The Wayward Hairdresser

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Wayward Hair Dressing and Kelly Shine

Two hair salons have closed recently on Nostrand Avenue; Linden Salon is now empty. Word is they moved north, possibly in search of a lower rent. Also Amavi Hair Salon is closed, maybe the victim of the extended construction that went on between their location and Nostrand Avenue cutting them off from walk-in traffic. So there is still Suite V, which seems to be thriving, and there are lots of braiding places further north on Nostrand largely dealing with a Black, Caribbean, Hispanic and African clientele. One might draw two conclusions from this situation: one, there is no room for a crossover place serving whites, Hispanics and Blacks or two, with the recent closings there is such an opening.

Kelly Shine has decide to go for option two; during April she has been renovating the place that Amavi had at 854 St. Johns. She is planning on a partial opening on April 26 and hopes to be going full steam ahead by June. Kelly grew up in Yonkers and believes her interest in hair salons began when she was three years old. Her grandmother made weekly visits to a hair salon, and Kelly went with her. She sat on the counter and handed the hair dresser whatever she needed. One imagines that many people found her adorable. Later Kelly went to a nearby Catholic High School but was unhappy there because they didn't have a program to train the students in caring for hair. She pestered her mother to enroll her in a public school that did have such a program. Eventually her mother relented and Kelly did go to this school but could not gain admission to the over subscribed hair care program. She then decided to go live with her father in Connecticut. She finished high school there, took a semester at Western Connecticut State and then entered a program totally for people who wanted to work in salons. She came out of the program at 19 and got a job in a salon in a mall in Connecticut. She worked there for ten years. The financial crisis of 2008-9 upended her plans. She lost her job and went to Florida for a year to collect herself. When she came back, she got a job in Soho but settled in Brooklyn because of the lower rents. Not surprisingly the following jobs were in Brooklyn, first Park Slope and then in Borum Hill near Atlantic Avenue.

What pushed her into opening her own business was too much success. She gained such a following at the last place she worked that the owner was afraid she was going to change the image of the place. Younger hair dressers were starting to imitate Kelly. This friendly push worked. At that point Kelly was living with her partner at Union and Rogers. She investigated the neighborhood and thought the Amavi place might work. Even though it is off the avenue, she already has a large following, so she doesn't anticipate a long period being needed to take off. Also setting up a hair salon where one has already existed is easier than starting from scratch. She is going to have five chairs and an equivalent number of sinks for washing hair. She hopes there will be two hair dressers in June and, as she says, “Then, we will see...”.

Kelly is in good shape financially. So far she is self-financing and she intimates that rent off the avenue fits in with her plans. We will check in on the partial opening in April and will be around for the big opening in June to find out how things are going. I have the feeling Kelly knows what she is doing. She has help from her partner and her sister and her family, and she surely knows the ins and outs of the business. Having been pushed on because she was too successful sounds like a great way to start. Good luck, Kelly!

– John DeWind