Chopped Beauty Academy a dream come true for local woman

By David Peck

As a beautician, Suzette Jewell always enjoyed the creativity of the profession, and as the daughter of an educator, she for years talked about teaching others the skills to succeed in the business.

So after many years working in the cosmetology profession, Jewell went to school to become an instructor and then with husband Brad Trowell took the plunge to open a school – Chopped Beauty Academy in Lovell, which opened last fall at 440 Nevada.

Jewell said she has been a licensed cosmetologist since 2003 and has operated two shops in Lovell, one in Byron and one in Powell.

“Three years ago Dad (Calvin) and I talked about what it would take to open a school,” Jewell said, referring to retired schoolteacher Calvin Jewell, her father.

“He was very encouraging and thought it was a great idea to teach,” husband Brad said.

In the meantime, Jewell obtained her barber’s license in Billings in 2019 and opened the Chopped Barber Shop in 2020 in Powell. Her dad died in September of 2020, and her landlord in Powell that same fall sold the building in which she was operating. She was clearly at a crossroads.

Jewell enrolled at the True Colors Cosmetology Training Center in Gillette in the spring of 2021 and became a licensed instructor as a barber and a cosmetologist.

“I have five licenses,” she said, “a cosmetology license, a cosmetology instructor’s license, a barber license, and barber instructor’s license and a school license.”

She started looking around for a building in which to house a school, and being familiar with Powell, checked out several buildings there.

“I looked at every building in Powell that was for sale, but nothing ever worked out,” she said. “Then this one kind of fell into my lap.”

She spoke to Neil Mayes about the former Mayes Fabric building in Lovell, but he said the family has plans for the location. Then she noticed that the former Hen House storefront on Main Street was being vacated, and as she drove by to check it out, she was turning around in the chamber of commerce parking lot when chamber manager Linda Morrison came out the door.

Jewell asked Morrison if she knew who owned the Hen House building being vacated by the tie-dye shop. Morrison said she didn’t know for sure but asked, “What about our building?”

Bruce and Linda Morrison have for many years owned the building on the 400 block of Nevada that once held the Lovell post office. In recent years the building was occupied by therapist Michelle Croft’s LIFT Institute at 440 Nevada and by R Illusions Hair Salon at 436 Nevada. The large space at 440 was empty and available, Croft having moved her counseling practice south.

Linda urged her to contact Bruce for details about the building, and he immediately arranged for a tour. She met him at the building and within a few minutes the deal was in place for a lease/purchase arrangement.

“I happened to run into Linda, and boom, this falls in our lap,” she said. “It was totally meant to be. Everything has fallen into place so easily.”

Jewell and Trowell took possession of the building in July and immediately went to work remodeling the space with the help of family members. They put in new flooring and carpet, modified walls, did a lot of plumbing and electrical work, added a restroom and put in specialized equipment like shampoo bowls.

Jewell wanted a modern, industrial look, so the academy features metal and grey tones with tool boxes for storage to create the look.

The academy has eight cosmetology stations, three barber stations, three nail tables and a facial room, with pedicure equipment soon to arrive.

“We have lots of equipment, way more things than you ever think you need,” Jewell said. “I can have up to 20 students per instructor.”

Chopped Beauty Academy offers courses in full cosmetology including hair, skin and nails; esthetics skin care such as facials, waxing and microdermabrasion; and nail care, including manicures, pedicures, artificial nails and nail enhancements.

The academy will add a barbering course next month and will at that time be one of just three barber schools in Wyoming outside of college programs.

“We’ll offer barber/stylist and traditional barber – non-chemical – instruction, just cuts and shaves,” she said.

In operation

Chopped opened on November 15 and held an open house during the Main Street Mingle on November 20. The academy currently has four students, with four more coming next week.

“I get calls every day,” Jewell said. “I have one other instructor on staff for cosmetology, and one will come on staff for barbering.”

Chopped Beauty Academy operates four days a week from Monday through Thursday, with classroom instruction on Wednesdays. And starting next week, Chopped will be able to take appointments for work by the up-and-coming cosmetologists at a discounted rate. Walk-ins and appointments will be welcomed.

Eventually, Jewell will open a salon next door at 438 Nevada that will be called Chopped Professional, where students can work on commission.

“I’m right next door if they need some assistance,” she noted.

Cosmetology, skin and barber instruction isn’t cheap. The cosmetology program tuition is $18,000, for instance, but Jewell noted, “It won’t take you very long to make that money back if you do good work.”

The length of the coursework varies by the kind of course a student takes. For instance, a nail course is 400 hours, about three months, whereas cosmetology is a 12½- to 13-month program, 1,600 hours. Esthetics is 600 hours.

Once a student graduates, he or she will receive a diploma but must take a state exam in order to be licensed, an exam with both written and practical components.

One of the things Jewell is most excited about is that she will offer the world renowned Max Eli color line of Lovell native Max Eli Thompson.

“He’s been in the school the last two weeks,” Jewell said. “I’m super, super excited to be working with him and gaining some of his knowledge.”


Jewell is a 1992 graduate of Lovell High School and started in cosmetology in 2003 after going to school in Powell and Billings. And as the daughter of a teacher, Calvin, with a sister – Ilene Henley – working as a teacher and a daughter, Katelyn Showalter, going to school to be a teacher, moving to instruction seems like a natural step for her.

“My dad is a teacher, my sister is a teacher and my daughter is almost a teacher,” she said. “I’m so thankful I had this in my life. It’s an art, and you can be so creative with it. I want to pass it on and give other people the same opportunity I had.”

She noted the advantages for local residents of being able to attend school at home without having to commute to Billings or other communities.

For more information on Chopped Beauty Academy, call 307-548-2122.