Side hustle to business: A students’ wig business lands her a celebrity client

By Amethyst Martinez

Hairstyling has been a part of senior criminal justice major Aletta Behyee’s life ever since she was young.

“I am African, so from a very young age, we are taught how to do hair. I’ve been doing hair since I was 6, and it’s just grown into a passion,” said Behyee.

Behyee now runs her own business, Hair by Aletta, where she customizes wigs for her clients. Although she just began her business in 2021, Behyee has been doing hair for customers since middle school when she decided to make it a “side hustle,” she said.

Social media has taken Behyee’s business to new heights, where she posts the wigs she makes on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. However, the short clips Behyee posts on TikTok have boosted her business the most, reaching millions of viewers.

“TikTok is a whole different ballgame,” said Behyee.

Her wigs even caught the attention of a celebrity and her stylist.

JT, a singer in the popular rap duo City Girls, reached out to Behyee for a custom wig after her hairstylist, who was looking for wig makers on their Instagram story, received a response from Behyee with some of her work.

“She [direct messaged] me like, ‘oh my god, JT really likes this wig,’” said Behyee.

When the stylist asked if Behyee had the wig on hand, she responded ‘no’. It seemed like her chance to create a wig for JT was lost when the stylist said that they needed it that day.

Behyee said, “I think 20 minutes went by, and they hit me up again [saying], ‘can you make this color?’”

Behyee said yes, then drove the wig up to New York after spending the entire night making the custom hairpiece.

“I drove up to New York the next day after zero hours of sleep to drop the wig off,” said Behyee.

Although Behyee didn’t meet JT the first time she made a wig for her, she did when she made a second wig for her after some adjustments to the sizing of the original.

After dropping the wig off, Behyee took in the moment with her cousin who drove up with her.

“We sat in the car for an hour just crying,” said Behyee. “We used to work in high school and take clients in my room. … I was just like, ‘wow, I don’t know who else to celebrate this moment with but you.’ It just ended up working out.”

With her business booming, Behyee still attends Rider as a full-time student.

As she showed her dorm room through a Zoom call with The Rider News, she recollected that she called her room last semester a hair salon. Behyee is now trying not to bring all of her wig supplies back on campus.

“There’s so much stuff that I have to carry back and forth. … I’m going to try my hardest to only work on weekends and not during the week,” said Behyee.

Nenleah Konah, Behyees’ cousin, is in awe of the hard work that Behyee does while attending school.

“I feel like it’s a great accomplishment for her. And for my other little cousins, I feel like they look up to her as well, because she’s going to school and she’s also still running a business too,” said Konah. “To see her blossom up to 23 this year has just been marvelous.”

As of Feb. 1, Behyee’s TikTok depicting JT’s wig had almost 2 million views on the app.

“I went from having 200 followers to having 7,000 overnight,” said Behyee. “I always say I think I’m famous, like, jokingly, and I only had 100 followers. So I guess you have to speak it into existence.”

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