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Choose Beauty: Jerry Johnson

Alicia Liotta | July 10, 2011 | 6:22 PM

Versatility in Beauty

Choose Beauty: Jerry Johnson

Jerry Johnson, owner of the Peter Hantz Company.

Jerry Johnson, owner of the Peter Hantz Company, has seen many ups and downs in his career. But through it all, his cosmetology license and being a hairdresser has always saved him. After growing up on a chicken ranch and working in gas stations and burger joints, a recommendation from his uncle and a desire for a stable profession led Johnson to enroll in beauty school. His first job was at a small salon in Arizona making $30 a week. From there he landed a job at a salon in a Saks Fifth Avenue store. Nine months later, Johnson was drafted and left for Vietnam.

"When I returned from Vietnam in 1968, I was given the opportunity to train as a helicopter pilot. I decided to go back into the beauty business," says Johnson.

After a couple of years, back in beauty, Johnson opened his own salon. Then, he got involved with a franchise company and ran 35 salons between Arizona and California.

"Unfortunately, the company got into trouble and we had to liquidate everything. At that point I went back to work behind the chair. That's when I knew this license never fails you." 

As he built up his clientele again, Johnson started his own product line, Asazi.

"I was able to make money cutting hair, then I would take time off to teach classes and introduce my products in any school that would let me.

"In the late 1980s, I met Jessica Wolman, my current business partner. Then along came a company that was having a hard time," says Johnson. "When you've been through hard times, you know how to turn it around."

In 1997 Johnson and Wolman bought the Peter Hantz Company. Johnson has since bought 18 schools and is working on developing a software program, called "Premiere," for beauty schools.

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