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On Dec. 14, 2018, Marlene Brooks’ dream came true. The veteran stylist and Detroit salon owner set a course to help aspiring beauticians fulfill their own dreams. With the help of Motor City Match, Brooks opened Dymond Designs Beauty School, located at 3300 E. Jefferson St. in the Harbortown Center. It is both a full-service salon and cosmetology school providing certification and job placement to existing and aspiring beauticians.

Brooks’ existing Dymond Designs beauty studio is close by, and on any given day you can find her running between both businesses. To open her second location, Brooks took full advantage of the resources available through Motor City Match; she was a Round 7 Space winner, Round 10 Design winner, and Round 11 Cash winner, receiving $65,000 to start the school.

Earlier this week, Dymond Designs Beauty School graduated its first class of certified stylists at the eastern campus of Wayne County Community College. An audience brimming with family, friends and dignitaries including District 5 Manager Melia Howard cheered the 25-member graduating class as they received their certifications. Twenty-one of the graduates are city of Detroit residents.

As part of the program, Brooks works with other salon owners in the city to place her students for immediate employment. In fact, Brooks intends to hire some of the graduates in her own stores. Benita Taylor is one of those lucky hires; she was able to attend Dymond Designs Beauty School thanks to a grant.

“My esthetics diploma is going to change my life and I got to do it for free,” said Taylor. “Don’t give up on yourself just because you are in poverty. I am still in poverty, but I’m climbing out. I’m not going to remain here.”

Brooks’ curriculum is designed to provide each student a strong foundation in the beauty industry through hands-on and classroom training in cosmetology, esthetics, manicuring and natural hair cultivation. She offers refresher classes as well as instructor courses and medical hair replacement training. Brooks said an important part of the education goes well beyond salon techniques, including work ethic, professionalism, communication skills and business management.

Everyone associated with the Motor City Match program thanks Brooks and her staff for embodying the mission of the program. Not only is Dymond Designs Beauty School creating jobs for Brooks and her team, it is developing a new generation of entrepreneurs that can build wealth in their own communities. The impact of Brooks will resonate beyond the walls of her salon as this success story acts as a multiplier in Detroit’s small business ecosystem.