For Sheila Walls, a hair cut goes far beyond a cute new style or trendy look. She has seen first-hand the power of a fresh look for women who have been abused or exploited. Gathering like-minded style professionals, Sheila started Get P.O.S.H. Ministries to offer high-end beauty care at no cost to women who need it most. And with a partner like Novak Hair Studios, their mission is ready to grow.
As a child, Sheila saw sacrificial generosity modeled day in and day out by her mother. A neighborhood leader in Fort Worth, she gathered groceries and supplies for the elderly and even provided hospice care in her home. Now 76, Sheila’s mom is still delivering food to the neighbors that need it. With that example to draw on, Sheila knew her professional hair styling career could have a greater purpose. She began as a stylist in 1989, and for years Sheila volunteered, offering hair cuts at homeless shelters. But after her own personal crisis, Sheila realized she could create something that helped not only those experiencing homelessness and poverty, but also women fighting for their own mental health.
Today P.O.S.H. Ministries offers free hair cuts and styling from a team of 12 beauty professionals, hosted once a month at Novak Hair Studios in downtown Fort Worth. Clients can make an appointment, and are referred by over a dozen partner organizations, including Unbound, a nonprofit serving women who are human trafficking survivors. “We have helped three women from Unbound to have a professional appearance before they appeared in court to testify against their abuser,” Sheila shared. In May, five women made appointments with three stylists, and Sheila is hoping to serve many more people in the future.
Thankfully, at Novak Hair Studios, Sheila has plenty of space to expand. The 10,000 SF space has created a home for more than 65 Luxury Solo Artists, and is also North Texas’ first fully-sustainable zero waste salon. Owned by married couple Ben Novak and Justin Hudgins, Novak Hair Studios is focused on creating change in the salon industry by truly helping people and the environment.
The youngest of six children, Ben Novak grew up with a mom who left an abusive marriage and struggled with depression. When he met Sheila and heard her vision, Ben was happy to offer the space she needed to serve women who had faced trauma. After 16 years in the beauty industry, Ben and Justin made the leap to build something together, drawing on Justin’s experience in his family’s construction business. They sold everything, moved into an RV during the build-out, and now, just a year and a half after opening, Novak Hair Studios is at capacity and has made huge leaps in sustainability. Over 9,000 pounds of hair clippings have been donated and repurposed to clean up ocean oil spills, 2,600 pounds of foil has been recycled, and motion detection LED lighting throughout the salon is saving energy every day. “We wanted to make the sustainable experience affordable, so we have made up for it in volume,” Ben explained. “People really only want to do good if it is also good for them, so nothing is sacrificed in the experience.”
Ben is also drawing on his grandfather’s legacy to take his environmental impact to the next level. Novak Bullard, had the nickname of “The Honey Man,” serving as VP of the Oklahoma Bee Association and dedicating his life to educating the public about the importance of bees for agriculture and human existence. In honor of that work and the awareness of declining bee populations, Ben and Justin donate profits from Novak Hair Studios to the Honey Bee Conservancy, and also have a dedicated space in the studio for honey bee education.
Together Sheila, Ben, and Justin are showing what is possible when business owners say yes to using their business for a bigger purpose. And Sheila already has her eyes set on the next goal. Get P.O.S.H. Ministries is currently raising funds to open a small bed and breakfast called The Pamper House that will serve women who are facing low self-worth and depression. “There are so many times when women make permanent decisions during a temporary circumstance,” Sheila said. “We want to offer rest and restoration, along with ongoing counseling support.” Creating a positive environment for women continues to be the driving force in Sheila’s life, and with the help of the team at Novak Hair Studios, she is well on her way.
If you would like to volunteer with Get P.O.S.H. Ministries, you can find out more on their website.
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