Posted on January 10, 2020
Sola Salon Studios
When we set out to launch the Faces of Sola program back in 2015, we had a vision to bring together independent salon owners from across the country to share their personal stories and wisdom as beauty professionals, entrepreneurs, go-getters, givers, working parents, philanthropists, artists, educators, and people on a mission to change the world. From the minute we started to get to know the Faces of Sola, we realized we had so many different perspectives and representatives of what it means to live an inspired life as a salon owner at Sola. Since we launched the program, we have welcomed 40 independent Solapreneurs to the Faces of Sola family, and in 2020 we decided to kick things to a whole new level. It is with great excitement we introduce you to the 20 Faces of Sola for 2020!
Ashley Sciulli, Ashley Hair Designs, Pittsburgh, PA
Ashley Sciulli (@ashleyhairdesigns) has been dreaming of becoming a hairstylist since she was just 14 years old. Fast forward to today, owning a business, and proving the doubters wrong, she says that living out her dream has been "nothing short of magic." Ashley specializes in hand-painted highlights and blonding. She is constantly exploring new trends to make sure she brings her A-game behind the chair. She is obsessed with her salon at Sola because it has made her fall in love with her craft all over again.
"It is my safe space, my corner of the universe to flourish, my home away from home and the place that has become so much more than just a career! At the end of the day, I’m just a girl who loves her clients and truly gets joy out of spinning them around in my chair and seeing the purest smile on their face."
Morgan Abernathy, Studio Chaos, Charlotte, NC
Morgan Abernathy (@colored.in.chaos) is a full spectrum colorist and a go-getter in her salon. She's been doing hair for 10 years and has a dual passion in the beauty industry - educating and being behind the chair. Morgan is an educator for four different product and tool companies all thanks to her colorful craft and the help of social media (check out her amazing Instagram!).
Outside of the salon, Morgan is a dog mom and a wife to her high school sweetheart. For her, coming to Sola was a no-brainer. Her natural independence and work style was a perfect fit with the Sola concept. "You still get community but without the competition and that’s one of the main reasons why I love it so much. We aren’t competing with each other. We are raising each other up and helping each other when we need it, but running our business is completely separate and in different ways but what works for us."
Diana Antes, Diana Antes Studio, Sunnyvale, CA
Diana Antes' (@dianaanteshair) passion for hair and makeup has helped her to become a sought-after hair and makeup artist for over a decade. From experimenting on her friends at prom to taking advanced courses in the industry to develop her skills, she has gained extensive knowledge and a unique capability to tailor her skills to each one of her clients. She specializes in balayage, creative colors and classic timeless styles. Over the course of her career, clients have praised her calming aura, bubbly personality, and ability to truly connect and educate those she works with. She is passionate about elevating the beauty industry by educating and helping like-minded stylists.
"Sola has given me the opportunity to have my own business. I can decorate my own space the way I like. I can sell the retail that I want. I can offer the amenities that I want. I can run my business the way that I want because it's my business."
Cuyler Engram, Loft 22, Houston, TX
Cuyler Engram's (@cuylerdidit) journey began with the first curl of his mom's hair! He is a youthful trendsetter, celebrated for his unique styles, vibrant colors, and crazy "creature makeup." He focuses on creating elevated experiences that are personalized to fit each guest's lifestyle and desires. Merging stylish sophistication with youthful vitality, he is able to produce a trend-setting creation every time. He has taught several hair color classes and techniques on national platforms such as The International Salon and Spa Expo, Premiere Orlando, and Houston Image Expo, and is now currently facilitating in-salon education for Eleven Australia. His career began in 2008 after attending the Aveda Institute-Tallahassee. His passion for beauty and art is what allows him to enhance and transform his guests' hair into customized lifestyle-based creations. Since embarking on his journey with Sola, Cuyler has significantly grown his business, knowledge and brand with the support of the Sola family.
"My experience at Sola has allowed me to excel in both my business and professional life. The support is amazing. The brand stands firm in its values, and I am treated with much care, concern, and the want for myself and my business to thrive. I feel alive in my studio!"
