We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Mello and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, can you tell us the story of how you started your business?
When I was in hair school I asked a local well established Hairstylist/salon owner if she’d let me shadow her. She graciously said yes & I did so every chance I got. When I graduated hair school I worked a full-time office job while I worked hard part-time building my book. It was tough being a wife & a mother working 2 jobs sometimes it felt like 3 because I would still shadow that same Hairstylist sometimes. My first client was the Mom of one of my daughters friends & she is still my client today 16 years later. I became a salon owner by going in with a friend as part owner about 6 years ago, when my friend decided to move on to another type of salon I bought her out & took over on my own.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What sets my salon apart from others is I worked hard to create a very fun relaxed atmosphere where everyone feels very comfortable & at home while they’re in my salon. That’s EXTREMELY important to me because in the past I’ve been in salons where it was very stuffy & cold feeling, I swore if I ever had my own salon I would have a very chill vibe in my shop where everyone felt like family. I’m definitely not afraid to think outside of the box and color outside of the lines, I started doing hair because hair color is my passion and I like to really show more of the colorful side of life, it was not always easy because not everybody is so open minded about expressing their colorful side and my passion is to bring that out of people and make them feel beautiful in a new way! I’ve worked long days/nights where I look all put together when I arrive at work & leave looking like the hot mess express haha!! I try to laugh as often as possible, to laugh at myself, allow myself to be vulnerable & silly. I’d like to think thats my secret sauce so to speak, after all laughter is the best medicine.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Breakfast at Peaches spend the day at Busch Gardens & dinner take out from Bella Mia Italian restaurant. The following Day Breakfast from Sage biscuit Cafe & back to Busch gardens there’s so much to see and do you need more than 1 day. Following id take my friend to my fave Starbucks for coffee & breakfast. Then off to Jungle Gardens in Sarasota. We would have dinner at Olive garden. Next day have breakfast at home fresh fruit, bagels, & eggs. Today going to the beach to enjoy 1 of the most beautiful beaches in the world Siesta key beach. Dinner is at home tonight New York strips steaks on the grill. Next day were going to Anna Maria Island Beach, having lunch at the Beach house. Rent jet skis & have blast! Enjoying the day & dinner at the Gulf drive cafe’. Next day take my friend to Ellenton 0utlet mall & enjoy some Starbucks & shopping. We would have dinner at Burns steak house & yummmm they have a to die for desert bar.
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 have many id love to give a shout out to, that have helped me either in life or in my career or both. First my Mother for encouraging me to be an artist. My husband & daughter without their love & support I could not work as hard as I do. My career definitely Guy Tang he’s made a huge impact on my career & teaching me to share my love with other stylists. Dean & Darcy Christal the owners of Olaplex for believing in me & giving me a chance to grow & shine along side many talented artists. Kelly Heneger-Smith never knew a person could mentor from hundreds of miles away.. well Kelly has done just that, for me, I’m so grateful to have her in my life! Joe Santy for not only his amazing hairdressing skills he shares but for always encouraging me to do my best & believe in myself! Bianca Hilier, Chad Kenyon, & Sarai Speer all for motivating me & sharing your Beautiful passion!