A huge leap of faith: Local entrepreneur opens Chic Creations
Published 1:52 pm Friday, September 24, 2021
Cam Gilliom was in the middle of a funk. She found herself back home in Oxford and the dream of opening her shop seemed farther and farther away. Gilliom went for a drive around town to clear her head when she saw the sign. The property was going on sale next week and Gilliom knew then and there that she wanted it.
The previous two attempts to open her business storefronts never panned out, but this chance was too great for her to pass up. Although Gilliom had no way to know this would work out, she called on God and took a leap of faith.
Gilliom is now opening Chic Creations, a hair, skin and wig spa, in her hometown. Located at 1903 University Ave., Chic Creations can cater to various beauty needs in the local area such as custom wig units, waxes, makeup, luxury press-on nails and more.
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The start of her business has been a challenge but Gilliom was visibly emotional and overjoyed on the day of her official opening.
“I’m extremely excited,” she said. “The journey has been emotional. I still can’t believe it’s literally happening and I just can’t wait to see what it flourishes into.”
Gilliom was born and raised in Oxford and as a child was exposed to what would become her future business. Her mother, a cosmetologist, owned mannequin heads that she would play with as a child.
As a teen, Gilliom was active and involved in many extracurriculars. She never saw herself making a business out of hair styling until she met her first client in the eighth grade.
“After braiding my teammates’ hair before games, one of the parents asked me if I would braid their hair,” said Gilliom. “I was like, ‘Sure. I’ve never braided anyone’s hair with extensions but I’ll try,’ and that was my first client.”
The first client turned into an opportunity for Gilliom to make money, so she continued to braid hair while working a part-time job and participating in volleyball, basketball, track every year. She also competed in pageants and participated in school clubs and homecoming.
“I feel like I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Gilliom. “I was really crafty at stuff. I remember at 10 or 11, I’d make a whole bunch of key chains and go outside and sell them or in my mom’s shop. Just making a dollar or two and I would use that money if I wanted to go to the store or go skating instead of asking my mom.”
When it was time to attend college, Gilliom still made the effort to continue her business. She attended junior college in Alabama but would drive two and a half hours back home to continue styling hair. Gilliom would return to Mississippi and attend Northwest Community College and then University of Mississippi where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
While attending college, Gilliom became pregnant with her first child. She then decided to focus on braiding hair full time and began selling extensions.
Gilliom said at this point she thought of it as an official business and talked with a cousin about opening a salon together. First, they had to think of a simple, but unique name and they came up with Chic Creations.
“[Chic] means elegantly and stylishly fashionable,” said Gilliom. “You’re thinking of nice, stylish and fashionable hair. It is simple and you can basically put anything under the umbrella.”
Plans for this joint venture fell through when Gilliom married and moved to Grenada in 2016, but she still had the name and was determined to see her store open. Gilliom searched for properties in Grenada and found what she thought was the perfect location in January 2020.
She saved up the money, put down a deposit and gifted herself the storefront on her 29th birthday in June 2020. Upon remodeling, Gilliom was heartbroken to learn that the building had flooding issues that the owner did not disclose to her.
“I was devastated because I gifted it to myself, I saved money, I remodeled and paid rent,” she said. “If everything flooded, I’d close and lose everything I worked hard for.”
Gilliom decided to let the building go and found another location and began remodeling, when she left Grenada and moved back home in March 2021. The move depleted a majority of her savings so when Gilliom saw the sale sign at 1903 University Ave., she was hesitant to take another chance.
“I knew looking at the situation, I probably shouldn’t do it,” said Gilliom. “But I had enough faith and work and I was being pulled to the building. I had to do it because why wait? So, I ended up taking a huge leap of faith.”
Gilliom has already hired stylists and professionals who will occupy booths and provide services under her business and completely furnished her space. Gilliom tried not to focus on everything being completely perfect, but she pushed herself to be ready for the business that she waited a long time for.
“I am definitely, definitely, definitely enjoying the moment,” she said.
For more information on Cam Gilliom and Chic Creations, visit www.thechiccreations.com.