CARY — A born New Yorker and Richmond County native, Ky’ Lockhart, owner of SugarKane Sugaring Spa, LLC, has been chosen as a winner of The American Small Business Championship hosted by SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners, and supported by Sam’s Club, a leading U.S. membership club serving small businesses since 1983.
The Championship awarded the title to 103 small businesses for their dedication to the success of their businesses. The American Small Business Champions will each receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a regional training event, SCORE mentoring for one year and publicity throughout the year.
“We are honored to work with Sam’s Club for the second year in a row to recognize these Champions’ efforts,” said Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE. “Our hope is that winning the American Small Business Championship will help them envision and achieve the next dream for their companies. These Champions embody the passion, determination and drive of America’s small business owners.”
SugarKane earned the title of American Small Business Champion by submitting an online application with a video answering the question: “What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?”
Nominations which garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts that determined 103 winners, including SugarKane.
“I am so grateful to receive this recognition for the obstacles I have overcome as a small business,” Lockhart said. “Thank you to my wonderful mentors, SCORE, my amazing community both locally and online for supporting me and helping me succeed to live out my passion of sugaring.”
Lockhart said she loves being a sugarist.
“I take extreme pride in my work. Your hair is my canvas!” she said. “I pride myself on being gentle, detailed, respresctful and OCD clean. This would not have been possible without God’s favor and you.”
Ten years ago, the spa was a dream. People didn’t know what sugaring was. It was foreign to them. Everyone was familiar with waxing. Sugaring is an ancient Egyptian form of hair removal that is more gentle than waxing and leaves the entire body smooth. Sugaring removes unwanted body hair with a sugar paste.
Trying to educate people about what sugaring is, juggling a day job, not having enough money and clientele to pay for rent made being a business owner extremely exhausting and discouraging, however, Lockhart was committed to making her dream a reality.
Finally, when her contract at work ended she knew it was time to commit and jump out on faith to bring to the world the gentlest form of hair removal, body sugaring. It was the only way to commit to the success of her business to keep her business alive. Even though financially nervous, Lockhart had time to focus on educating people about sugaring and it’s benefits. She invested all of her time and effort in revitalizing the operations, branding, finally getting a confident logo and finding location. She prayed for clients and the right people to help take her business to the next level.
Lockhart also won the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Women-Owned Business Plan Competition in 2015, which she said was a blessing.
However, the challenge was finding a location that met all the requirements by the N.C. Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners and having people understand what sugaring is.
The dream of being a business owner was fading and Lockhart was getting extremely discouraged and feeling defeated — giving up hope. Then her mentor, Lashon Harley, suggested a portable sink since she couldn’t find a space with plumbing. Lockhart asked the state board about the portable sink and they would allow a NSF-certified sink. There were some stressful challenges finding a sink but she found one.
Uncle Bob’s Storage in Cary gave Lockhart a chance and allowed her to lease an office suite. Totally not the norm for a spa/salon but it was a start. The next obstacle was getting the place approved, a logo, marketing and educating people on sugaring.
Today, the business is slowly prospering providing sugaring services to anyone who likes to be hair-free and smooth. She specializes in Brazilians for women and Manscaping, the removal or trimming of hair on a man’s body. Anywhere there is hair it can be bare.
Lockhart said she is “beyond happy” and is proud of her logo, which seemed to hold her back from advertising and feeling confident in her brand. She pushed out her comfort zone with technology and developed her own website, www.sugarkanesugaring.com, and put the business on Yelp, Google and Styleseat, allowing clients to book and pay online.
One hair at a time, Lockhart plans to revolutionize the hair removal industry. Going to SugarKane is an experience with the room filled with lavender essential oils to relax the nerves of the client and free exfoliation gloves.
Lockhart said she is grateful that she persevered through the fear of being successful, the non-traditional location and educating people about body sugaring. In the near future, she plans to give back to the community by partnering with her church, Immanuel Temple Seventh-day Adventist, to do a spa fundraiser for the Pathfinders. She is looking to offer sugaring service to any organization to do a unique kind of fund raising and volunteering.
“Each Champion represents the passion and dedication it takes to own and manage a small business. We saw stories from wide variety of businesses and each one was truly unique and inspiring – from bakery owners to photographers to financial advisors,” said Tracey Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Member Officer for Sam’s Club. “Sam’s Club is committed to helping small business owners overcome obstacles by providing resources and helping them save money and time. We look forward to seeing all of the Champions take their business to the next level so they can grow and realize their dreams.”
SugarKane is also eligible to win an additional $25,000 grand prize by being named Grand Champion. A judging panel of small business experts will select one Grand Champion from the group of Small Business Champions this summer. Selection is based on how effectively champions utilize the Sam’s Club gift card and the SCORE regional training events to grow business revenue, as well as how effectively the winners promoted the Championship in the media and social media.
To learn more about The American Small Business Championship and to view the complete list of Champions, visit www.championship.score.org.
located at 302 Davis Grove Circle, Suite 6014, Cary, can be found online at www.sugarkanesugaring.com and reached by phone at 919-744-4003.