Living My Vivid Dreams with Pennae Akpuru

Written by: Mikey Moran



Time to read 10 min


Dreams have always held a special place in my heart. 

From the time I envisioned setting foot in the enchanting landscapes of Africa to the day I held the hands of those wonderful babies and taught women the art of hairstyling, my dreams painted a vivid picture of my desires.

 People around me, even my groomer, found it amusing how I clung to that African dream. Yet, within six months, I was living that very dream.

 This is the power of dreams. They're not mere fragments of our imagination but the soul's deepest desires waiting to be fulfilled. 

And no matter our adversities, these dreams lend us the strength to persevere.

The Journey, Not the Destination

Often, we get so engrossed in the 'how' of our dreams that we miss out on the beauty of the journey. 

I never anticipated that a stroke would be the detour leading me to Africa. But life has its mysterious ways. 

Instead of attempting to decode every step of the journey, having faith and letting life take its course is essential. 

Write down your dreams, nurture them daily, and let the universe conspire to help you achieve them. Remember, the journey shapes us, not just the destination.


The Pulse of Business: Building Relationships

Venturing into the bustling city of Atlanta to open my salon was an exciting yet challenging phase. 

Recollections from my first salon venture at 19 taught me valuable lessons. Business isn't just about transactions; it's about human connections. 

From greeting every client with a warm smile to remembering personal details like their birthdays, these gestures build trust and loyalty. 

A business thrives when its customers feel valued, heard, and cherished.

Committing to Excellence

Every corner of my salon in Buckhead resonates with commitment. 

Whether it's ensuring the most pristine environment, mastering the latest hairstyling techniques, or sweeping the floor with pride after a long day, commitment is the thread that ties everything together. 

The Buckhead Salon, a culmination of a 20-year dream, isn't just a physical space; it's a testament to unwavering dedication. Every detail, from the décor to the services, reflects a deep passion for excellence.

Involvement: The Backbone of Success

Businesses flourish when leaders are involved. I've always been a hands-on businesswoman, ensuring everything is perfect and cleaning the bathroom! 

While delegation is essential, staying connected and involved is the key to understanding the pulse of the business.

 Surrounding oneself with experts and letting them shine in their domain while actively participating ensures collective growth and success.

Dreams are potent forces, guiding, inspiring, and giving us the strength to face life's challenges. 

Every strand of hair I style at the Private Label Studios is a testament to the power of dreams and the importance of commitment in turning those dreams into reality. 

So, as you embark on your journey, always remember to dream vividly, commit wholeheartedly, and relish every moment of the journey.

The Perils of Over-planning


While having a vision and direction is essential, sometimes getting too caught up in the 'how' can become a roadblock. 

In my journey, I learned that while I can plan and envision, I must also be open to life's unexpected turns. 

I certainly didn't think a stroke would be a part of my journey to Africa, but it was. Instead of fretting over our dreams' exact path, we should focus on the passion and purpose behind them, trusting that the universe has a plan in place. 

When we try too hard to dictate every step, we might miss the lessons and opportunities from unexpected detours.

Everyday Steps Towards Your Dreams

Regardless of how vast or unattainable a dream may seem, the small, daily steps bring us closer to realization.

 I remember being enamored with Africa, and even if I couldn’t immediately share my aspirations with everyone, I committed myself to private research, learning more about the continent, and understanding how I could make a difference. 

It's crucial to remember that every little effort, no matter how minuscule, is a step closer to your dream. 

Even practicing a speech in front of a mirror or jotting down ideas in a journal can be significant.

The Role of Faith

Throughout my journey, my faith has been a guiding light. It reminded me to stay grounded, especially when things weren't going as planned. 

Psalms 37:4 resonated deeply with me: "Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

 Our faith can provide solace and clarity when the path to our dreams becomes rocky. By prioritizing spiritual growth and connection, we often find the guidance and strength needed to persevere.

The Importance of Surroundings

It's often said that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with.

