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Humble start & beautiful plans: Cosmetology school, youth foundation part of larger effort

LAPLACE — Jade Booker grew up in a single-parent, low-income household with dreams of overcoming her financial situation to lead a happy and successful life.

Growing tired of living paycheck-to-paycheck, Booker decided 2017 was the year to create a foundation for a brighter future for herself and her two young children, Trinity, 7, and Tahj, 11 months.

She’s inviting the community to attend a launch brunch for her new business, Crown’s Corporation JB, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Bot’s Place, located at 2810 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace.

Through the corporation, Booker plans to open a cosmetology school complete with a beauty supply store, childcare center for students and faculty and a cafe that will be located on campus and open to the public.

Jade Booker poses with her Beauty College diploma.

Aside from networking and enjoying food, drinks and music, brunch guests will also learn about Booker’s Crowns On, Cuffs Off (COCO) Foundation providing guidance and activities for youth in low-income households.

Booker’s business launch is the culmination of months of research and meetings with business professionals.

However, her inspiration behind Crowns Beauty Academy and the COCO Foundation started long ago.

Starting at age 10, Booker learned the ins and outs of hair styling, and she took on her first clients at age 14. Today, she’s a licensed cosmetologist and instructor with more than 10 years of experience.

She decided to combine her cosmetology expertise, teaching passion and desire to be an entrepreneur to foster a business start-up after seeing a need in greater New Orleans.

“I realized that here in Louisiana, the cosmetology course is not taught in its entirety,” Booker said. “Cosmetology consists of hair care, barbering, minus shaving, skin care, nail care and the basics of salon marketing and management, but schools in the New Orleans area focus completely on hair care.”

Booker said her cosmetology school will teach the entire course, allowing students to move into the professional field with greater experience and flexibility.

Jade Booker, right, stands with her client, Harlee De’Luca. Booker has more than 10 years of experience in hair care, having started taking clients at age 14.

As a Marrero native, Booker decided to build her business in LaPlace because of its reputation as expanding and hospitable.

“LaPlace is growing, and I see opportunity here,” Booker said. “All the people I’ve met down here seem welcoming. There’s a small town feeling. Everybody knows everybody, and everybody is willing to help.”

Crowns Corporation JB is in the fundraising stage, Booker said. She’s working to raise $50,000 to present to a lender so she can lease a building and pay for fixed expenses such as utilities, rent, inventory, insurance and salaries.

Donations are welcome at the launch brunch. Supporters may also download the Venmo app to send secure donations to Booker by accessing her profile, @jade-booker.

There is a lot of fundraising and work to be done, but Booker’s business advisor Natalee Theriot believes the goal is within reach.

Jade Booker smiles with her mother, Fannie.

Theriot first met Booker through a hair appointment and was impressed by her promptness and professionalism.

Through the years, the two have remained friends, and she’s seen Booker’s dedication through regular business meetings.

“If she says she’s going to do something, she’s going to get it done,” Theriot said.

“She has tunnel vision when it comes to that and is very focused on accomplishing her goals by any means necessary. If anyone can do this, it would be her because of her drive and determination.”

Booker’s hope is to open her cosmetology school prior to 2021 and continue investing profits back into the community.

Though the COCO Foundation is still in its planning stages, Booker wants to host local activities such as basketball tournaments, bingo nights, movie nights, talent shows and art shows for local youth to shine a light of positivity on young people in disadvantaged situations.

The cause is close to her heart because she recognizes herself in the youth and wants to encourage others to follow her lead and “challenge the impossible.”

For more information, call Booker at 504-446-0190, like Crowns Corporation JB on Facebook or visit crownscorporation.wordpress.com.