Solo Artist

Home at Last

Victoria Wurdinger | November 15, 2015 | 1:42 AM
Seanna Oglesby never leaves home without professional hair and makeup because “image is everything in this business.”
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At her chair at the cozy Studio Pink in Merrick, NY, Oglesby works beside two other like-minded professionals, who enjoy taking continuing education and sharing ideas.
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Professional brochures with service menus are available for all Oglesby’s clients.
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Oglesby’s photo shoots focus on precision cuts and glam makeup.
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Many of Oglesby’s clients get regular wash-and-set styles, or wraps that are put under the dryer, and then iron styled
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Oglesby says the edgier the better, when you’re playing on set.
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Oglesby’s goal is to do even more “daring and sexy” shoots and to share her knowledge through teaching.
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Seanna Oglesby is a super cut-and-color pro the industry might have lost, had she not found a highly professional rental salon.

Seanna Oglesby’s career started off with a bang. Enthralled with hair at 14, she met the legendary Olive Benson at a hair show and decided she wanted to be an educator, too. Then, her guidance counselor got her a job assisting at John Atchison’s New York salon—he also had one in LA, and just a few of his clients included Debbie Allen, Diahann Carroll, Phylicia Rashad, Cecily Tyson, Muhammad Ali and Leslie Uggams.

“It was such a blessing to go into a top salon right after graduation,” says Oglesby. “I learned so much.”

After two years, she tired of the long commute from Long Island to Manhattan, and got a job at a local salon. But her growth was stifled, she says, because she was the only one there who was into training and going to shows. To boost her expertise and get in a salon where she “would be seen,” in 2000, she moved to Shades of Essence in Farmingdale, NY, where owner Andrea Cheese got her involved with photo shoots for Hype Hair and Passion magazines. By 2007, she had achieved many of her goals, but for one: “I had been in the business for 17 years, and wanted to se more of my money, says. “So, I decided to become a renter.”

But finding the right rental salon took time. Oglesby admits she moved around a lot, because even in a rental situation, she wanted to be surrounded by others who performed at her level. Similarly, she had more than one bad experience pursuing her dream of being an educator. One company had her pay for “educator classes,” then never hired anyone from the class. Another made a DVD with her, but only paid her commission on the DVD’s sales and failed to promote her stage appearances.

By 2014, she was “fed up with the industry” and took a year off. That’s when she discovered that she loved the business too much to stay away. A call from Andrea Cheese brought her back as an educator for Edge of Beauty, and she found the perfect, rental salon in Studio Pink in Merrick, NY, which is home to her Styles by Seanna.

Working the Network

Building and rebuilding a client base takes tenacity. Oglesby had kept track of many of her clients as she moved from salon to salon, and says the key to rebuilding is to stay in touch with everyone and “hit the pavement.”

“I sent out e-blasts and text messages to all my clients,” says Oglesby. “Every time I moved, I offered 10% off a full service, such as a cut and color—or a relaxer, cut and style. I even offered free cuts to get them to come back in. Since I charge al la carte for everything, I knew if they came in for a free cut, they would also pay for a conditioning treatment or a set and style. I also advertised.”

To keep building business, the first thing every morning Oglesby posts photos of her work on Facebook and Instagram. Instagram is more popular now, she says, and the key is to use many hashtags that are specific to your location and your work. (She’s nearing 2,000 Instagram followers.) Her clearly defined brand is “daring and sexy” she says, and style photos aren’t the only thing that builds a brand.

“In this business, appearance is everything,” notes Oglesby. “Whether I am at the library or the grocery store, I look like I do hair and makeup; I wear my brand.”

Now, Oglesby works Wednesday through Saturday and sees up to 50 clients a week. Most of them get cuts—lots of sassy short cuts—color or relaxers, and about half book bi-weekly for a wash and style. She teaches on stage at the Bonner Brothers and Premiere shows, as well as at the Edge of Beauty Concept Salon, where she and Andrea Cheese “brush one another up on techniques” and keep each other on the professional edge.


More about Seanna Oglesby:

Fav Hair Show: Premiere

Best Online Education: Videos by Sassoon and TIGI

Pro Products: At least once a month, I go to the CosmoProf store. I use 100% Wella color and I love Kenchi Shears and CHI shine spray, which I use it on all my clients. Also all The Edge products are phenomenal.

Best Salon Policy: I have a 24-hour cancellation rule and if any client is a no-show, she has to pay a $25 rebooking fee.  

Service Pricing: A full relaxing service with styling is $115, color is $130 to $140 and includes a blow-out.

Best Branding Tactic: My cuts are very precise and recognizable

Recent Promotion: I was a guest co-host on She Push Internet Radio. Host Shakena Warren had me talk about the beauty business, and I encouraged all my Facebook friends to listen in. It’s a great way to strengthen relationships.

Money Saver: Save all your tip money; don’t rush out and spend it. Your service income should pay all the bills.

Fall Trend Prediction: Women will let go of their dead ends and see a hair rebirth with a fresh cut and color.

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