We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Salemi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My mother has owned a hair salon in Long Beach for 40 years. I grew up in the shop doing hair since I was 10 years old. I went to college and got my degree in Business Management from Cal State LA. After college, like any other young adult, I did not know what I wanted to do. I then decided to follow my passion and get into business with my mother. Together we created a new space for our stylists, Atlantic studio 425 located downtown Long Beach. Not knowing where hair would take me, I jumped right in. Working 8-10 hours behind the chair was not enough for me. To grow my business I would network any and everywhere I could. At 22-23 I would be in the club passing out my cards or making my friends go talk me up to potential clients. In this business the best compliment is a referral.
I have been a stylist now for 8 years. I always wanted to grow my business and I saw a need for Braids. Something that I’ve been doing since high school became so popular in our generation.
Three years ago I created Braids Etc, we are a mobile braiding service specializing in all things braids!
I would go out and do any event I could to see if this idea would be successful. We now do Pop-Up events, Festivals, Private Parties, Etc! Best advice is try everything until you find your thing.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I provide a first class professional hairdressing service to my valued clientele, which has led me to become a celebrity stylist for professional athletes. I specialized in many service and hair types such as: Locs, Braids, Coloring, Haircutting, Weddings, on set and prink work. I pride myself on quality work & quality relationships & I believe that’s played a major part in where I am today. Being raised in Long Beach, it has allowed me to really only see the color that I put in my clients hair. Hair is a form of expression and I am able make someone the best version of themselves. A huge part of my business is customer service. Being personable and creative has given me many opportunities. I have built a reputation for myself and people trust my expertise. In my industry, not many stylist are willing to put in the work to expand their portfolio or veer away from what is comfortable. I’m just blessed to do something I love where I can express that everyday not just in words but in action.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love my city! I would take someone on a bike ride down the beach, then maybe stop by ballast point or 2nd street and grab food/drinks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to Shoutout my mother (Janet) for paving the way and setting the tone for what I do. She has laid the foundation for me and many others in my industry. Her hustle motivates me to always want more and do better.
Instagram: @Michellesalemihair @braids_etc
Photo taken by @tommyfreezem W/ NFL running back Todd Gurley