LeShelle: Ngina, thank you for taking the time to talk with Minority Report! I had the best mani and pedi from Sevilla. I enjoy everything about Studio Chique. How did this come to be; how did you get started?
Ngina: I entered into the salon industry as an apprentice at the age of 16 and became a stylist professionally since 1994. I recognized the gift to style at an early age and with the help of friends and family was able to practice and perfect things prior to standing on the salon floor. I've worked as an independent stylist for more than 15 years and while I've always known that leadership and entrepeneurship were a part of my dna I awaited the timing of God to move forward with it. That opportunity came in the summer of 2012, namely August, and Studio Chique: A Full Service Salon was born.
LeShelle: I love the decore and the color scheme of the salon. How would you describe
the aesthetic Studio Chique?
Ngina: I understood the importance of branding the business at its inception as opposed to waiting for business to boom before investing in needed renovations. As a woman of faith who leaned on the Lord for every step of its beginning (and even now), His instruction to me were "Brand it, and brand it now." I could not brand a quality product without a quality aesthetic. I wanted a very cozy but contemporary at-home feel. I wanted to create an environment of warmth and peace with a touch of excitement and newness, so I created the look out of that. This is the design style even of my team.
We style hair with both a classic sense as well as an edge of trend. We modernize older looks and refresh appearances to bring them up to what is current. We want our clients to feel and look relevant to today's society and facilitate that through our gift of styling. Empowerment through beautification is a major component of my business model as well. Though growing into its fullness, my endeavor is to empower my salon team with knowledge that as a team we empower our clients with knowledge. I want the salon visits seasoned with education (whether re: hair/skin/nail product use, condition, restoraton; or total wellness tips; or gaining financial freedom wisdoms, etc. My heart is that our clients leave not only feeling beautiful, but feeling empowered as well.
Also I felt as if the salon's "soon to be" clients were worth the investment BEFORE walking in the door. The clients I believed would be faithful regulars deserved to walk into the space created in my mind's eye. Many discouraged me from spending money on people that haven;t walked in the door yet, but I saw it differently.
LeShelle: I am a wash & go kinda woman. I try to do the least amoung of manipulation to my
natural hair. What would you say is the biggest mistake women of color make when caring for their hair? Any tips you want to share?
Ngina: My biggest style tip would be to never compromise the integrity of your hair for a style or
trend. Build a healthy foundation with proper hair care and maintenance before adding layers of chemical services and seek professional advise when in need. Keeping the hair hydrated and strengthened are the most prevalent challenges to woman of color. A proper balance of protein, oil and moisture is what the hair needs to thrive at its best. Any loss of the either mentioned will result in damage or breakage of some sort.
The biggest mistake we make is believing that we are our own hair care professional or that we can be taught via Youtube as opposed to a well-trained professional.
LeShelle: As an advocate for entrepreneurship, do you have any advice for stylists/salon owners who want to open their own beauty shop?
Ngina: My advice for stylists/salon owners would be to pursue your dreams WITH A PLAN. All too often creative people lean on their creativity to produce businesses, but business require responsibility as well as administration in addition to creativity to thrive. We can be so excited about the possibilities of success that we neglect to plan to avoid the possibility of failures.
LeShelle: Ngina, you thank you so much for being a featured guest on Minority Report. One last question. If you could have any client, who would it be!? Who would be that dream CELEBRITY Make Over?
Ngina: [My] dream celebrity client would be someone like Taraji Henson. We would keep her bob fresh, innovative yet classic with a possible pop of color to accommodate her oh so relevant personality and style:)
If you have any hair care questions or seek business advice from Ngina Thomas of Studio Chique, let me know! I wanna hear from you.
Don't forget to schedule an appointment! Studio Chique is located at 3013 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001. (202) 722-2770
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