Hair stylist 01

Carla Howse gives a haircut to a customer at her Ashland City barber shop, which she opened in 2017.

To say that Carla Howse has a passion for making people look and feel their best would be an understatement.

The owner of Ashland City’s NuFades Barber Shop has a passion to improve her customers’ appearance.

She owned a barber shop in Nashville, then closed it for medical and family reasons She opened the Ashland City location at the end of 2017.

“I was drawn to the profession,” she said. “As a young kid I’ve always had a passion for hair and nursing. I did nursing for 12 years. Then I started school while in my nursing career, and I decided to complete my barbering license.

“I know hair but I didn’t know barbering. So, I decided to do what I didn’t know.”

She attended the International Barber and Style College in Nashville, receiving her Master Barber certification.

“Being in the nursing field, you have a passion for caring and for helping people,” she said. “That same passion rolls over into the barbering world, where I have a passion for servicing, helping and making people feel better. So, as our slogan says: when we look good, we feel good. It all came together.”

Howse, 46, said that there is a great satisfaction that comes with helping people in building confidence through their appearance.

“When I turn a kid around or an adult, no matter the age, to look in the mirror at the desired haircut that they asked for, and I see that smile come on their face or that nod from their head, I know I’ve given the client exactly what they’ve asked for,” Howse said. “So that just makes me feel good inside to know that something articulated about a haircut to me. I did just what they asked, and they feel good about it. They see it, and they look good. I mean it’s just such a gratifying feeling on the inside.”

She said that she has the privilege of building strong, dependable barber-client relationships.

“It’s really caregiving on many levels,” she said. “You need a good, strong bond of trust and genuine caring because clients are vulnerable and trusting. So, I see myself as a therapist, caregiver, friend and an extra ear for listening or shoulder for leaning on.”

She also gives credit to her customers for giving her energy each day.

“I look forward to just having people walking through the door, whether it be five that day or 25,” she said. “My energy is sparked with people coming through the door; and no matter what their energy is, if it’s down spirit or up, before they leave from here, they’re going to leave feeling good.

“I look forward to that and the reviews that people leave. I have a note that says to give us a review of your experience. Out of all of the reviews, not one of them is concerning a bad haircut.”

She said that there have been some unexpected, yet rewarding, surprises along the way.

“What has really surprised me has been the support of the community,” she said. “I am from Nashville and didn’t know anybody here, but I knew there was a need. The community came out, and they supported me. And they continue to show me support. Just last Saturday, I cut hair for a guy who was one of the first to come to the business.

“I was kind of nervous coming into a rural area where the population of Black people or African-Americans were probably about one percent. So, there was a little nervousness, but I am the type of person that I believe in whatever you want to do in this life, just do it. You don’t know if you’re going to fail if you don’t jump and try to succeed.”

She said that one challenge to her current setup is that barbers in Ashland City rarely network.

“We are in dire need for help,” she said. “The business is on my hands right now. People are coming here – I don’t have another barber. I don’t like to see people walk out the door. I try what I can to accommodate. In a day three to five people will walk away because of having to wait and that for me is a potential loss of about $100 a day.

“We’re getting ready to expand the business. So, we definitely need contractors; but right now, we’re just doing it as it comes — one head at a time and not being overwhelmed. We’re not going to rush anyone. We allow time for a full-service haircut. That’s 20 minutes or 25 if a beard is included for giving you your full service.”

Howse said she has customers from Kingston Springs, Pleasant View and even Nashville and Antioch.

She said the most unusual request she has received was for her to shave someone’s chest to prepare for an upcoming surgery. She declined to do the shaving.

She said that most of her customers are men.

“Haircare tips for men include washing because of work, she said. “And then moisturize or condition after washing and drying. For dry hair or scalp, light oil is good to clarify and purify once a week or once every two weeks.”

Howse said she is now happy to call Ashland City her home.

“And remember, when we look good, we feel good, even if you’re in a little funk,” she said.