Herod on mentoring, sparking growth and 34 years of business

Published 3:45 pm Monday, August 30, 2021

Spark Sessions, a program founded by local entrepreneur Tammy Herod held the final event in the six-week course on Sunday, August 29.

Spark Sessions is designed to develop and educate budding entrepreneurs in the Oxford community and discussed everything from pitching a business idea to launching an actual business. The theme for Sunday’s event was “Social Media Marketing Tips” with Emily Suber, owner of The Lucky Elephant and designer, leading the lecture.

Herod of Tammy’s Hair Gallery started her business 34 years ago on September 1 and is still going strong. Herod has taken all of her business and entrepreneurship experience and funneled it into mentoring up and coming local entrepreneurs.

Herod started her business at the young age of 19 on September 1. She had just graduated high school and wanted to go to cosmetology school to study makeup. However, cosmetology school offered more lessons on how to style hair than makeup and Herod found a new love.

Both of Herod’s parents had experience in business and that background helped her get started. She initially worked out of her house for six months before transitioning to a salon.

“By the time I was 25, I was making as much money as my mother or more,” said Herod. “I started out slow, worked at McDonald’s and did hair at the same time. Over time, it just got better and better.”

Spark Sessions was Herod’s response to the lack of resources and lack of knowledge talented people in the community have.

“People say they have a business, but they’re not really good at business,” she said. “However, they’re really good at their craft.”

Herod began the Women of Worth and Excellence Market, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of young women in the community through focused education, awareness, entrepreneurship and fellowship. WOWE started as a way to help and mentor young women in college who were looking for guidance.

It started as a one-on-one mentorship but expanded into showcase markets to help sell their products during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the market, Herod realized that there were many inexperienced entrepreneurs who need knowledge to push their businesses forward.

“I had to learn how to be better at business, not be good at fixing hair because anybody can fix hair,” she said. “Not everybody can run a business.”

Herod soon began a precursor to Spark Sessions with professional development classes for business owners to maximize their efficiency.

With the help and recommendation of Wayne Andrews, the executive director of Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, and a acquaintance at Toastmasters, Herod applied for a grant with the Heartland Forward Builders + Backers program and became one of five to win a grant for $5,000.

“[Heartland Forward Builders + Backers] are funding the program and giving me everything I need to make it go forth,” said Herod. “I really want to try and bring some equality for women here in Oxford.”

The first Spark Session event focused on pitching a business idea and subsequent sessions discussed topics such as leadership, business plans, business entities, accounting and personal vs. business credit.

With the help of her partner, Arnold Houston, who assists with research, women from WOWE and a secretary, Herod is running her program smoothly.

Guest speakers like Alexandria White, founder of Alexandria White Consulting LLC., and Lee Ingram, CEO and founder of Collegiate Tutoring, have given lectures and provided attendees with necessary resources to become a better business.

Herod has even secured an agreement with BestBuy allowing them to hold free classes.

“Engagement is what it’s all about,” said Herod. “That came from me being in BestBuy to buy a computer and talking to the right person about what I’m doing. That’s what this whole business life is all about. It’s making the right connections with the right people and talking about your business all the time. You don’t know who’s sitting in the room.”

Herod is continuing Spark Sessions, hoping to extend its reach outside the community and make more connections and make this a profitable business in the future.