'I knew I wanted to start something, be different'; Hair Hut stylist drives mobile hair salon on road to recovery

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MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Take a drive to the BP on Appleton and Good Hope in Menomonee Falls and you’ll find everything from snacks, to a quick fill up, or even an entrepreneurial opportunity. Just ask Mandy Jane Ashenfelter, of MJ as most call her.

MJ is the stylist behind the Hair Hut, a mobile hair salon MJ created from scratch.

“No fancy name, this is what it is. It’s a hut and I cut hair,” said MJ.

MJ says, as far as she knows, this is the first original hair hut in the state of Wisconsin.

“I get my millionaires and I get people who can barely afford the haircut. It’s pretty awesome. Older people, younger people. Every type of hair you can imagine I will work with. I don’t turn anybody down,” said MJ.

“I think it’s cool, all the things that’s here on the decorations and everything that you get to look at while you’re sitting down,” said customer Macy Green.

“She’s sturdy that’s for sure. I can take her down the highway,” said MJ.

Solid now, but Mandy will tell you the road here has been rough.

“I was pretty much a lost soul, I got into the wrong crowd, I like to party. Wisconsin, a lot of festivals, I took that to the next limit,” said MJ.

“It was a tough road, so bad I went to prison. I was in there for five DUI’s. No joke,” MJ confessed.

“I suffered from alcoholism, I still have it, but I've inspired myself to get addicted to something else. I have an addictive personality and I know that. I think if you know that about yourself. And you, I know what your triggers are, you have to stay away from that,” said MJ.

The inspiration for her turnaround is clear to see, her son Iren.

“He’s a little trooper. He’s gone through a lot of mommy’s haircuts. Some in the beginning were not so good and now I think we’ve finally got it,” said MJ.

“Not being able to put your kid to bed at night is really hard. So I was like I’m not going to allow this to happen again. Even to this day, if I think oh I’ll have a glass of wine, or I’ll do this or whatever, I can’t. And it’s a good choice. My life’s a lot better now," said MJ.

“I'll be celebrating six years on June 24th. Pretty excited about that. No drinking,” said MJ proudly. 

And with one year in business, you’ll see her Hair Hut parked all across the Milwaukee area. It’s a journey just getting started.

“I knew I wanted to start something, be different, I never knew what it was until I became a hair stylist and then once I realized this is the niche, it’s pretty cool," said MJ. "I always wanted to create something, start something new and I think I achieved that here.”

Sometimes a bit of traffic and a few wrong turns lead to the best destinations.

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