Brittany Athey, Mel's Place Men's Cuts, Rocky River, OH
Brittany Athey (@mels_place_mencuts) is a Cleavland-based men's grooming specialist. Mel's Place was named after Brittany's grandpa, Melvin Eugene Harrison. Although he passed away in 2006, Brittany has been able to keep her number one fan around by naming her salon after him. Before her journey behind the chair began, Brittany played college softball and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in business with a double minor in marketing and communications. Her gut feeling of wanting to work in the beauty industry persisted. But instead of pursuing a career in marketing and sales, she went to beauty school after graduating from college. After that, she landed a job with a large men’s haircutting chain, and the rest was history!
She is thankful for her journey of becoming an independent - all because she kept “swinging the bat,” as her dad says. Aside from keeping her clients looking handsome, she loves being able to give them positive vibes, a chill atmosphere, and her full attention thanks to the privacy of owning her own salon. "Not only has Sola given me the opportunity to change lives every day, but also Sola has changed my life with the tools of online booking, online profiles, Sola Sessions, and knowing that anyone is just a phone call or email away."
Tara Chilton, Meraki Salon & Co., Springfield, MO.
Tara Chilton, (@taralynnchilton) co-owner of Meraki Salon & Co., realized her decision to go to cosmetology school was one of the best decisions she has ever made. "That one action has propelled the last 10 years of my decision making. One action back then has provided 10 years of exciting journies, understanding, even acceptance." Throughout all of life's highs, lows, and unexpected curveballs, Tara has continued to bet on herself, her abilities, and persisted to be a success.
Tara and her business partner Shelbie Donoho were co-workers before teaming up to open their own salon. Through their similar challenges and alignment of goals, Meraki Salon & Co. was born.
"Shelbie and I have been able to create a salon culture we can be proud of. Not only do we have the freedom of being our own bosses, here at Sola, our community supports and encourages our business. The resources have been such a tool for us these past two years. As stylists, we are truly understanding how many hats we really do have to wear!"
Shelbie Donoho, Meraki Salon & Co., Springfield, MO
Shelbie Donoho (@shelbiedonoho), co-owner of Meraki Salon & Co., strives to “be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” When Shelbie began cosmetology journey, she found herself torn between two passions: doing hair or getting involved with the Peace Corps. Her decision became clear once she found out she was pregnant with her now amazing 6-year-old daughter, Kylie Skye. Her talents range from hair to photography to prepping models for fashion shows. Her work has been posted in various magazines like 417 Bride, 417Mag, and by cosmetic companies; iSociety and MICA Beauty.
Aside from working aside her bestie and co-owner Tara Chilton, Shelbie's favorite part of being at Sola is her ability to help others in the community through various service projects. "Taking this opportunity with Sola I have grown not only as a stylist because of the provided education from Sola, but I have grown as a person, closer in my faith, and a better mom. I have been able to create my own culture that attracts a more optimistic atmosphere, and I come home in a better mental state which is better on my family."
Lindsey Couch, Arrow Salon, Louisville, KY
Lindsey Couch (@thehungryhairdresser) is co-owner of Arrow Salon in Lousiville, KY. She has been a hairstylist for the past 7 years and is a Paul Mitchell National Educator. Lindsey is very passionate about educating and inspiring every guest who sits in her chair, and when she's not in her studio, she's traveling the country to different salons, teaching them about the latest trends in the beauty industry. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her pets and watch cooking videos. She is hungry for success, knowledge and a good grilled cheese.
"Have you ever walked into a place and thought 'Oh, I belong here!'? That’s how I felt when I walked into my Sola. I finally found a place where I could be my own boss. But, I still have a Sola family to cheer me on!"
Carlisha Duffey Nunnally, Southern Girl Natural Hair Studios, Topeka, KS
Carlisha (@sgnaturalhairstudio) is a natural hair care and extensions specialist, as well as a makeup artist and photographer. Her mission is to guide, educate and empower each and every one of her clients. Carlisha is originally from Dallas, TX, but relocated to Kansas in support of her husband's military service. After relocating to Kansas, she decided to go to cosmetology school and go back to school for her BFA in art concentrating on painting and photography. In addition to her work behind the chair, she was also a ballerina and is currently training to become a figure skater! On top of all of that, Carlisha is a two-time Midwest Hairstyling Awards Finalist. Is there anything she can't do?!
