Today we’d like to introduce you to Dottie Salamone.
Dottie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story as a stylist began in 1997 with a suggestion from my sister’s hairstylist. I was tagging along for my sister’s hair appointment, and mid-snip my sister’s stylist stops, turns to me and says “You would look great with a pixie.” Those words not only changed my physical appearance, but they also shaped the rest of my career. At the time, I had no idea what a pixie was, so after my sister’s appointment, the stylist showed me some pictures. I wore short hair for the rest of high school. I spent hours in the bathroom perfecting the cut on myself. It changed how people saw me. It changed how I saw myself. It was so empowering that I decided once I finished high school I wanted to do what that stylist did for me. Empower people to change the way they look and feel.
My relationship with that stylist did not end there. Once I received my cosmetology license in 2001, she became my mentor and one of my greatest inspirations. I spent many years as a stylist at a salon in the south suburbs. The owner of that salon approached me one day and said: “You should work in the city.” Once again, I took advice that would change my life. I’ve been a stylist in Chicago ever since.
Throughout my years as a stylist, I have been honored to work with some of the top hairstylists in my industry. I worked for several years teaching advanced cutting and styling techniques to people all over the United States, and I’ve worked on several fashion events including Los Angeles Fashion Week.
I currently own a salon called Hair Party in Roscoe Village. I would not trade my journey as a stylist for anything. All of the people I have met and all of the inspiration and confidence I have gained along the way is priceless.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve definitely encountered some bumps along the way, but it has mostly been a smooth road for me as a hairstylist. Before I chose a cosmetology school I looked at schools in both Illinois and Indiana. I lived in Illinois at the time, but I chose a school in Indiana because they had a higher rate for job placement. Once I
graduated I chose a salon that had a year-long apprenticeship. This is something that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to become a stylist. Cosmetology school lays the foundation for the skills you need to become a stylist. Being an apprentice helps perfect those skills, and helps you develop the skills you need to work with the public. The best advice I can offer is to find another stylist that you admire and reach out to them. Ask them questions about their journey, and see if they are willing to take you under their wing. Once you find a salon to be a good fit, focus on you and your clients. Ultimately, your clients will come to you because of who you are and your talent as a stylist. I worked at a few salons that unfortunately had to close their doors. Moving around was difficult, but a constant through all that was the relationships that I developed with my clients along the way. Because I took the time to get to know them and their hair they were willing to follow me no matter what.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
My work definitely leans more to the creative side. I specialize in short razor cuts for women and classic cuts for men. I love looks that push the envelope of what you can get away with at the office. I’ve even coined the phrase “Office Punk” with my clientele. Office Punk is a cut or color that will gain the attention of your coworkers, but isn’t quite bold enough to get you sent home. Outside of the salon I am known for editorial styles. I work on fashion events and photo shoots to help enhance the portfolios of other artists in the beauty industry. The last few years I have really been focused on expanding my own portfolio. Some of the editorial styles I have created were featured Estetica Magazine and Beauty Launchpad. The photo that I had published in Estetica was of my niece Nicole. I particularly love this photo because when she was younger she despised having her photo taken. She ended up with a full page spread in one of my industry’s top publications.
What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
When you are just starting your career, don’t be discouraged. Any job that involves working with the public can take the wind out of your sails. The best
possible thing you can do is to invest in continuing education. There are so many different platforms for learning. Take advantage of all of them.
- Women’s Haircut $70
- Men’s Haircut $50
- color based on consultation
- Address: Hair Party 2111 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60625
- Website: dottie-salamone.com
- Phone: 7089352609
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @HairbyDot
Michelle Kaffko-Ebner, Molly Hebda