Shanna Johnson

Where do you live?
I live on Rt. 15 in Fluvanna County.
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I was born here. After spending some of my childhood in Buckingham, I came back to Fluvanna in fifth grade and have been here ever since.
Tell us about your work.
I am the owner of Cuts N Candy, a children’s hair salon located in the Piedmont Village Plaza by CVS. We’re the home of the Lollipop Chop! All our names are fun for the kids, with some kind of candy name to it, like the Butterscotch Blow Dry. We do birthday parties, spa services, body art, hair feathers, and more. When I do haircuts, I give each kid a token. When they’re done, they put it in a box and choose a free prize.
We opened last October, though we’ve been in the building for a year this August. When we hit the year mark, things really took off. A few weeks ago we had all the back-to-school kids, and now we’re getting the ones from Albemarle. It’s exciting.
Tell us about your family.
I have two daughters and a son. My 14-year-old daughter is very outspoken (like her mother), and she runs track. My 12-year-old son is probably about as cocky as they get, though if you speak to his football coaches, they’ll say it’s “sportsmanship.” My 10-year-old daughter is just starting to take band lessons for clarinet. I used to play clarinet so I’ve been able to teach her. Also, my sister lives with me during college breaks. There’s never a dull moment with them.
My aunt, Jacqueline Newton, is the brains behind Cuts N Candy and has been a major help throughout the process of opening and running the business. My extended family has always been a strong support team.
Tell us about a hobby you have.
Work and family are my life right now. Once you become a mom you don’t really have a life outside of that! Before I was a mom I did a lot of reading. Though I have to say, I can bargain shop very well. It goes back to the kids – once you have three kids you have to bargain shop.
Describe one of the highlights of your life.
Opening up the shop was one of the greatest highlights of my life. I did everything on faith. When I opened I had a negative bank account, I had nothing to even put in the shop – all I had was a business plan.
I used to do hair for adult clients, but you get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. When we have a talent we take it for granted. I went back to school for two years and got my associates in accounting, but I didn’t like that either. So I started working at Snip-Its in Forest Lakes (another children’s salon). As soon as I went there I knew I wanted to open a salon of my own and work with children. Fluvanna didn’t have anything like that, so what better area to do that in?
Describe one of the biggest surprises of your life.
Finding out I was pregnant for the first time was a very big surprise! I saw normal babies all around me and had nightmares that she would be unhealthy – or look like an alien! I don’t know why, I just had that fear. It was a big part of my pregnancy. But when she came out she looked like a little doll baby – in fact, she still does. She was beautiful.
Describe one of the tragedies/struggles of your life.
About two years ago now my grandmother passed away from cancer. My children and I would get off of work or school and go over to Buckingham with my mom and other members of the family to take care of her. When she passed away it was the hardest time. She died a few hours before her 81st birthday.
I miss everything about her. She was hilarious. A few days before she died she played this trick on us. She was in her last days, going in and out, and having good days and bad days. Well, it was a bad day, and when we went over to see her she wanted to sit up and go into the kitchen. All of a sudden she faked like she was blind. She sat up and said, “I can’t see a thing!” My mom was getting ready to cry, my aunt got the nurse on the phone, only come to find out my grandmother had winked at my mom’s friend before she did it.
When she lost all the weight during chemo she didn’t worry about looking sick. She thought she looked good in her skinny jeans. I still remember her with her leather jacket, stopping with her cane and telling me to look at how good she looked in her skinny jeans. She was outgoing, strong, willing to fight through anything.
Describe a dream you have for your future.
My big dream is to make this salon a franchise, to open up more in Virginia. I’ll start small and go big. Depending on how quickly things pick up, I’d like to open another salon within the next three years.
Describe a fear you have for your future.
I fear that if things don’t work out, I will have to start over and figure out what my next move will be.
Here’s your chance to sound off. If you could give one public service announcement/word of advice to the public at large, what would it be?
I think of myself opening up the shop with nothing. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There is always a way to do it. If you step out in faith and follow your dreams you’ll have a better chance, rather than sitting back and listening to those who tell you that you can’t. And always remember to have fun!

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