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20-year-old Carissa Gorrell left college to follow her dreams. Now she owns a salon in Brooklyn.

Radiant Reflections
Posted at 3:09 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 17:52:01-04

Carissa Gorrell graduated from Columbia Central High School just two years ago.

She already owns her own business, Radiant Reflections, a salon in Brooklyn.

Carissa Gorrell

“A lot of people come in and act pretty surprised that I’m only 20 years old. They don’t treat me any differently but I think they kind of get a weird suspicion when they realize I’m only 20,” Gorrell said.

Gorrell went to Spring Arbor University for a semester, studying criminal justice, and then worked doing medical billing and coding. She started Radiant Reflections in November, following her dreams of working in the beauty industry.

I didn’t want to specifically be hands-on doing hair so when I got the opportunity to own and operate a salon, I never looked back

“I didn’t want to specifically be hands-on doing hair so when I got the opportunity to own and operate a salon, I never looked back,” Gorrell said.

Her mom owns Premiere Properties next door. They were tossing ideas around last year to see what Carissa could do.

Radiant Reflections

“I really did not want to be in the hands-on part of it. I actually do like the administrative part of businesses so that’s what made me think owning and operating the tanning side would be the best thing for me,” Gorrell said.

She recognizes some of the struggles that small business owners face, especially when starting from scratch.

"It looks a lot easier than what it is"

“It looks a lot easier than what it is. When it comes to payroll and all of the paperwork and the administrative side of the business. It’s a lot to learn and a lot to know. If I didn’t have the help from my mom and my accountants I definitely wouldn’t know what I was doing,” Gorrell said.

But it's getting easier.

Her doors have been open since March 15. She has a small staff of two cosmetologists but wants to bring on more people.

There have been some hurdles. The former dog grooming spot needed a lot of work to make it into a salon. Even more so with COVID causing logistical issues with construction workers getting the necessary supplies and making it harder to coordinate with Columbia Township officials.

Radiant Reflections

“We ran into a couple of bumps along the way. The floor in this hair salon was actually collapsing so they ended up having to take all of the supports out and redo all of those. And just a lot of small things that we wouldn’t have seen with a blind eye,” Gorrell said.

She credits having her family and her significant other for giving her the encouragement to make her dream become a reality but says she had no apprehensions about starting her business.

My family has been here every step of the way

“My family has been here every step of the way. I have siblings that have been in here painting, putting things together, hanging things up for me. My mom has been here through the whole entire process on the administrative side. My grandparents, my dad, and everyone has been here whether it was lending a hand or giving me words of encouragement,” Gorrell said.

Radiant Reflections

Radiant Reflections is open 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

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