HOMEGROWN: Naturally Speaking

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

Melony Armstrong opened her business in 1999 and says Naturally Speaking was the state’s first licensed braiding salon. Armstrong specializes in braiding, locking, twists, extensions or weave, natural hair and cornrows. Her clients include males and females of all ages and races.
She also does maintenance on hairstyles as needed.
Armstrong averages about five to six hours on a new style for a customer.
“We really get to know our customers,” she said.
The salon also exudes tranquility. She doesn’t have a TV. Instead, she has potted plants and inspirational music.
Armstrong rocked the cosmetology world in 2004 when she sued the State Board of Cosmetology to change the way the state regulated hair-braiders. Before the lawsuit, braiders had to have a cosmetology license, even though Armstrong said the program didn’t teach braiding.
Now, braiders pay a $25 registration fee with the Board of Health and follow basic health and sanitation guidelines.
Amstrong said the change allowed her to train others to braid, which in turn helped her grow her business.