What do rescue cats, a sought-after Airstream, a pandemic, a new baby, and a hairdresser have in common? Perhaps something a Little Wild.
Oakland Park resident Jesse Johnson, an experienced hair stylist, unexpectedly found her new calling. An avid cat rescuer, during hurricane Irma she found herself worried about not only her home and family, but rescue cats as well. That worry sparked an idea to renovate a school bus with the intention of being able to evacuate all of her family and fur friends.
Jesse shared the idea with her sister, who then told her she had an old trailer on her property in Maryland. If she would come and get it, it would be all hers. With the help of her partner Mike, it was soon home in Oakland Park.
It was no small feat. The trailer was in disrepair and needed a complete overhaul. Jesse, who recently had a baby, also suffers from a medical condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and was not able to be as involved with that process as she would have liked. “Mike would ask me to hold something while he screwed it in, and I physically couldn’t do it,” she explained.
Jesse stated Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) affects the skin and tendons, making some of the easiest motions difficult. “It was a long process, Mike would come home from work every day and get right to work to finish it”, Jesse added.
Then the pandemic struck. Jesse, working at a salon, found herself at a crossroads. Not only was she a new mom, she now found herself at the mercy of a closed salon. That’s when the new idea for the trailer took form. If she used the trailer as a mobile salon, she could schedule clients around the baby and her pain.
Just like that, Little Wild Beauty was born. The trailer ended up being a very sought-after model. The 1972 Airstream Argosy has a unique dome shape and panoramic windows. Being able to paint them was one of the most interesting things about owning one in the 70s and people took note of the interesting paint schemes and colors of the time. Commonly, maroon and cream.
With that uniqueness came some unexpected obstacles. Everything in the Airstream had to be custom fitted. The shelves, the furniture, the flooring. The trailer was in such disrepair that they had to basically rebuild it from the frame up. Then they found even the frame needed repair but that didn’t stop Jesse and her dream.
Little Wild Beauty officially opened in January 2022. Jesse’s dream of being mobile came to reality. She can now take client in her front yard, or travel for weddings and bridal parties. Jesse still has the cats in mind though. “I still have ideas to make custom cubbies for the cats, should we ever need to evacuate”, she stated.
This innovative Oakland Park salon is a testament to the way people think outside of the box when it comes to their careers and passions, using creative and unique ways to combine them and make them a reality. It might seem a little wild to some, but to others, like Jesse, it is a dream come true.
To make an appointment, book an event, or check out photos of the Airstream, you can find Little Wild Beauty on Instagram @littlewildbeauty_.
Rhiannon Samoyedny was born and raised in South Florida. She has lived in Oakland Park for over 25 years and purchased her home in Garden Acres in 2012 where she resides with her husband, two teenaged boys, a few rescue cats, and her dog.
Her professional career began as a project manager and estimator for a small Oakland Park construction company and she later went on to earn her degree in Court Reporting, where she later incorporated her own small business RS Reporting, Inc.
She has a passion for gardening and attends many horticulture classes and workshops. She is also an LGA (Local Government Academy) graduate, class of 2019, and an active community volunteer and activist. You can usually find her around town at various Oakland Park meetings and events with her notebook, so be sure to say hello.