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BARTLETT, Tenn.– A Mid-South woman has opened the first natural hair school in the state and the demand couldn’t be higher.

The Institute of Beauty opened June 2, and it already is bring a boost to the Shelby County economy its owner said.

“We didn’t expect it,” said Tamika Turner with a laugh.

Turner was nothing but smiles when WREG’s Shay Arthur spoke with her Wednesday.

The business owner opened the first natural hair school in the Volunteer State.

She said she did it because she saw the need.

“Our goal was to have 20 students. Now we have 24 students and we have 15 students on the waiting list,” she said.

The Institute of Beauty in Bartlett operates at a lower cost than other beauty schools and caters to the working student.

Classes are at night.

Students spend 7 1/2 weeks learning and the other 7 1/2 at a salon, also learning but getting paid.

“So they can earn while they learn,” she said.

“It’s huge because a lot of women are transitioning from relaxed hair to their more natural hair and it is really a big market now,” said student Stephanie Macklin.

Turner said the demand isn’t just here in the Memphis area.

Students come through the door from all over the state.

The owner said the economic impact is so overwhelming she’s looking to open another school by the end of summer.

If you’re interested in the school you can check them out on Facebook under “The Institute of Beauty” or

Their email address is