Iris Leverett is a wife, mother of 5, and has been doing hair for over 25 years. During that time, she has transitioned from working in her mom’s basement to owning Seven Strands Hair Salon. “I love doing hair. I like seeing the transformation from the inside out,” she says. The name Seven Strands is based on the bible story of Samson. (Judges 16) His seven locks were the source of his strength. “My strength is in doing hair and helping it to grow. We changed locks to strands because it represents all types of hair.”
Iris is one of eight children born to Troy and Martha Brown. She is not the first business owner in the family. Troy’s aunt, (Iris’ great aunt) Jean Smith, owned Aunt Jean’s Hair Salon in downtown Chicago when Iris was growing up. Her grandmother, Lela Parks hot-combed and curled hair at church. It was her grandmother, who gave Iris her first hot comb and curling iron and taught her how to use them. Iris’ mom found it difficult to keep up with grooming and raising eight children. So Iris started doing hair in her parents’ basement for her four sisters and three brothers, learning the latest trends. Word got out, and she did hair for friends as well. Eventually, she got a job at Courtney’s Hair Salon in Chicago where she worked for ten years.
During this time, Iris became a licensed stylist, got married and started a family of her own. The family moved to Bloomington where her husband, Andre Leverett, attended Illinois State University. Iris did hair in their basement.
In 2005, Andre got a job offer in Peoria and the family relocated. Iris continued to do hair in their basement. As her clientage grew, so did the need to expand to another location. Iris was able to connect with Bishop and Lady Dawson of New Life Christian Church. She began doing Lady Dawson’s hair, which allowed her to get acclimated in Peoria. Iris was able to open her first shop, Visions Hair Salon. With the expectancy of twins arriving, Iris closed her shop to focus on her family.
After the twins were born, Iris worked at several Peoria and Peoria Heights locations, including Headz Up, the Alter Ego Salon, and at Peoria Heights Suites. Now the plan is for Seven Strands to become a fully staffed, one-stop salon. Iris is looking for specialists in color, cut, weave, natural hair, eyelashes/eyebrows, and braiding. Finding people with a true entrepreneurial spirit is difficult. But she has faith that God will bring the right people at the right time.
Seven Strands is only half the story. Iris is also a licensed instructor, the general manager, and a partner of Larry’s Barber College, the former Peoria Barber College. Owned by Larry Roberts, the college is helping to train up the next generation of barbers and beauticians. Read next month’s issue to learn more about Iris’ and Larry’s partnership.
Currently, Seven Strands is running a $99 sew-in special on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a fall/winter treatment for the hair – $35 (steam, wash, and conditioning), full-face makeup for $35, and eyelashes. To schedule an appointment, call (309) 643-1410. Connect with “Seven Strands Salon” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, located at 8500 N. Knoxville, Suite D, in Peoria.