Barbie probably provided the best clue to Brittany Pledger’s family what her calling would be. Or rather, Pledger’s dislike of Barbie.
“People were always giving me Barbie dolls when I was little,” Pledger said. “I didn’t even like Barbie dolls.”
So when Pledger ended up finding success as a hair stylist, it really didn’t come as much of a surprise to her parents.
“She was cutting Barbie’s hair,” said Pledger’s father, John Walters. “One day we were cleaning her room and found a box of Barbies. They were all bald.”
“I pulled a freezer bag from behind her dresser. It was full of Barbie hair,” said Tammy Walters, Pledger’s mother.
Pledger has been cutting, coloring and styling hair for clients in Rome at various salons for several years. And now, at the seasoned age of 29, Pledger is opening her very own salon.
“Paint. The Beauty Bungalow” is targeted for opening before the end of this month at 524 Broad St., Suite C, near the Historic DeSoto Theatre. Parking and the main entrance to the salon will be located off First Street at the back of the building.
Having her own business is a dream come true, but growing up, Pledger thought she might end up practicing law. She wasn’t alone.
“I thought she’d be an attorney because she liked to argue and she could get paid to do it,” her mom said, laughing.
“I wanted to do hair, but my parents told me it was not a career, it was a hobby. …” she said. “Anything other than college was not an option.”
Pledger excelled in her studies in high school. She started her college career at Jacksonville State University and transferred to Shorter University, where she became involved in cheerleading. Pledger found traditional areas of study in school did not appeal to her with respect to finding a long-term career. Cheering was one of the only things she seemed to enjoy about school.
“I was only in college to cheer,” Pledger said. “(My parents) were paying for me to cheer and that was expensive and it was dumb.”
She eventually convinced her parents to let her go to cosmetology school.
Pledger was hired as an assistant at Jyl Craven Hair Design in Canton where she was responsible for washing hair, cleaning the salon, running errands, helping senior stylists and learning by watching the other stylists. She worked there six years before returning home to Rome.
“I loved it,” she said. “I love what I’m doing now. I can’t wait to go back to work because I love what I do.”
“I’ve always enjoyed hair and makeup,” Pledger said. “But I didn’t know I could have done it and made money. … I’m creative. It was a creative outlet. There’s a beginning and an end. It all happens in that one appointment.”
She already has a loyal clientele to bring to her salon where she and her assistant, Tara Matthews, will attend to them. The salon will start with styling hair. Makeup will be added later, and Pledger hopes to include facial and skin care down the road as well.
The new salon adds to an already busy life for Pledger and her family. Her husband, Zach, and his family own The Crushed Tomato restaurants in Summerville and LaFayette. Pledger has two daughters, Rory, 4; and Indy, 1-1/2; and stepson Silas, 9.
“We’re very crazy,” Pledger said. “Fortunately, we have a lot of help from family. … We don’t sleep a lot but we make time for the things we need to.”
Right now, bringing this salon to life for herself and for her clients is a necessity.
“I’m scared but I’m ready,” Pledger said. “I know what I want to bring to my clients. … I want people to not have to drive to have a (high end) haircut. There’s not the same level of that here, and I want to bring it here. I can’t give them everything I want to until I do this, until I have my own space.”