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I’ve been 31 years behind the chair. It was my mom who inspired me to get into the beauty field. Before she retired, she was a hairdresser for 54 years, if you can believe it! For me, watching my mom do hair was better than watching TV, and the artfulness of her work still amazes me to this day.  

As I put the finishing touches on my salon, I’m scouring old photos, looking for some of the black and whites of my mom competing in the Midwest beauty show. When I find those photos from the ‘60s, my studio will be complete.

Since opening That Redhead’s Salon at Sola Salons Park Ridge in 2014, I’ve been working to develop a studio aesthetic that reflects my penchant for Hollywood glam.

I’m a huge old movie buff, largely thanks to my grandfather. Every Sunday -- while waiting on Grandma’s traditional Italian pasta dinner -- my grandfather and I bonded by watching old Hollywood films. Those marathon movie sessions have stuck with me, and continue to inspire me, impacting how I style myself and how I do hair. Walk into my suite, and you’ll see that old Hollywood has also influenced my studio décor, which is a tribute to the iconic beauty I fell in love with during childhood.

I love the history of beauty — the fashion, the glamour! In my studio I hang photos depicting Hollywood’s Golden Age. I’ve been collecting these photos for years, and have pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Honor Blackman, Lucille Ball and Audrey Hepburn. I especially love showing off the photos I’ve found of some of these stars actually getting their hair done.

James Dean is one of my favorite stars, and his photo is a main fixture in my studio. My brothers gave me that photo thirty years ago as a Christmas gift, and I’ve treasured it ever since.

When I first came to Sola, it was totally under construction. We’re talking hardhats everywhere. I was perfectly content at the salon where I had previously worked, but then walking into Sola gave me a feeling. A really good feeling! One of new growth and inspiration that gave me the strength to make a big change.

I’ll be honest: Leaving my former salon to come to Sola was not a smooth transition. It happened very quickly, and from the get-go I had a feeling that my studio needed more. I needed that feeling like the first time I walked into that hardhat area.

So I started planning, and I decided I’d celebrate my two-year Sola anniversary and the resign of my lease with a remodel of my studio.  

Let me back up: I do a mini-remodel in my studio every couple of months, when I switch out pictures and change the location of products I display on my shelves. By taking time to regularly refresh my salon, I’ve learned that the little things truly can make a big difference.

There’s a neighborhood in Chicago called Andersonville. I love Andersonville, and I love the feeling I get when I’m there. Everyone’s happy. Interesting people are everywhere. And, the antique and vintage shops make me giddy.

One thing that always strikes me in Andersonville is the exposed brick; the walls allude to a rich history behind the storefronts. I knew I wanted to reproduce that look, and it was fate when I walked into a paint store in Andersonville and the first book I opened directed me to textured brick wallpaper. I had to have it.

I immediately contacted my franchise owner, and asked permission to wallpaper my suite. It took weeks to get everything together, but it all worked out in the end. This last big purchase of wallpaper -- which I augmented with a fresh coat of paint -- is causing a huge buzz. 

My studio looks larger, brighter and so new and fresh. Bonus: the faux brick wall has also given me a great place for photographing my before and after shots; it really puts a professional touch on the pictures. Now, I walk into work everyday and get that inspirational feeling because my space is complete. My space is undecidedly me!

That’s huge. Working in a big salon can make you lose touch with who you are as a stylist. You’re bound to use the products the salon uses, and the essence isn’t you because it’s a statement that has to appeal to all of the stylists who work there. At Sola, you’re free to let your artistry of hair shine through, and your studio can reflect the essence of who you are.

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