With salons in Ardmore and East Falls, plus a school and a line of beauty products, Naeemah Johnson’s Nbeauty is a regional powerhouse.
by Jennifer Robinson, Business Editor
Naeemah Johnson is new to the Main Line, but not to the beauty industry. She graduated with her cosmetology degree and started working at her mother’s East Falls salon in 1999. Later, she attended FIT for image consulting. Around 2009, she took over the salon and renamed it Nbeauty Inc. Soon, the revamped salon will reopen on the first floor with her Nbeauty Academy. She is looking to open enrollment soon for fall 2023/spring 2024. The academy is currently online with videos on makeup and “sew and weave” for hair.
Johnson formerly worked at a New York salon and through contacts there she was able to work with some celebrity clients including Jazmine Sullivan, Charli Baltimore and Lil’ Kim. She worked with “Black Girls Rock” and BETfor years and hired the team that did all of the hair for that event. She is proud of the fact that she was able to help a lot of stylists build their brands who were able to say they worked with BET. “It was a moment for them. I always feel good about being able to present people with opportunities that will take them to their next level. I enjoy that. Connecting the dots for people,” says Johnson.
In May, 2021, Johnson purchased a salon on Greenfield Avenue in Ardmore. The salon offers an array of services including hair, make-up, non-invasive cosmetic enhancements, teeth whitening, lashes, brows and yoni steaming. The salon sets itself apart by using its own product lines for hair care and skin care. Additionally, they are able to cater to a diverse clientele. “We are able to service all hair types from a conservative look to dreadlocks” says Johnson. She is also excited to be launching a new Vitamin C serum this summer. Clients can come in for this with a hydrogen oxygen facial or will be able to purchase an at-home topical treatment.
She opened her business during a time of uncertainty. Like nearly everything else, her initial location closed when Covid hit in March 2020. She said it was scary to close the salon and watch two weeks turned into three months. Johnson started spending part of everyday trying to find money. There were so many people trying to apply for funding at that time; she would start applications and try to submit them only to be told the monies were spoken for and no additional applications were being accepted.
But she did not let this stop her. “I had no choice because this is all I do, to be creative and keep going…I could either sink or swim. People depend on the salon for their income as well,” said Johnson.
There were some positive changes to her business during Covid. It gave her an opportunity to strategize and regroup, start a skin care line, and develop the ecommerce side of her business. The salon offered a lot more at-home products and bundles to keep things going during the shutdown. Johnson was also able to automate her business more during the last two years and delegate by hiring a content creator who does her social media.
Post-lockdown, she is seeing that people are treating themselves more. “People just want to get cute again and spend money on themselves. Wigs are like the new Chanel bags. Hair is an accessory now. . .it is definitely part of your look. And everyone is appreciating being able to go out again,” says Johnson.
So what’s next for this beauty mogul? “Maintain what we have. Use the good foundation. Add things bit by bit. Don’t grow too fast,” she says.
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