While the global pandemic created many challenges and economic uncertainties for businesses, for some, it created an opportunity. Charlee Murdock, a local entrepreneur and self-described struggling single mom of three, is the founder of Project Headway, a start-up company she launched in 2021 with the help of CAN BE and the Hazleton Launchbox. Within one year of making her dream a reality, Charlee is already making progress with the grand opening of her full-service salon in Weatherly, Project Headway Co.
Project Headway aims to help people make progress in their lives through the beauty industry. For Murdock, the ultimate goal is to build a product development company focusing on philanthropy and helping those in need. Not only will the salon provide valuable services to the community, but it will also help fund the production of her product company, Salon Innovations by Project Headway. With the help of Bill Andahazy, Penn State Entrepreneurship Education Coordinator of the Hazleton LaunchBox Supported by Pasco Schaivo and funds received from PennTAP, she is already working on her first prototype through a partnership with Bucknell University’s Engineering Department.
With the opening of her salon, Murdock plans to partner with area homeless shelters to connect with individuals in need of services prior to major life events – such as job interviews. Her decades of experience working within the beauty industry, coupled with her personal struggles with finding housing and employment, helped to inspire her. As a result, she wants people to have the confidence they need when interviewing for employment, even if they cannot afford traditional salon services. “If you are looking for a job and don’t have money, the last thing you want to spend money on is something vain like coloring your hair,” said Murdock.
In time, Murdock hopes to expand the Project Headway model into other communities to help underserved and unhoused populations across the country, “I want this to be a nationwide corporation with multiple umbrellas. It has the salon piece, the product innovation company, and then the philanthropic side of it.” In addition to providing hair care to those needing the services, she also sees Project Headway helping stylists make headway in their lives through educational opportunities and an advanced support system.
Until the launch of her first product, Charlee is focusing on growing her new salon. Project Headway Co., which held its Grand Opening on December 1, 2022, is a full-service hair salon offering cuts, color, hair treatments, texture services, and facial waxing. Murdock offers special discounts for veterans, heroes (medical workers, officers), and Weatherly residents.
For more information on Project Headway and Project Headway Co., you can follow the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ProjectHeadwayLLC.