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Sullins' leap of faith in moving to county pays off
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Hairstylist Stephanie Sullins has been a Rock Island resident since January 2018.

Stephanie Sullins, the new hair stylist at Ross and Company barber shop in downtown McMinnville, moved to Rock Island from Hermitage in January 2018, despite not really knowing anybody in Warren County. 

According to Sullins, she wanted to experience the country life and get away from the hustle and bustle of East Nashville. Having left a career in finance several years ago to pursue her childhood dream of cutting hair, Sullins is now delighted with her current situation: doing what she loves in a place she loves.

Sullins grew up in Sumner County and attended schools in Gallatin. As a child, she spent a lot of weekends with her grandparents, who resided in the Goodlettsville/ Miller-sville area. On Saturdays, she would accompany her grandmother to the beauty parlor and watch her get her hair done. Sullins got the idea she might want to be a hair stylist herself one day.

Following her graduation from Gallatin High School, though, Sullins took a different path. She got a job working at a factory called Salga Plastics, and she got married and had a son. She then switched over to working for a small loan outfit, continued working in the field of finance, and eventually headed up the accounts receivable department for Griffin Technology in Nashville. She realized early on that she had aptitude in working with money, mathematics, and spreadsheets. “Numbers just kind of worked for me,” she says.

After many years crunching numbers for a living, Sullins decided to explore the possibility of making a career change. While watching a film (“Thanks for Sharing”) in which the singer and actress Pink, in one scene, gave a man a shave in a barber shop, Sullins felt the old, familiar cosmetology stirrings and told herself she wanted to be doing what Pink was doing.

Sullins then started observing and interviewing hair stylists to make sure cutting hair was going to be for her. While doing so, she received a helpful piece of information from her stylist and friend, Jennifer: “People come to you for who you are, not necessarily for how you do their hair.” Sullins grasped the significance of that truism and realized her gregarious personality would make her a good fit in the world of styling, where clients come for the environment, conversation, and engagement as much as for the alterations.

Subsequently, Sullins began studying at Regency Beauty Institute and eventually left her day job at Griffin. Upon graduating from Regency, she honed her skills at a Regis salon in Nashville and then at Lady Jane’s in Murfreesboro for two and a half years.

When Sullins moved to Warren County in 2018, she was still working at Lady Jane’s. She also moonlighted as a server on Saturday nights at Foglight Foodhouse in Rock Island. On one such night recently, a fellow server learned Sullins cut hair and put her in touch with Christy Ross, proprietor of Ross and Company and a follicular master.

Sullins started work there in March. She says that she, stylist Kasi Wood, and Ross make a good team.

When not cutting hair or working Saturday nights at the Foglight, Sullins enjoys hiking at area parks including Rock Island, Burgess Falls, Fall Creek Falls, and Cummins Falls. She says hiking in nature (without telephone service or distractions), and saying hello to friendly folks crossing her path, is a way of rejuvenating herself and “putting the world on pause.”

Sullins shares her Rock Island home with five dogs, two chinchillas, a rabbit, and a cat. In her downtime, she likes to read John Grisham books and watch psychological thrillers like “The Sixth Sense” and “Shutter Island” on Netflix. One of her favorite films, one that she can watch again and again, is “The Pelican Brief.”

Says the happy-go-lucky Sullins, “I’ve had a lot of curveballs thrown at me, and I’ve just learned to bounce back.”