Jessica Menz-Crenshaw, 27 

Owner and Stylist at La Bella Hair Studio

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST

Jessica Menz-Crenshaw opened La Bella Hair Studio in 2006 when she was just 21. The business not only has kept Richmond looking and feeling exquisite, but also plays a key role in the lives of those who are less fortunate.

“I think we have a lot more than we think we have. Some people really have nothing,” Menz-Crenshaw says of what people can offer to others. “Everybody has resources, even if it’s just volunteering your time,” she says. “In my case, my business is a source to help and encourage others.”

In addition to being a small-business owner, Menz-Crenshaw devotes a portion of her time to youth in her community. Her salon holds Locks of Love events, and she started the Veronica’s Voice Fund when a friend’s child was diagnosed with trisomy 13, a rare and severe chromosome disorder. “Usually the prognosis for this is horrible, but Veronica is turning 5 this year,” she says. “The fund is for people with any kind of chromosome disorder. It takes such a toll on families and it’s hard to find help and people to identify with in these situations.”

Despite a packed schedule, Menz-Crenshaw and her husband served as foster parents for two years. “It was just as much of a blessing to us as it was to the kids,” she says of the experience. “Even if it’s just for a short time, it’s important to give these children some normalcy and love.” The couple just welcomed twins, but foresees opening their home to more children in the future. “We decided to take a break because it’s a little busy right now,” Menz-Crenshaw says, “but it’s something we’ll definitely do again.”

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