Graduate from New Kent State Geauga and Twinsburg Academic Center PMTS Partnership Pursues Business Venture

Alumna Spotlight on Lanetta Rucker

Hands-on training is essential for anyone pursuing a career in cosmetology. But when your goal is to leverage those skills to open a business of your own, the ability to do hair and nails is not quite enough. That’s what Lanetta Rucker realized.

“So, when I saw you could get an associate’s degree focused on business courses, I figured that was the little ‘something extra’ I needed,’ she says. “It’s good to have something special under your belt when you want to open your own beauty supply store.”

Lanetta Rucker
Rucker graduated from Paul Mitchell the School Cleveland (PMTS) with her cosmetology license in 2018, then earned her Associate of Technical Study degree from Twinsburg Academic Center (TAC) in Fall 2020. She was one of the first graduates to benefit from the partnership between PMTS and TAC, both located in Twinsburg.

Launched in 2019, this agreement between the two local institutions of higher learning gives graduates from PMTS Cleveland’s cosmetology program a cutting edge when they pursue business management and ownership. Future professionals can gain their cosmetology license from the state of Ohio after completing 1,500 hours of education and training at PMTS Cleveland. Then they can apply their earned credits toward an Associate of Technical Study degree at any Kent State regional campus. By working together, PMTS and Kent State Geauga create enhanced opportunities for their students… including graduates like Lanetta Rucker.

“I’ve been doing hair since I was 12,” she recalls. “When my mom passed, I just started to try things and styles on my hair and I have two other sisters who let me experiment and keep their hair nice, as well.”

At PMTS, Rucker perfected her cosmetology skills and earned her license so she can work from her home station as she raises her growing family. She loves being a stylist because of “the feeling of making someone happy. Your hair says a lot about you and I get that opportunity to make someone feel pretty or special and that makes me happy.”

But this is just one step along Rucker’s projected career path.

When she learned that PMTS graduates could benefit from the best of both worlds — a solid technical foundation combined with an associate’s degree — she recognized this was the ideal next step to achieve her entrepreneurial goal. What she didn’t anticipate was that she would be pursuing her degree in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, having a new baby, and home-schooling her older child.

“It was the best time and the worst time to do this during COVID,” Rucker laughs. “But my husband supported me after he got home from work so I could close the door and get my work done. I fit it in when I could.”

Along the way, Rucker started putting business theory into practice. She has already procured her business license for Bella Roots, LLC and is on the lookout for its perfect future location in the Twinsburg-Macedonia area to serve the diverse population with beauty supplies so they won’t have to travel out of town to find what they need.

As part of the start-up process, she recently was required to create and submit a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.

“No problem!” she says. “I had that class.”

Reflecting on her two-tiered educational background, Rucker says, “Hands-on is good for me. But my hands-on training won’t help me get my store open. Adding the knowledge keeps me ahead.”

POSTED: Monday, May 10, 2021 - 9:08am
UPDATED: Monday, May 10, 2021 - 9:08am
Estelle R. Brown