Angel Duncan is a very laid back and soft-spoken woman; the type of person who makes you feel at home. Born and raised in Peoria, Angel attended Roosevelt Jr. High, and got her GED at Blackhawk College in Rock Island, Illinois. She came from a big family. Her uncle, Lee Kyle had his own trucking business in the 50s that picked up for all the businesses here in Peoria. “When I was growing up, there were a lot of black-owned businesses in Peoria. I moved away, and when I came back, I wondered what happened. They were all gone. There should be more.”
Initially, Angel worked for other people and saved her money, which required making sacrifices. Once she’d saved enough money, she ventured out and started her own business in the 1980s called – L.A. Braiding and Weaving located in Los Angeles, California. Angel says, “You have to love what you do, have something people want, and you have to be dedicated to it.” When she first started, she dedicated seven days a week to her business. She sold wigs, quality new and used clothing, shoes, some makeup, and purses–everyday stuff that a woman would want. Eventually, she hired three women to work for her, all mothers. She decided to leave California because, she says, laughing, “They wouldn’t let her retire.” When she left California, she passed her customers on to her employees.
After a brief retirement, she found herself in her late 50s feeling she was actually too young to retire. So, in 2007 she bought a place at 620 N. Sterling Avenue in West Peoria next to South Side Bank and opened a wig shop.
People dream about having their own business, but the thought can be overwhelming. When asked what she felt was the most difficult part of starting a business, Angel said, “Nothing really. If you like what you do, you’ll do good at it. I started off small. Even though I struggle sometimes, I enjoy what I do. You also have to be willing to accept help from people you can trust. If you’re just in it for the money, you won’t last long. I had help along the way and made sure I paid everybody back. People loved me, and I love helping them and making them look beautiful. Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. I used to do everyone’s hair—all races, and that helped me.”
She advertises her business by wearing her wigs. People don’t know they’re wigs. “They give me a compliment and then I let them know it’s a wig. I am nice to people and honest. I have a good location. I like people, and kindness goes a long way in building a business.”