For Carlisha, Sola has been a dream come true. "Since I was in cosmetology school, I knew I wanted to have my own salon suite. I discovered Sola, but the closest location was two hours away. I never gave up, and as fate would have it Sola Topeka opened 30 minutes from my home. I am finally on the path to creating the life I want. I am doing more of what I love. I am living my life by my own rules, and that was possible thanks to Sola."
Bianca Margolis, B. Rose Studio, Chicago, IL
Bianca Margolis (@b.rosestudio) is from the Windy City and has been doing hair for the past 11 years. "I have always had a deep-rooted love for all things beauty since I was a little girl. Hair is truly the first love of my life." She graduated from the Aveda Institute of Chicago in 2011 and has worked at high-end salons ever since. She is very thankful for the support from the Southloop community and is proud to be a female business owner in Chicago!
"Sola has truly been the best decision I've made of my career! It has provided me the opportunity to expand my business in ways I have only dreamt of. I am able to take the classes I want, host classes, travel and be fully in control of my life all while being able to change up my suite to make sure my environment suits my brand to at any given time."
Gina Micheletti, Slay Bae Suite, Franklin, TN
Gina Micheletti (@gina.doesmyhair) is a true southerner. She was born in Arkansas, grew up in Memphis, went to The University of Alabama, and has since been a Nashville resident. In college, she studied telecommunications, film, and theatre, and then began her cosmetology journey while balancing serving and bartending jobs in the Nashville area. Having multiple jobs allowed Gina to discover that her true passion was being behind the chair. When she's not working, Gina loves singing, continuing education for her business, and traveling. She enjoys living in the upbeat area of downtown Nashville with her Goldendoodle, Hank.
"This is truly only the beginning for me, and I’m so thankful that Sola helped pave the way for me to confidently run a business without distraction or anything, or anyone, holding me back."
Tahesa Nelson, Studio 406 Hair Salon, Madison, AL
Tahesa Nelson (@hairbytahesa) is a passionate cosmetologist and product educator living in beautiful Huntsville, Alabama. Born and raised in Madison, her love of the hair industry started during childhood. By the time she was in middle school, she already knew she wanted to be a hairstylist. Nearly two decades later, she is still doing hair and loving every minute of it. From distinct to more natural-looking and everything in between, she has a knack for creating the perfect look that suits her clients' unique needs.
"Sola has made me a better person by helping me stay dedicated and more confident in my business and self. Since being at Sola I went from being 20-30% booked a month to being 80-90% booked per month. I have gotten so many new clients in the past 4 years I’ve been at Sola that I’m almost booked to where I’m not taking any more clients. It has allowed me the freedom to be flexible, which has allowed me to be a better parent to my son and has helped me balance work and personal life. I can say Sola has been a dream come true. It has really set me up for success with all the tools they have to offer!"
Katie Oakes, Hair By Katie Oakes, Savannah, GA
For Katie Oakes (@hairbykatieoakes), hair is and always has been her passion. As a child, Katie dreamed of opening her own salon, and now she's turned those dreams into reality with her salon, Hair by Katie Oakes. Born in Marietta and raised in Savannah, Katie offers true southern hospitality to every guest sitting in her chair. She specializes in blondes, blowouts and men's grooming. She is outgoing and loves spending time with her clients, and of course her family and friends. What's her favorite part about Sola? "I love my Sola neighbors, the freedom of creating my own schedule and the customization of rooms."
Alberto Padilla, Captial A, Eugene, OR
Alberto Padilla (@capitall_a) is from Michoacan, Mexico, and moved to the United States only four years ago, but has been doing hair for 11 years. His favorite part about working in this industry is the opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world. He believes that meeting new people allows him to prosper as an entrepreneur and as a human being because of the knowledge he gains from them. Alberto loves being his own boss and calling the shots. "Thanks to Sola I can focus more on my personal development as a professional. Working in Sola as been one of the best experiences I've ever had!"
Filipe Ramos, Allure Hues, Beverly Hills, CA
Born and raised in Brazil, Filipe Ramos (@hairbyfilipe) is a celebrity stylist and a colorist/extensions expert. With 11 years of experience as a hairdresser, Filipe kick-started his career at Vimax Salon in his hometown of Curitiba. Filipe has had the opportunity to work at Eron Araujo Creative Salon in São Paulo, Brazilian Blow Dry Bar in West Hollywood and Juan Juan Hair Salon Beverly Hills. He has also styled actors and actresses for various shoots, magazines and worked with a multitude of professional photographers. Felipe’s creativity, style and attention to detail have attracted a lot of appreciation for his work and as a result, he has been published around the globe in magazines such as Glamour Brazil and Vogue Brazil.
