Salon 360

by Crystal Kelly | November 11th, 2011
Eli Breeden

Eli Breeden (Photo by Brad McKenzie)

Eli E. Breeden was born and raised in Scotland County, N.C. He is an elite member of the Pi Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Incorporated. He started his college journey at N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University studying criminal justice. In 1992, he decided to drop out and attend barber school. After graduating from Mangum’s Barber School in Rock Hill, S.C. he began his career as a barber. Although he was good at his craft he always regretted not finishing college. He went back to college at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Today, Breeden holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UNCC.

After graduating in 2004, Breeden continued to work as a barber at LaPorsha’s Barber Shop. His natural ability to interact with people and his growing clientele birthed the passion to own his own shop. He had the know-how, the connections, the experience and now the drive. He left the shop and decided to sub-lease an existing shop, Nu Duz. He was operating now as a manager and barber. Although his business experience grew while operating under someone else’s business name and rules, this did not fit well for him. He decided that he wanted to make his own stamp in the barber shop world. He adopted a business partner and opened, Against the Grain Barber Shop. There he created a welcoming feeling for his customers and provided the type of service he always envisioned for his shop. He not only started a business to earn money, but also to teach young barbers and provide employment opportunities. He served as a mentor to his employed barbers. The clients at Against the Grain were treated professionally but still offered that comfortable down-home feeling that long-standing shops provide.

As the business started to grow, the partnership between Breeden and his business partner deteriorated. He wanted to expand the business into a place that serviced both men and women. He envisioned extending the same comfortable place for everyone to come and receive head-to-toe care. He felt that God had given him an opportunity to be a positive example for young, up and coming business owners. However, he felt that he needed to branch out on his own to make this dream happen. For the first time, he was on his own and that empowered him to push towards his vision of a place that not only provided hair care for both men and women but also nails and eye lash work. These services offer a mini spa feeling by offering a variety of wine while making people feel as though they were receiving Beverly Hills service for prices they could afford. Although he believed in this God given vision, he was not fully convinced that he could make it happen on his own. After praying to receive direction and receiving motivation from his wife, LaToya, who also owns her own business – 360 Speech Therapy, together they decided to start fresh – new business name, new location and most importantly a new vision. Since his business and life experience had taken many turns – it eventually came full circle to where it needed to be. LaToya decided to brand this new full-service salon for both men and women, Salon 360. Salon 360 is a holistic place where people can come and receive uptown care for down-home prices, while still providing a professional atmosphere.

After successfully running Salon 360, Breeden was blessed to meet two individuals, Brent Underwood and Ahmad Blakeney, who had already owned their own successful business, Bread of Life Youth and Family Services. Brent is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., which is where he and Breeden met. After discovering that they not only shared a brotherhood connection but also an entrepreneurship spirit as well, they began to “talk shop”. Brent holds a finance degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and was looking for additional business opportunities. He and his business partner at Bread of Life, Ahmad, had been looking for additional business investments in Charlotte, N.C. Since Salon 360 was thriving, Breeden decided that the partnership between the three men would be a great idea. Brent and Ahmad invested in the business and became full active business partners. Brent manages the financial affairs and Ahmad brings his experience in marketing and communications as the marketing specialist for the salon. These young men work together to create a unique market in Charlotte, a full service mini spa that services both men and women from head to toe. These men encourage and motivate others, sending a message that you can do anything that you put your mind to. All three men are under the age of 40 and have worked at a variety of jobs, and they have persevered through life’s hardships in order to achieve their dreams of owning their own businesses. Today, they participate in community events to give back and they continue to mentor young men, and provide employment opportunities to men and women in the area.

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