Tiffany Roacher

Junios Smith | July 17th, 2019
Tiffany Roacher (Photos by JLG Photography)

Tiffany Roacher (Photos by JLG Photography)

It may have been a rocky road, but Tiffany Roacher has navigated it well.

Roacher is the owner of Naturally Free Natural Hair Lounge, a salon which has been operation for three years — the third anniversary passing in May — fulfilling a lifelong dream. “This was something I’ve wanted to do since I was three, when I first started to braid,” Roacher said. “It finally came through and while a lot has changed from age three to 37, I’m grateful to have it.”

Strides toward the dream started to manifest at the tender age of eight, but a roadblock also injured it in the process.

“We lived in a townhouse growing up that was three floors — I lived in the middle and my grandmother on top,” Roacher said. “While in the 3rd grade, one day I asked my mom if I could start braiding hair in the basement and she agreed. We wrote letters, had consent forms ready and everyone took it seriously. Then, a hair stylist came over and broke everything down, telling me I needed to go to cosmetology school, get a degree, everything. My feelings were definitely hurt a little bit from that.” Roacher deviated from her hairstyling plans and focused on another passion before everything came full circle.

“I always played the piano and loved music,” Roacher said. “I went to the ‘Fame’ school, the High School of Performing Arts, and I’ve seen a lot of my classmates on TV such as Nicki Minaj and others who work with Kirk Franklin. When I graduated high school, I felt like I would have to go through more competition — as an artist, you need to have a different look and I wasn’t trying to do all that, so I went back to my original dream. I continued to do my friends’ hair and it’s funny how the music route helped me come back to my first love.”

Roacher moved to Greensboro in 2000 to attend North Carolina A&T and fell in love with the city’s atmosphere. “I had never heard of A&T until my senior year of high school, but after doing my research it was the third-best business school among HBCUs, so I came down here and loved it.”

Roacher studied business management and would later work at salons, building her brand. Roacher also got married, but said it was a very tumultuous time toward the end.

“I moved to Buffalo with him, and would later feel like I was at a negative zero,” Roacher said. “It was like I had to start all the way over — when he dropped me back in North Carolina after two years, I had two kids and couldn’t believe where I was. I was homeless and had no car, and all of the clients I had were with other stylists I referred them to when I left.”

Roacher did a lot of praying and the community showed its support in her darkest hour. “I had a stylist hit me up on Facebook messenger and say ‘I don’t know you, but you’re the one who referred clients to me and help me build my business up,’” Roacher said. “She told me she told all of my old clients to come back this way. I’ve had other people help by giving me a washer and dryer, clothes for myself and daughters, furniture, and the kicker was someone getting me a car. I was able to work at Sharper Image Hair Studio with Ramon Mason, who eventually allowed me to become the manager. I learned a lot from him and I’m truly thankful.

“I’m truly excited about how everything has come together. I went through so many highs and lows, and have been able to build — not just for myself, but for my daughters.”

Roacher said it’s been in her blood to become an entrepreneur. “I’ve always wanted to work for myself and I didn’t know why at the time — I just wanted to have my own,” Roacher said. “As I got older, I learned that attribute was hereditary. My mother is Jamaican and my father is from the South, so with my mom’s side, my ancestors were slaves before becoming indentured servants. I saw the paperwork from my great great great uncle, who was able to sign his name and get his piece of land. He worked his butt off for it and showed the type of work ethic he had.

“On both sides of my family, there are plenty of entrepreneurs. Some had highly successful businesses, but if nothing else, they all at least tried. We’ve all worked well with our hands, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned you can only learn so much from some people. There are some who won’t give you the entire story because they’d rather have you under them as a worker bee. For some that’s OK, but I’m not one of those people.”

Roacher said she encourages everyone to follow their ambitions and make them work. “Never stop dreaming or pursuing whatever it is you feel you want to do, even if it sounds crazy,” Roacher said. “It doesn’t have to make sense to others — sometimes, God gives you little nuggets to work on. It also doesn’t matter how old you are, you can get it accomplished. Don’t stop, even if someone has a business similar to you — figure out how you can make yours different from others.”

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