Owner/Founder, Ouidad Salon, NYC and Santa Monica, CA
Ouidad Salon Certification Program and Ouidad Products
Licensed: The Cosmetology School, Lincoln, Rhode Island.
First job: At Squires Salon on Brown University campus in Providence, RI, with summer, apprenticeships in Rome, Italy and London
Clients per week: 100 clients per week.
Price point: Cut and style: $225; deep treatment with cut: $350; extra $150 for color and $400 for highlights
Why did you choose beauty as a career? I have extremely curly hair, so the topic of beauty and hair is near and dear to my heart. Growing up, I always had a tough time taming my mane. In learning to care for my own hair, I began developing a professional specialty for conquering curls. At the age of 26, I opened a salon dedicated solely to the care of wavy, kinky and curly hair. Two decades later, I have built curls into a multimillion-dollar hair business that also includes hair products and professional training. This October, I am being awarded the Great Idea Award at the CEW 2011 Achiever Awards Luncheon. This annual award recognizes the achievements of some of the cosmetics industry’s most talented women; it is CEW’s highest profile event and serves as an inspiration for future women leaders and for companies to support women’s advancement. I am more than proud that I chose beauty as a career.
Milestones: Helping curly hair be accepted in the beauty world; being honored with the Great Idea Award at the Cosmetic Executive Women’s Achiever Awards in October 2011; teaching stylists across the country my cutting techniques; having my daughter Sondriel work with me in my NYC salon. She is just as passionate about curls as I am. When she was younger, she used to say to me “Can you curl my hair more?” Today, I can see how much she enjoys her career at my salon and curl empire. Looking ahead, she wants to be at the helm of my business. As a mother and a professional, that is so gratifying. I am proud of the curl empire I have built and I am a very proud mother to support a daughter who truly loves her trade.
Big break: My first big break in beauty happened on the tails of my summer in London when I was in a hairdressing program. I remained in England and established a career there, working with celebrity stylist Danny Velesco. After doing the hair for the original production of Evita in London, I decided to join Valesco’s team and help launch the show in New York in 1978. I started to then work with many curly haired actresses in various Broadway Shows, advertising agencies and fashion magazines. This was my entrance into the curly hair world.