 In my journey, I realized the significance of surrounding myself with positive, uplifting individuals who shared similar aspirations or could provide guidance. 

It's about avoiding negativity and actively seeking environments and relationships that nourish our dreams and ambitions.

 Sometimes, this might mean embracing solitude or distancing from distractions. Remember, to truly grow and chase our dreams, we must be in spaces that allow us to flourish.

Dreams are more than just fleeting thoughts or whimsical ideas; they are deeply ingrained desires that have the potential to shape our destiny. 

We can make those vivid dreams tangible by honoring our dreams, taking daily steps towards them, keeping the faith, and ensuring we are in nurturing surroundings.

 Remember, the journey to your dreams is as enriching as the destination. Embrace every moment, and always keep dreaming.

The Value of Hands-On Commitment in Business


Entering the business world, especially in a field as personal as hairstyling, taught me the importance of being hands-on. 

It's not just about knowing the techniques or having the right tools; it's about building genuine relationships with clients.

 Remembering birthdays' personal stories and ensuring clients feel valued goes a long way. 

The pride in your work isn't just seen in the end product but in the process – from sweeping the floors after each client to ensuring every corner of your establishment exudes warmth and professionalism.


Evolving and Adapting

The journey from my first salon to the one in Atlanta taught me much about evolution. 

As dreams change and grow, so should our approach to business and aspirations. Embracing change, learning from past mistakes, and always seeking ways to improve and innovate are essential. 

For instance, my initial oversight of not personally greeting clients in my early salon days turned into a pivotal learning lesson that greatly influenced how I interacted with clients in Atlanta.


Building a Nurturing Environment

A salon is not just a place to get a service; it's a haven where clients should feel safe, heard, and pampered. 

Designing an environment that promotes these feelings is crucial. From ensuring cleanliness to creating a stylish, comfortable ambiance, every detail matters. 

Moreover, fostering a sense of community and belonging among staff and clients transforms a regular business into a cherished space for everyone involved.

Dreams and businesses share a core essence – they both require vision, dedication, and an unwavering belief in the possibility of what can be. 

Whether you're charting the path to a personal dream or building a business from the ground up, remember the importance of trusting the process, being hands-on, and creating an environment that nurtures growth and connection. 

After all, the journey, with all its challenges and triumphs, makes the destination truly worthwhile.

Personal and nurturing aspects of the hairstyling

The Importance of Relationships in Business


Reflecting on my journey, I realize that the heart of any thriving business, especially one as intimate as a salon, lies in its relationships. 

When I took the plunge and opened my salon in Atlanta at age 25, I came armed with wisdom from my previous venture at 19. 

And among the myriad lessons I’d learned, one stood out starkly - the significance of building genuine connections.

It isn't enough to be an expert in your craft. The essence of a salon extends beyond its services. 

It becomes a second home for many, a place of solace, rejuvenation, and transformation. And the cornerstone of this atmosphere is the rapport you develop with your clients. 

Greeting them, recalling personal anecdotes like their birthdays, or just inquiring about their day can elevate their experience from a mere appointment to a cherished interaction. 

This fosters loyalty and turns clients into ardent advocates for your business.

But the relationships aren't limited to the stylist and the client. 

The camaraderie between team members, the respect for everyone's expertise, and the mutual goal of creating a haven for clients are just as pivotal. 

In my salon, we aren't just colleagues; we're a family - bound together by our passion for the craft and our shared vision of offering more than just a service.

While skills can be acquired and honed, building and nurturing relationships sets a business apart. 

These relationships transform a space into a sanctuary, a service into an experience, and clients into lifelong friends.

Commitment to Business Excellence


Commitment in business isn't just about persistence; it’s an intricate dance between dedication, passion, and an undying focus on excellence. 

My salon in Buckhead, which was once a mere figment of my imagination, is today a testament to that ethos. 

