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Wind River Entrepreneur Starts Salon With Help From Start-Up Challenge

Wind River Start Up Challenge

The Wind River Start-Up Challenge is an annual program that provides seed money, mentorship and workshops for budding entrepreneurs on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The start-up challenge is funded through Wyoming's EPSCoR though the National Science Foundation. This year has seen business pitches for food trailers, construction companies, and data management.

Stephanie C'Hair was one of the finalists last year, and she now owns Wildflower Salon inside the Wind River Casino. C'Hair has had her cosmetology license since 2017 and was initially nervous about applying. But being unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic pushed her to try.

Credit Taylar Dawn Stagner
Wildflower Salon January 2021

"When I went to the first meeting there had to be like 30 to 40 people at the turn out and everybody had really good ideas," C'Hair said. "I was a little intimidated. I didn't think they would want to fund a salon on the reservation. But last minute I was like, 'what could it hurt?'"

C'Hair has been encouraging her clients to also apply for the Wind River StartUp Challenge. She said the worst thing they can say is no.

She is now looking at diversifying so she can have more sources of income.

"I eventually wanna get not only this but I want to establish my own clothing line and I'm currently working on my own lash line. So I have other means to fall back on," C'Hair said.

C'Hair said her daughters helped her name the salon.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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