tutus tennis shoes urban plains
photo by Leah Thompson

The path to improving the community travels through the stylist’s chair.


“Like any good daughter you follow your mother.”

Kanisha Tillman says that’s what brought her to Des Moines. She used to call Atlanta home and was unsure about moving to the Midwest, but she followed her mom. And now that she is here, Tillman says it was the best decision she could have made.

Family has a big impact on Tillman. Her grandmother was a cosmetologist who had a passion for community. “They were big footprints and I felt like I needed to do something similar,” says Tillman.

The passions her grandmother shared led Tillman to continue her family’s tradition in cosmetology, with her own twist – using hair to make an impact on the community. With this in mind she opened her Des Moines, Iowa salon called Tutus and Tennis ShoesTillman knew from the beginning it would never be just a salon.

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