When Tonya Roberds started shampooing hair at her family’s salon at 14-years-old — she never would’ve guessed she’d end up with her own business and an award from the BBB years later.
Roberds was a recipient of the BBB’s 2018 Top 25 Women to Watch List. She owns Dezigns by Tonya, a hair salon in Enon.
She said she received the congratulatory phone call at work — and thought it was a sales call.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was just in shock,” Roberds said. “The girls all started screaming at work because they had nominated me.”
Roberds attended Springfield-Clark JVS for cosmetology, but eventually took a career in another field.
She said she was still flooded with calls to style hair, so she opened a two-station salon in her garage on the side of her house, in addition to her full-time job.
“We just kept getting busier, and we decided to grow and move on,” she said.
Roberds quit her job, and now operates her own salon with a staff of 13 people. One of the women has been with Roberds since the days of her garage salon.
“They’re people that even though you work 40 hours a week with, we still spend a lot of time together on the weekends,” Roberds said. “That says a lot.”
She said she encourages her staff to take advantage of educational opportunities and business ventures of their own.
Glam on the Go, LLC was started by a stylist in Roberds’ salon. A team of stylists travel to do hair and make up for clients’ special occasions.
Roberds said one of her most rewarding moments in her career was when Dezigns by Tonya won Hospice of Dayton’s Top Salon Competition in 2016 — beating out many big name salons in Dayton.
But she said she also still takes a lot of joy in teaching up-and-comers about the career she loves.
“I still just get so excited when I see a young girl walk in who doesn’t know the opportunities that this job has to offer,” she said.
Roberds said this award is an example of different paths to success — a concept she tries to instill in her staff.
She described how sometimes hair stylists get a bad reputation because they didn’t go to college.
“I don’t discourage college by any means, but (not going) doesn’t mean you’re not a smart person,” she said. “I feel like you learn so much when you own businesses.”
Tina Koumoutsos of the Springfield Housing Partnership was also a recipient of the award.