Program Feeding Small Business Success


“I thought about being a lawyer, running a restaurant, all kinds of things” says D. Ebony Brown, instructor of the successful Hair Braiding and Weaving program at YOUR Eastern Shore Community College, “but my true passions are in beauty and business.” 

In 2008 at ESCC Ebony earned a career studies certificate in Small Business Management and never looked back as she began her journey of being a successful local businesswoman on the Shore. 

She came full circle, returning to ESCC with her own curriculum for hair braiding and weaving in 2014, where she says “we are closing in on nearly 100 students having come through our program, quite a few of whom are running their own successful businesses.” 

“I loved the class!” said Elette Philippi, a native of Haiti who has lived on the Shore for 11 years. “Ms. Ebony takes time with each student to make sure we understand all of the techniques.” Elette is currently working with her uncle’s fashion business, but looks forward to venturing into her own business soon. 

Recent student Katlyn Holloway is grateful for the opportunity to learn. “Ebony’s class at ESCC is so much more accessible to students who are working.” An Arcadia High School graduate, Katlyn attended Liberty University but found it to be more expensive and time consuming than she could afford, so she enrolled in ESCC’s Hair Braiding and Weaving class. Katlyn adds, “I am only three classes away from earning my associate degree in business management, and I’m working to complete those at ESCC this summer.” 

Ebony Brown, Katlyn Holloway, and Lokisha Boggs

Lokisha Boggs, another former student of Ebony’s, said, “In addition to the hair braiding skills Ebony teaches, you receive great guidance and hands on experience for starting your own business.” Ebony’s course prepared Lokisha to open “Boggs’ Beauty” in Melfa two years ago. 

Lokisha has taken advantage of ESCC’s programs that lead directly to work more than once. She said, “ESCC has been a constant in my life. I also completed the nurse aide program and earned my certification and now work with a local agency and also private care.” 

Like Lokisha, Ebony is pursuing multiple opportunities. In addition to teaching at ESCC, Ebony owns and operates the Eastern Shore Academy of Cosmetology featuring three different programs, (Cosmetology, Barbering, and Nails) and is also publishing her first book this spring, titled “7 Key Components to Establish or Expand your Beauty Business”. 

According to ESCC vice president Dr. Patrick Tompkins Hair Braiding and Weaving and business programs provide a practical path for aspiring entrepreneurs on the Shore. Tompkins said, “It’s 

all rooted in our YES! culture of service and opportunity. Ebony’s program is a shining example of how that works.” 

Tompkins added, “Bring your dream to ESCC—we can help.” 

More details on the class are available by calling 757-789-7979 or emailing

The next session of Hair Braiding and Weaving begins on September 12th at Workforce Development Services.