life's work. The flames climbed up the new partitions she had just put in, obliterating the beautiful yellow walls recently covered with a fresh coat of paint..

 And when the flames died down a shell of her former business was staring her in the face... The new lighting strips were enveloped in black smoke, the bulbs had exploded one at a time. Everything was destroyed...even the combs, brushes, and bottles of hair care solutions were melted and covered in black soot. Everything was gone.

But, within three months, Kay was in business again.  Possessor of that entrepreneurial spirit, that gift that inspires others to become the best they can be, that  passion, positive attitude, adaptability, and ambition that enables true entrepreneurs to make their dreams come true time and time again against all odds, was at work already as she stood gazing into the soot-filled ruins of what once was her livelihood.

Although in her 50s, Kay never considered throwing in the towel for a minute or going to work for someone else.  She never doubted that she could pull it all together and make it happen again. It was just a matter of how and when.  And make it happen she did. Fortunately, being the savvy business woman she is, she had kept up on her property insurance and that's where she started. 

She set out to find a new location...No real estate agent for her. She was going to find her own shop...and true to form, within a few weeks she was making plans to start renovating.

Smart enough to find a small empty shop where t-shirts had been sold until a few months earlier, she made sure the shops would be in a residential, homey neighborhood where people felt comfortable knowing everyone there and shopping and receiving services within walking distance of home. Conveniently located on a corner where cars have to stop at a light, you can't miss Miss Kay's Hair Studio staring you in the face, no matter which way you're going.

The neighborhood is called Germantown, a quaint historic area well-known to Louisville residents. The shop is located at 1138 Goss Avenue on the corner of Goss and and Texas in Louisville, Kentucky. Phone: 502-636-1700. I can vouch for Kay's skill as a hair dresser, whether it's color, cut, wash or set, she's a pro.

During the week of February 20th-26th, we celebrate women like Kay...those amazing women who make starting, owning and running a small business a reality and remind us that with a little courage, we can do it too. I say "lets celebrate them all year round"


  1. This is a great story. Thank Nancy for writing it and thank you Kay for having the persistence, courage, and optimism to push in the face of opposition.

    Dying to Live,


  2. Naima, Thanks for the nice comments and so glad you enjoyed the post.

  3. Kay's story is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing!

  4. check this out!!

  5. @Sobing: Thanks for the comment and the link

  6. @Patty: Yes, Kay is an inspiration. She's my hairdresser. And, when I visit her shop, I am always amazed at her energy and work ethic. Her new place is awesome!!

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  8. Hi April, Thanks for invitation and the comments. Will stop by when I get a minute.