This story is reprinted with permission from The Birmingham Times
With grace, faith, and hope, Sharon Hill opened the doors to 3 Daughters Beauty Supply in Birmingham as an example of what a small business can mean in the Black community.
“Putting a store in any other place would be doing a disservice,” said Hill, who opened her business in 2020. “I have a specific goal in mind to be the example for our young Black people, to show them that that they can have their own businesses. … If anybody says they can’t, there are only two words that need to be said in response: ‘Watch Me!’”
The mother of three daughters, which is where the store got its name, also wanted to set an example for her children—Jasmine Grace, 26; Jade Faith 23; and Jewel Hope, 16.
“As a mother, you always want to be a role model for your children,” Hill said. “I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I want them to know that they can aspire to do whatever they want to do at any point in their lives.”
Through her business which is located near the CrossPlex in West Birmingham, Hill offers more than just beauty, cosmetic, and personal care. She designed 3 Daughters to “be a safe place to shop, learn, and feel loved while having knowledgeable staffers that are capable of educating customers on the available hair and beauty products.”
“My favorite words to hear are ‘You Can’t.’ Once I hear that, my brain perks up and is like ‘OK, let’s show them what we can do,’” Hill added.
Grace, Faith, and Hope
When Hill first opened her store, the girls helped out, and they still help on and off: Jasmine handles vendors, Jade works as the store manager, and Jewel occasionally assists with keeping the store tidy. Jasmine and Jade have graduated from college, and Jewel is in high school.
Hill and her husband, Joseph, had their first born, Jasmine Grace, in 1995.
“It was exciting because previously we had two miscarriages,” she said. “She was just a little bag of sugar because she was like five pounds with a head full of curly black hair. We gave her the middle name ‘Grace’ because it was through the grace of God that she is here with us.”
In 1998, Hill gave birth to her second child, Jade Faith.
“I went to the doctor after taking a dollar pregnancy test from the store,” she said. “It showed a plus, so I scheduled an appointment. … The [doctor] ran tests and told me I wasn’t pregnant. I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ I was having every single symptom of pregnancy there was. Two weeks went by, and I told [the doctor] to go ahead and give me the medicine I needed so I wouldn’t lose the baby. … Two weeks went by again and [the doctor] finally told me I was pregnant, … and I’m like, ‘I told you so!’”
“We gave Jade the middle name ‘Faith’ because we didn’t need any hormone medicine during my pregnancy with her. She was going to hang in there regardless by the faith of God,” said Hill.
In 2005, Hill had her youngest daughter, Jewel Hope.
“There was really no emotional story with Jewel’s birth,” she said. “We kind of jokingly say we named her ‘Hope’ because when we found out we were having her we were hoping she would be our last baby. But in all seriousness Jewel was another wish answered because our journey to our three girls was tough, but a glorifying one.”
Hill, 55, grew up on the eastside of Birmingham alongside five other siblings as a “preacher’s kid.”
“Growing up, we had a good home full of love and faith. My dad was a pastor at Oak Hurst Baptist Church in Birmingham, and church came before anything,” she said of her father, who now preaches at The House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church in Tarrant, Alabama. “I was a cheerleader in high school, and if a game fell on Wednesday night Bible study, then I couldn’t go.”
Hill attended Hayes High School, where she was a cheerleading squad captain, Miss Homecoming during her junior year, and Miss Hayes High in her senior year.
The always-business-minded Hill graduated from high school in 1984 and accepted a position as a data processor at a local bank. She also enrolled at Jefferson State Community College, where she earned an associate degree in business administration along with a realtor license in 1986. She then took a job in the accounting department of an insurance agency and noticed that a group of people had been at the company for decades. She said to herself, “‘Oh, no!’ … And that’s when I really got serious about going back to school.”
Hill enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance in 1997.
3 Daughters Beauty Supply
In 2016, after working for more than 30 years in the insurance field in accounting, underwriting, and claims, Hill was ready for a change and had an idea about which direction she wanted to go.
“Every time I would go to the beauty supply store, I would get a little bit more unsettled or frustrated because I noticed that Black people were consumers but were rarely the owners. … I went home one day, got online, and literally started searching ‘how to open your own business,’” she said.
Hill then got her family together to discuss the next steps.
“I had a name for the business immediately. I knew I wanted to name the business for my daughters because they are the whole reason that I do anything. I got a plan together and decided to reach out to the [Small Business Association (SBA)]. They wouldn’t give me a loan because it was a startup and not a franchise. … They said, ‘This type of business goes out of business all the time [and] usually has a high turnover of people.”
Nonetheless, Hill decided, “I will bet on myself.”
In 2017, she attended the Beauty Supply Institute’s annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia, an event dedicated to providing training and education for individuals that aspire to become store owners.
“I learned a lot at that conference. It was pretty much me learning from other men and women who had opened their own beauty supply [businesses] successfully. I invested in classes and trainings that eventually invested back in me,” said Hill, who reached out to Bob Nesbitt, developer of the Birmingham CrossPlex Village, in 2019.
“At the time, I knew that the Birmingham CrossPlex was building a plaza, and I knew that would be a perfect location for the store,” said Hill. “I talked to [Bob] off and on for a few months while the area was [under construction]. When [the CrossPlex] was finally built, I signed my lease and started getting things together.”
Hill’s Beauty Supply Institute training helped her set up shop: “I told myself, ‘Why not let [the Beauty Supply Institute] help me do this?’ They were able to help order all my products through the courses I paid for. … They ordered everything I needed to start the store.”
In August 2020, 3 Daughters Beauty Supply opened for business.
“It wasn’t an easy journey, and I don’t expect it to be sunshine and rainbows all the time going further,” Hill said. “I just wanted to follow a vision God that confirmed within me, leave a legacy for my daughters, and serve as an example to show my community that if I can do it, you can, too.”
3 Daughter’s Beauty Supply is located at 2401 CrossPlex Blvd., Suite 105, Birmingham, AL 35208. For more information, visit @3daughtersbeautysupply on Instagram