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Daily Inspiration: Meet Betsy Angus-Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Betsy Angus-Smith.

Betsy, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started my career at age 18. At 21, I was a single mother. I began doing hair in Riverside Jax but when I became a parent I decided to move back to where I grew up in Clay County. It was like starting over. No clients and a vastly different demographic. I was at the same location for 11 years, scared to move because I was comfortable with the stable income for my young family.

I was tired of having a boss and felt like I had so much creativity to share without the confines of another owner’s “brand” if you will. I decided at the beginning of 2015 to take the plunge. I figured what is my point of failure? I will still have my talents in doing hair, I could find a job anywhere. My first location in the Town of Orange Park was roughly 600 square feet. Through my loyal clients and endless hours, Atomic Beauty and Barber Lounge was a hit!

I was at that location for four years. Just me and my husband (Lenny) a Traditional Barber. We offered services that definitely separated us from most hair places in Jax. We were bursting at the seams and needed a new location. From 600 square feet to 1400 sq feet we expanded in 2019. We had an upstairs loft and brought in an esthetician.

Then the shutdown of 2020 happened. 6 weeks shut down, no income, and stuck with my thoughts. I decided fuck it, I want to hire employees. It was a huge risk and challenge but still asked me, “What is my point of failure?” I decided to hire people fresh out of hair school. Train the fresh young minds and show them the way. Guess what? While most businesses were in a slump due to Covid, we blew up!!!!

We are like coming home, a safe place if you will. With local Artwork on our walls showing off Jax’s talents, to awesome music making a superb creative environment we certainly are not conventional. Being a female business owner may have its challenges, but taking risks has proven to be the best thing I have done as an owner.

My staff & loyal clients have kept Atomic open and successful.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Owning a business is never smooth.

Covid was scary for the hair industry. So much uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic. But, our loyal clients were excited to have us back, and our business quadrupled in only a few short months.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am an Organic Color Specialist. I trained at the American Institute of Haircolor in NH. I love being behind the chair as well as teaching Organic Color to my peers.

I, however, am most proud of my employees. I see where they began and where they are now and it is truly mind-blowing. They are so talented and successful. What sets Atomic apart is that we offer it all.

To Hot Towel hot lather straight razor shaves by our Traditional Barbers, to organic hair color services by our staff, and relaxing facials upstairs by our skincare specialist. Mild to wild, young and old we have everyone covered.

What are your plans for the future?
Always planning!!!! I am excited to find a stand-alone commercial property to purchase and expand Atomic even more.

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