Hair artist Sutannie (Farquharon) Coleman was born and raised on a small island in Jamaica called Black River, Saint Elizabeth Parish. The island was “real nice,” but sometimes her family struggled.
Coleman’s mother was “a full-on entrepreneur, all the way around,” who hustled and made that money in a salon, as a baker, and as a cook for schools until she became a teacher herself.
“I think my mum tried her hardest to provide a life for us,” Coleman said. Even though the island was small, “I had a lot of people around me.”
Coleman’s life and the culture of most Black River residents revolved around the church. Her two great grandmothers were always praying. Her mom didn’t always attend church, but she made sure her kids went to Sunday service, choir practice, etc. “Whatever faith you go on, make sure you do it like you breathe.”
Coleman is a Christian. “My spirituality comes into play too doing the hair,” she said. “I realize a lot of my clients open up to me, and I will feel something is off when we get [a chance] to talk.”
If she feels something is off, she will drop her comb to pray with them. She will pray “to let God guide me in areas [of prayer], to be sensitive to what they are going through.”
Prayer and braids are the two attributes that distinguish Sutannie’s work, according to the hair artist.
“When you have your own unique touch, it puts you outside of everyone, especially if you really love what you to,” Coleman. “You’re not just doing it just for a hustle.”
Her Slayed by Sutannie studio, since December 2017, can be found at the Evolution Hair and Nail Studio, 6219 Stoney Creek Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Evolution is a full-on, all-in-one studio with a hair stylist up front, a nail tech, and a licensed Esthetician.
“I think I found my little spot. I’m comfortable,” Coleman said of her room doused in authentic Jamaican colors, with “my little island vibe going on.”
Coleman first came to the U.S. back in 1998, moving in with her aunt in Miami, Florida. She had a falling out with her mom, a rough patch she called it. So, Coleman, as sometimes as happens to the oldest, was sent away.
The fifteen-year-old left a multi-verse of tradition and family and friends behind. That got her guard up, especially when her English wasn’t good enough for a bunch of high school kids. “For almost a year, I was quiet,” she said.
She took out all of that frustration on the basketball court, as a power forward and center, positions that benefit from height, thickness, and speak-English anger.
“I was okay,” Coleman said, laughin’, “It wasn’t so bad.” Her aunt told her not to fight because “you’re not from here.” But she always had a temper, “and I got some hands,” Coleman said, again, laughin’.
The kids started to chill out by her Junior year; they also learned she could do braids. Football players would line up during lunch period, just waiting until she finished her lunch. That’s all she did during lunch. Eat quick and do hair.
“I said I never, ever wanted to get into hair. I don’t know what happened. (Laughs.) I grew up seeing my mum work very, very hard,” Coleman said. But she found her hustle.
After graduation, Coleman found a mentor who taught her more about hair than a school program did. After working other jobs (massage therapist, home health aide, auditor), she got back into hair artistry.
A move to Fort Wayne, at the encouragement of her aunt (already here) who felt a change of pace was God’s plan, was researched the week that she and her children left Miami. “The first thing I asked [my aunt] was how far is the beach,” Coleman said.
The hair artist found a chair working with Juanita Henderson at her old Chocolate Kinks and Kurls storefront on State Blvd. Coleman eventually, after a couple of business twists, found her little spot at Evolution Hair and Nail Studio.
She also loves to cook and has catered two events. “But people be people fussing at me because they thought I was going to open a restaurant,” Coleman said. “I can’t do both.” She had to pick one.
Sutannie Coleman, Hair Artist, Slayed by Sutannie | The Evolution Hair and Nail Studio |
6219 Stoney Creek Drive | Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825 |260.580.1770