It’s fair to say that Tommy Jackson’s career path has taken a turn different from most – if not all – other electricians.
After six years as a licensed electrician, Jackson is now opening a beauty supply store.
B U Beauty will open Nov. 18 in Normandie Center at Central and Woodlawn.
“There was a series of things,” Jackson says of what led him to a career change.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The start dates back to his first day on the job as an electrician.
“The field is pretty predominantly white,” says Jackson, who is black.
“My first day, I was called the n-word.”
Things did not improve from there, he says.
“After a while, it beats down a person,” Jackson says. “I was hating to go to work.”
He says he tried to make some changes but eventually left the trade.
Jackson was working with some children and tried to encourage them in their lives, but then he says he asked himself a hard question.
“I was like, well, what are you doing with your life?”
Around that time, he learned that black women are a large percentage of the people who buy beauty products, but they’re underrepresented with products.
A lot of large retail outlets with lots of beauty products have only “a real small section for black women to choose from,” Jackson says.
“I was like, there we go,” he says.
B U Beauty will cater not only to black women, Jackson says.
“Every cosmetic line I’ve got in here is for everybody.”
However, he says, “Every product in my store is black-owned, black-made.”
Jackson says he’s “blown away” by support he’s received from people in the beauty industry around the country and as far away as Zimbabwe.
The logo for B U Beauty is a fist indicating solidarity.
“It’s what our logo represents.”
There also are several colors in the logo indicating he caters to everyone.
The store’s tagline is, “B Unique, B Proud, B U.”
The 2,700-square-foot store will be between Sweetly Scrumptious and Lawrence Photo.
Jackson says he chose Normandie for its traffic flow.
“There’s a good mixture of people.”
It’s never a place he thought he’d be with the shop he plans.
“A year ago if you had asked me, I’d say, ‘You’re crazy.’ ”
Jackson says he doesn’t regret leaving his electrical career behind or the hurt that came with it.
“Life’s too short.”