Today we’d like to introduce you to Alisha Rodrigues.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Alisha. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was 13 yrs. old, twisties and little braids done in the front of your hair as a head band was popular. I loved the designs and was intrigued by the art behind it finding it fascinating. I asked a girl that was doing all my friends hair if she could teach me and she refused. So everyday I would go home after school and practice on my little cousin Bianca until I figured it out and taught myself how to cornbraid , do designs, shapes, names out of braids, Iverson braids, etc.
Now it was a lot of hard work and dedication because I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it, and this is coming from a girl who didn’t even know how to French braid! It took me 4 hours to just do my first french braid and it was one that fell right apart out of my little cousin’s hair. I never gave up, leaving me with a full clientele by the time I was in High School. At the age of 16 I worked 2 jobs and did hair on the side. There were times where after school I would have 3-5 girls sitting on my bed waiting their turn to get their hair and makeup done for school dances, proms, etc. I was always a workaholic and driven.
After High school I went straight to Cosmetology School and got my license. I’ve been licensed for about 12 yrs. now. I had my first client at 13 yrs. old and still till this day do her hair, her name is Sasha Fontes. I’ve worked in multiple salons over the yrs. learning something new in each experience but always struggled to find a place to fit in. I’ve worked backstage at Providence Fashion Week, Rhode Island Style Week, Rhode Island Fashion Week, I was the head director of hair and makeup for Boston En Vogue Fashion Week, music videos etc. I fell in love with the feeling of making people feel good about themselves, the art, and science of this industry. I’m a total hair geek! So it was finally time for me to open up my own salon and I was terrified! I know myself well enough and know that at least if I tried and gave it my all I would be satisfied!
It’s going on over 2 yrs. now and I couldn’t be more proud! I opened this salon with every dime I had with no business loan, and prayed every night to make enough for the bills the next month, leaving me to work 7 days a week 15-17 hr. days, sometimes coming home at 4am with swollen feet, just to wake up the next day to do it again. I’ve been specializing in Curly hair now for going on 9 yrs. I love it and love studying about it. I have clients that travel hours and fly in from different states just to come see me which is the biggest compliment anyone could ever give me. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me and my amazing staff I call my family. I couldn’t do it without them!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
You never know how hard it is to own a business until you actually do! I’m still learning and it’s probably been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Opening up the salon with every dime I had and praying I would make enough for next month’s rent was a huge weight on my shoulders when I first opened. I’ve already had a full clientele and built a name for myself, but now I had to build a name for a brand new business, and be on the hunt for the perfect staff to represent my business and myself. One of the hardest thing of being any business owner is finding good help, a staff that sees and understands your visions and are as passionate as you are. Once you have a staff you also have to train each one making sure everyone is on the same page and help promote and build a name for each one of them, on top of myself and my business.
Sometimes it can be a lot, but at the end it’s all worth it. I wanted to make sure my staff was well rounded and could handle any type of hair from the tightest ,curliest hair to the straightest hair, leaving anyone and everyone feeling comfortable coming to Lavish Salon.
All right – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Lavish Salon – what should we know?
I specialize in Curly hair and I feel like a majority of our clientele have curly hair. I’m proud we have clients from all over the country flying in and traveling just to come see us, from Seattle to Florida, California, Texas, New Hampshire, Boston, NYC, etc. I’m big on education and I feel like that is the key to success in this industry is to be up to date with the latest fashion trends. I’ve taken my whole salon to Orlando, Florida to the biggest hair convention in the country so we can learn and take classes with some of the greatest artists in this industry. I’ve taken one of my girls Joslyn Ash with me to Delray Beach Florida and went to the Keratin Complex Academy in Boca Raton for one on one training with the head educator and platform artist of the company. We’ve been to the NYC Hair and Makeup Show, etc.We’ve also had multiple classes in the salon for new cutting and coloring techniques with guest artists. I love the fact that we have clientele from all different cultures and backgrounds. We also have clientele from state representatives, radio personalities, to college students, etc. I’m also a part of the East Providence High School Advisory for the Cosmetology program, the High school I graduated from. I go and speak to the students and teach classes there. We are also really big on social media, mainly Instagram. Me and my staff all have our own individual Instagram pages to showcase our before and after pictures of our work. It’s an amazing way to promote yourself and your work. I also have one for the salon to showcase a mix of everyone’s work. It is a great way to get clients from all different areas, it’s like our online portfolio. We’ve been featured on multiple well known innovative Instagram pages, such as Deva Curl, Joico, Cosmo Prof Beauty, etc. and reached out by multiple companies in this industry.
Any shout outs? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I couldn’t have done any of this without my amazing clientele. Some have followed me over the years and watched me grow. Some I still do from middle school. The love and support from them plus my family and friends made it all happen! Of course I would have to thank my amazing staff and Manager Taylor Capaldo for making this all possible and being there for me through some of the hardest times, never giving up and being as passionate. My mom, Lana Rodrigues , was also a huge supporter of my career decision telling me “I can do and be whatever I want to be as long as I stay dedicated and put my all into it.” She would always say “Keep your eye on the prize don’t let anyone distract you from your dreams there will always be people in your life that will try hard to drag you down.”
I would also have to thank my cousin Bianca Mendonca, which is like a little sister to me for letting me practice for hours and years on her hair, if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. My best friends Deanna Cruz and Christopher Stanton for always answering the phone when I needed some emotional support and motivation. My amazing boyfriend, Sergio Otero ,has been so supportive and understanding through it all. He never held me back from late nights at the salon and business trips I had to take but just encouraged me to do my best and never give up. I want to thank my Aunty Kathy Rodrigues for being there for me in a drop of a dime if I ever needed someone to talk to for advice, especially in my lowest points giving me the confidence to get through anything and staying focused. I definitely wanted to thank everyone that said I couldn’t do it, because that gave me the drive and the motivation to get to where I’m at today , proving to myself I can do it. “Tell me I can’t do it and I’ll show you how”.
- Address: 58 John Street , East Providence, Rhode Island, 02914
- Website: www.lavishsalonri.com
- Phone: 401-421-1444
- Email: email@example.com
- Intagram: @lavishsalonri, @hairmajestiii
- Facebook: facebook.com/LavishSalonRI
- Twitter: @lavishsalonri