By Brigette White, Special to the AFRO
Eny Oh, Mel the Barber, and Davonne Austin have hearts of service when it comes to their community. They each own thriving businesses in the up and coming “Arts District of Hyattsville,” Maryland and do community events in order to give back.
They recently collaborated to service the teachers and students returning to school by giving full makeovers, haircuts, school supplies and a delicious meal free of charge.
“When I realized that teachers had to pay for the supplies they need during the school year I wanted to help out,” Oh told the AFRO.
Oh is an entrepreneur in the hair and makeup industry. She grew up in the affluent city of Potomac, Md. She started Beholder El Beauty, a “one stop shop for all beauty needs.” She created a beauty brand around everything that she loves: skincare, haircare, lashes, hair bundles, brow powders, lip glosses and lipsticks. She spent years working with a chemist to develop her own skincare, haircare and makeup line made from all natural ingredients.
“I wanted to create a skincare line because if your skin doesn’t look good then your makeup won’t look good.”
The inspiration for the company’s name derived from a quote Oh heard frequently from her mother; “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Her first entry into the beauty industry was through makeup.
She got her foot in the door through pageantry doing the makeup for contestants in Miss D.C., USA. Even though Oh is focused on her business and doesn’t service clients with hair care or makeup anymore she still remains loyal to her pageant roots and plans to continue working as their makeup artist.
During the brand’s existence, it has been used by celebrities such as Rihanna, Iggy Azalea and Tiara Thomas. If you’re not a celebrity, you can still get some help from Oh. She has a brow and lash technician, hairstylist and makeup artist in her shop to service all your glamorous needs.
She currently offers wholesale opportunities to others looking to start their own company. She teaches business classes on Sundays in her shop to share with other entrepreneurs good business practices. The shop offers classes on how to do eyebrows, lashes and hair care. Oh and her team of women are preparing the shops’ grand opening on Oct. 6.
Mel the Barber is Oh’s next door business neighbor and they both were the brains behind the community event.
“You want to look like success when you are trying to be professional in school,” said Mel to the AFRO. “Without an education you can’t do anything out here in this world.”
It is a struggle for some Black kids growing up in certain areas because they don’t have the resources they need to become who they want to be. In the 30 to 40 minutes that Mel has his clients in the barber’s seat he likes to speak words of encouragement and motivate them to aspire to be great.
“Being a celebrity barber here in D.C. and having the clientele that I have, I’m able to instill in them that they can be something,” said Mel.
Mel has worked with many celebrities including Patrick Ewing, Fabulous, Torrey Smith, Lyquin, Brandon T. Jackson and countless more celebrities across all arenas. He remains humble and still cuts hair daily in his barbershop with his partners.
Davonne Austin is the owner of the local Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Hyattsville. He contributed to the cause by donating food for the event.
“It’s a great cause to come out and help the other businesses and families in need,” said Austin. We do it all the time at my restaurant. We recently fed over 400 wounded warriors in Hyattsville.”