Janet Joshua (BSc Economics and Business 2017) has been ambitious from a young age. Despite her academic nature she decided to leave school at the age of 16 to start earning a living and it wasn’t long before her entrepreneurial spirit saw her start her own business and make a mark on the hair and beauty industry.
Whilst working at a leading salon, Janet noticed a niche in the hair and beauty market. “I have Afro Caribbean hair, but I’m from a diverse background as my grandma is White British and no mainstream salon was catering to my hair type. I wanted to change that and that’s where the vision to create ‘Angels Salon’ came from.” Inspired by Janet’s own mixed heritage, Angels Salon specialises in all hair textures and uniquely trains all staff to widen their skillsets by working with all hair types.
As her business went from strength to strength, building up a strong clientele in North London, Janet developed an interest in training up the next generation and providing access to professional opportunities. Janet completed a teaching qualification so she was equipped to pass on her own skills and, now, her main passion is to create career pathways for young people at her salon, helping them to diversify their experience by working with a broad range of clients.
As a successful businesswoman and mother, Janet takes inspiration from those around her. She is motivated each day by the fantastic clients she works with who come from all walks of life and by her brother, an Olympic gold medallist and Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Driven by the determination and passion of those around her, she set out to achieve her own personal goal: getting a university degree.
The traditional university path is often closed to those who left school at 16 but Birkbeck considers every application to study on the merit of the individual, and not just their educational background and Janet began her BSc Business & Economics degree at Birkbeck in 2014. “I felt challenged to want to learn more about the world of business – I was ready to go to uni and get a degree. I chose Birkbeck because I knew I would be surrounded by other mature learners so I didn’t have to worry about feeling out of place”. Janet appreciated the diversity of her classroom – she was surrounded by classmates of all ages and backgrounds – many of whom she keeps in touch with today. Her business continued to go from strength to strength as she juggled her work alongside parenting and her studies.
Janet graduated in 2017, not only gaining a degree but skills which continue to help her to improve her business, from the ability to think critically to taking a more strategic approach to the growth of her business. While reflecting on her studies, Janet feels there is one thing she would have done differently at Birkbeck and she encourages current students to embrace; “I was so used to doing things on my own that I could have made better use of all the resources and facilities that are in place to support students. You are not alone at Birkbeck, you can lean on your lecturers and classmates for guidance and information.”
So, what’s next for Janet? She is working towards expanding her business, opening a second salon in Dubai and she is eager to continue her Birkbeck journey by pursuing a Master’s degree.