Jessica Scortt The Self-ish Society
Jessica Scortt, Founder of The Self-ish Society. (Credit: Courtesy of The Self-ish Society)

Jessica Scortt is on a mission to show life-changing love to her East Oakland, California community. Through her nonprofit organization, The Self-ish Society, Scortt provides a range of services for Black women that focus on all aspects of self-care, all from her own brick-and-mortar establishment. Scortt was inspired by the atmosphere and community found in barbershops and hair salons across the country – and wanted to expand beyond offering listening ears and new hairstyles. Today, The Self-ish Society boasts a full-service hair and nail salon, as well as mental health services, case management assistance, massage therapy, and a host of community-engaging activities. Scortt believes no one should have to pick and choose what sort of healing they can afford. “We deserve the opportunity and resources to invest in the best version of ourselves,” she adds.

Editor’s Note: The Self-ish Society has been named to The Story Exchange’s 2024 list of 10 Brilliant Business Ideas.

How is your business different from others in your industry?

My background in social services and cosmetology has given me unique insights into the authentic connection between the two entities. As a stylist with access to mental health knowledge and resources, I can connect my clients with what they need, all while they are in my chair. I have been able to connect over 100 customers to housing, employment and other beneficial partnerships. Our business model allows organizations, entrepreneurs, and community members from various backgrounds to uniquely lift up one another.

Tell us about your biggest success so far. 

Creating a space that lets entrepreneurs and community members create freely. Success is doing what you love in a way that is sustainable, and that helps others.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?

Our overhead cost keeps us from scaling up in the ways I would like to. 

Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?

I am a primary caretaker for my parents, so my bandwidth is limited.

What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs? 

Have a solid team in place to balance programming and budget before starting up. And, don’t be afraid to reach out to investors. 

How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?

I remember who I am helping. 

What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days?

“Believe” by Blessing Offer.

Who is your most important role model?

Jesus. He lived a life of character and generosity. ◼

Instagram: @theselfishsociety

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