Heather King (right) and Susan Terry are pictured outside Bee Flawless on Main Street in Oneida.

Before she graduated high school — long before she had a salon of her own, Heather King knew she wanted to be a beautician. Society often speaks of those who follow in their father’s footsteps, but King followed in her mother’s footsteps.

King’s mother, Donna Jones, was a hairdresser. So, by the time she was in high school, King was cutting hair, as well. And when it came time to find a full-time job, a beauty shop just seemed like a natural fit.

That was almost two decades ago. Today, Bee Flawless — the Main Street salon that King owns and operates — has established itself among Oneida’s beauty shops.

Before there was Bee Flawless, however, there was Heather’s Beauty Shop. King opened it out of the garage of the home that she and her husband, Chad, live in on Big Ridge Road. But, eventually, it just made more sense to move the shop to town. And Bee Flawless was born.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” King said. “I started Heather’s Beauty Shop in 2002 and worked by myself for years. Eventually, though, I hired a few girls and we kinda outgrew the garage.”

Heather and Chad purchased a building on Main Street — “my little 11 ft. by 80 ft. building,” she calls it — and set about the task of remodeling it, turning the building into a salon. That was in 2015, and the process of remaking the property into a beauty shop took two years. The process could’ve been quicker, King acknowledges, but she wanted to start out at her new location debt-free. And, with some hard work and patience, that’s exactly what she did.

“Chad has stood by my side during all this mess of construction and repairs,” King said.

King acknowledges that it was “a little bit daunting” to open a new shop on Main Street. Over the years, commerce has shifted away from the once-bustling Main Street area. Would the clients come to old downtown? It stood to reason that they would.

“They drove all the way down to Big Ridge Road for me and Susan (Terry) so it wasn’t that big a deal,” she said.

While King’s mother influenced her decision to become a beautician, it’s her father’s fingerprints that are on Bee Flawless. With the move from Big Ridge to town came the need for a new name. Her father, Roy Jones, is a longtime beekeeper, right down to farming the honey from the hives. “He said to name it Bee Flawless, after the bees, because they’re always working,” she said.

In a sense, the old mantra of busy-as-a-bee applied beyond the beauty shop. In the early days of Bee Flawless, King also worked at Jones & Son and West-Murley funeral homes. The job was full-time, after which she would head to the shop and work until as late as midnight. She eventually moved to the shop full-time, but has continued her education and is set to take her state boards to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer.

Along the way, the Kings suffered a major setback. While working with a utilities crew in hurricane-torn Puerto Rico in early 2018, Chad became sick with the flu. Meningitis followed, and by the time his wife was able to rally enough support to get him out of the country and stateside for better treatment, he was critically ill. 

Over the four months that followed, King stayed by her husband’s side at the hospital in Nashville, while Terry — who has been with King for about four years — kept Bee Flawless up and running. She also recently took some time off to recover from shoulder surgery, her fourth such operation, which she attributes to years of cutting hair.

“Susan has been a trooper through all of this, including the construction of the building,” King said.

Chad continues his long journey to recovery, while Heather manages the family — the Kings have two sons, Luis and Isaac — and the shop.

Bee Flawless has grown to include three stylists — in addition to King and Terry, there’s Haley Carson — and offers makeup and pedicures, in addition to hair. King said she’s always looking for ways to grow, and the shop will soon offer a brow bar, with brow-tinting and waxing. The shop is currently looking for an additional stylist, and is always accepting new clients.

“We are growing pretty fast,” King said, attributing the growth to a combination of advertising and word-of-mouth.

There are dozens of beauty shops throughout Scott County — and it’s not just a Scott County thing. “If you go to Knoxville, they’re on every corner,” King said. So, in such a crowded market, how does Bee Flawless standing out? 

“I think it’s the people who work here,” King said. “Also, most salons don’t offer pedicures, which we do. And hopefully soon we’ll have someone doing nails.” 

The work is rewarding, King said, “especially when people smile when they see their hair.” 

As Bee Flawless grows, King said walk-ins are still accepted, while appointments are sometimes booked a week or so in advance, particularly around the first of the month. But, she said, “we do our best to get everybody in. For a guy’s haircut, especially, we can work them in pretty easy.”

This article is the May 2019 installment of Business Spotlight, presented on the third week of each month by the Scott County Chamber of Commerce as part of the Independent Herald's Back Page Features series. A print version of this article can be found on Page B8 of the May 16, 2019 edition of the Independent Herald.