"From the start until now, making people happier after they see themselves in front of the mirror is what makes me so passionate about my career." Coming to Sola has allowed Filipe to excel even further in his career, making him feel comfortable with every step of growth in becoming a business owner.
Jodi Snowden, Jodi Snowden and Co., Murrieta, CA
Jodi Snowden (@jodisnowdenandco) knew that she wanted to be in the beauty industry since she was 11 years old. At an early age, she dreamt of having her very own "glam squad" for bridal hair and makeup. After getting married and having kids, Jodi was a stay at home mom, until school was on the horizon for her girls. She took the opportunity to get back to her passion and hit the ground running. "After putting in a year building up my clientele, I moved to my very own beautiful, glorious Sola studio." Over the past year, Jodi has been dedicated to building her company, brand and team. She loves learning and growing every single day by taking classes online and in-person; everything from industry to business classes, Jodi wants to know it all!
"There are so many details that I love. I feel safe in my studio. I love that I can customize it for mine and my clients' specific needs. I love that I get to choose my schedule, my color, and product lines. Beyond the look and the feel of Sola, I love that there is an entire Sola community. There’s social media, the app, the booking system, the blog, education, etc. The Sola team has really put effort into supporting us stylists in so many ways. The sky is the limit being a part of Sola. All of my clients are in awe when they come into my studio."
Stefanie Stair, The STAIR Way, Knoxville, TN
Stefanie Stair (@the_stair_way) has been doing nails for almost five years. She is one of Knoxville’s finest nail artists and one of the busiest, too! Her love for art and being an artist makes doing nails a perfect career for Stefanie. "Since I was seven years old I knew I wanted to create and work for myself. When I’m not in the salon, I’m spending precious time with my family. We love the outdoors, eating and traveling as much as we can in our busy schedules." The Stair Way was born in 2018 after Stefanie had left a high-end nail salon and she now considers Sola her home away from home. "I wish I had started at Sola sooner, but I’m here now and I’m here to stay!"
Ashley White, Ashley White Studio, Granger, IN
Ashley White (@ashleywhitestudio) is a master stylist that has been working in the hair and beauty industry for over 13 years. She has a passion and energy for learning that has allowed her to become one of northern Indiana’s top stylists. She has attended numerous hair shows throughout the region and participated in many continuing education classes. Ashley strongly feels that the classes are key to being on-trend with the latest styles and techniques in the industry so she can offer only the best to her clients. Not only is she one of our 2020 Faces of Sola, but Ashely is also one of our SolaGenius Ambassadors!
"When SolaGenius was introduced to us, it was an absolute game-changer for me as a business owner. It has been my personal assistant and receptionist both in one simple application! I am so grateful for the friendships and the meaningful relationships I have made with my Sola neighbors and fellow Sola friends across the country. What a blessing it has been to cross paths with them not only through Sola Sessions but online through social media. I have such a deep sense of community with my Sola family."
Steven Wren, Steven Brandon Hair Studio, Bloomingdale, IL
Steven (@mrwrencuts) is a multiple award-winning barber and the creator of the FadeAway Barber & Beauty Expo. He started the FadeAway Barber & Beauty Expo in 2015 to showcase the talents of students, professional barbers, and cosmetologists in partner with some of Chicago’s hottest fashion designers. As the owner of Steven Brandon Hair Studio located in Bloomingdale, IL., Steve understands the value of mentorship-based relationships which enable him to impact multiple people throughout the barber industry. During his career as “Mr. Wren Cuts,” Steve has worked on fashion shows, photoshoots, platform education and portrayed a professional barber on the hit FOX television series Empire.
Steven came to Sola because he was ready for independence has not looked back. "Within 4 months I was ready to upgrade to a larger storefront single studio. The clients that have been with me for years love it, and my new clientele feel the same way."
Buckle up, because it's going to be quite a year with this all-star crew of Solapreneurs! We can't wait for you to get to know, get inspired and learn from the 2020 Faces of Sola!
Check out these tear-jerking moments when our Faces of Sola got their big news! 🎉😭💙