EAST SIDE: WARREN-CONNER
East side Detroit barber Tina Sanusi turned struggle into success.
The Detroit newspapers strike in 1995 left her without work at a time when she was divorced and raising four children. She turned her attention to a talent she had shown since she was a teenager: doing hair. She already had a cosmetology license.
“When the strike came, I was trying to figure out how can I make the same kind of money. And so, I went back to school and became a barber,” said Sanusi, who had been a material handler for the Detroit Newspaper Agency.
She opened her shop, Another Level, almost 20 years ago.
“A business opportunity came when an abandoned shop located at 17826 East Warren became available and I took the chance,” Sanusi, 58, said.
It turned out to be a smart move.
“The shop is beneficial enough for me to be able to make a living and take care of myself,” she said. “I am able to say I am successful because work is steady, and I need another stylist.”
One of her long-time customers also took a chance on her when she was working at Mo Better Cuts, also on East Warren, where she was the only female barber.
“While others were waiting on the men barbers to cut their hair, I was in a hurry, so I sat in her chair. She cut my hair and I’ve been going to her since then,” said Yunnas Tony Harrison, 51, of Roseville. “Tina also braids my daughter’s hair. Tina is very talented woman and she has skills, runs a tight business and I’m very proud of her.”
Sanusi, also puts her talent into community service. Among other things she gives free haircuts and school supplies for a back-to-school program run by the church next door, By Faith Outreach Ministries located at 17820 E. Warren Ave.
“It means a lot to our church congregation that Tina offers free hair cuts and donates school supplies and her time to our annual back-to-school event every year for the past five years,” Pastor Claudia Finley said.
Sanusi describes her Christian owned and operated shop as a comfortable, caring place, often filled with lively conversation about the latest movies, politics and the news.
She says Detroit stylists have a national reputation for excellence.
“When I go out of town on trips with family or to hair conventions, people will say, ‘Oh my God, your hair is so nice; you must be from Detroit’. Detroit is recognized for our colors and styles”.
Sanusi’s motto incorporates the name of her salon.
“If you’re not taken by your style, you should be taking it to Another Level.”