Meet Ngina Thomas, owner of Studio Chique Full Service Salon in NW Washington D.C.

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?