“I love what I do; I always have,” she said. “This is my first love, so I’ll always put in 100%.”
STS + Accessories, formerly known as Styles the Salon, specializes in cuts, color and hair weaving as well as natural hair treatments for black customers. Edwards can also make, wash and style wigs and toupees, she said.
“The most rewarding part of my job is making [my clients] feel and look their best,” she said.
As a young girl in West Texas, Edwards knew she was destined for the beauty industry. In the mid-1980s, she moved to Dallas to attend cosmetology school.
“I was always the friend who fixed hair or fixed makeup,” she said. “[Becoming a hairstylist] was just a given.”
Edwards built a loyal following of clients at Dallas-area salons before opening her own business on Plano Road in 1995. Around that same time, she obtained a cosmetology teaching certificate. Over the years, Edwards has partnered with Richardson ISD to give aspiring cosmetologists hands-on experience.
“I’ve mentored a lot of kids,” she said.
Following the financial crisis of 2008, Edwards made the conservative decision to downgrade to a smaller space on McKinney Street. Despite economic hardships, she said her clients stuck with her.
“I still kept my customers, even though most of them were Corporate America—we made it through,” she said.
Black hair has a greater range of texture than Caucasian hair, Edwards said, and techniques are always changing. As a business woman, Edwards said it is important to stay on the cutting edge of the industry.
“I’m very much into education, so I definitely keep up with the trends,” she said.
Mainstream acceptance of natural hairstyles has driven demand for afros and dreadlocks in recent years, Edwards said. Chemical straightening treatments have since become less popular, she added.
In 2003, Edwards opened the adjoining beauty center, which includes wigs and hair styling products. Around 2015, she added the Paparazzi jewelry line.
“With the beauty industry, you want it to be a one-stop shop,” she said.
Dallas County called for salons and barbershops to close in mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus. Support from her clients, many of whom offered to pay for services in advance, is what got Edwards through the three months she was out of work, she said.
“I’d do anything for my clients, and they know that,” she said. “They returned the favor.”
The halt in activity was especially hard on Edwards, who described herself as a people person.
“It’s been so hard not to hug or shake people's hands,” she said.
But after more than 30 years of doing hair, Edwards is confident she can weather any storm.
“I’m a stable business,” she said. “You come in for a certain service, and you know that I am reliable and that you will receive the best that I can give you.”