Two decades might seem like a long time, but every moment spent dreaming, planning, and working toward that vision was a step toward excellence.

At the heart of this excellence lies an unwavering attention to detail. 

A salon's ambiance isn’t shaped solely by its decor but by its cleanliness, organization, and vibrancy. And who better to ensure this than the owner? 

Being hands-on in every aspect of the business – from ensuring the bathroom sparkles to mastering the tools of our trade to being a guiding force in marketing strategies – showcases dedication and instills a sense of pride and accountability in the entire team.

In a world where businesses often chase the next big trend, consistency is the true mark of excellence. 

A consistent commitment to quality, impeccable service, and constantly elevating the standards sets the bar high for the team and the industry.

It’s a belief I hold dearly – that every business, especially one as personal as a salon, should embody the owner’s passion and vision. 

And this can only be achieved when the owner is deeply entrenched in its day-to-day operations, guiding it with a meticulous hand and a heart full of dreams. 

This blend of hands-on involvement and an unyielding pursuit of excellence ensures not just the survival but the thriving success of a business.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work


Embarking on a business venture often feels like a solitary endeavor, but the truth is, it's anything but. 

The road to success is paved with the collaborative efforts of many, and understanding this has been instrumental in my journey.

Early on, I recognized that while my passion and vision were driving forces, I couldn’t possibly excel at every facet of the business. 

Instead of seeing this as a limitation, I viewed it as an opportunity to bring in diverse talents, skills, and perspectives that would enrich the venture. This realization was liberating. 

By hiring experts where I lacked proficiency, not only was I able to ensure top-notch quality in every service we offered, but I was also fostering a culture of mutual respect and collaboration.

This ethos of teamwork goes beyond just the staff. 

Stepping into my salon isn't merely about getting a service done; it's an immersive experience. 

We've cultivated an environment where clients feel the warmth, camaraderie, and sincerity in every interaction. 

They are more than just customers; they are an integral part of our salon family.

Unity and togetherness are not mere buzzwords for us—they are lived values.

 When each member, from the receptionist to the senior stylist, understands and embraces the collective vision, a synergy that propels the business forward is created. 

This cohesive spirit makes daunting challenges surmountable and victories even sweeter.

To all aspiring entrepreneurs, remember this: While your dream may be personal, its realization is a collective effort. 

Surround yourself with a team that shares your passion, complements your strengths, and fills your gaps. 

Because in the end, while the dream might be the seed, it's the teamwork that helps it blossom into reality.

Teamwork and collaboration in a salon business setting

Reflecting on Memorable Moments


Life is a tapestry woven with threads of memories, experiences, and lessons. 

As I sit here today, reminiscing about the various chapters of my journey, some moments shine brighter, leaving an indelible mark on my soul.

I recall the wide-eyed excitement on a young girl's face when I gave her a hairstyle that made her feel confident and beautiful.

 I felt accomplished when the doors to my Buckhead salon opened, realizing a dream I'd held onto for two decades. 

These are the heartwarming stories of clients who've become dear friends, sharing their joys and sorrows over countless styling sessions.

Each of these moments, big or small, has been a cornerstone, shaping my ethos, refining my skills, and deepening my understanding of the world around me.

 They remind me of the profound impact one can have on another's life and the privilege and responsibility that comes with it.


Embracing the Journey

Our lives are a beautiful mosaic of dreams and experiences. 

And while dreams guide our journey, our unyielding commitment, unwavering faith, and the relationships we nurture genuinely define its essence.

Every strand of hair I style and every client I interact with is a testament to the incredible potential of dreams when fused with dedication. 

So, let your dreams be your compass, whether you're taking your first step or are miles into your journey. Nurture them with love, passion, and perseverance.

As the shimmering lights of the Private Label Studios dance around me and I craft another beautiful piece with Private Label hair, I leave you with a thought — Your dreams are the wings on which your heart flies. 

Cherish them, pursue them, and let them guide you to horizons you've never imagined.

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