Ashley Brown has planned to be a hairstylist for about as long as she can remember, but not even she could have imagined she’d be so successful so soon. After more than 10 years in the industry and a lifetime of passion for hair, Brown reflects on everything it took to get here and what she hopes the future has in store.
Artists You Need To Know About
One To Watch: Ashley Brown, Mizani Artist
05 December 2018
Continue reading to learn more about Brown’s start in the hair industry, what inspired her to become a salon owner, and how she hopes to shape the hair industry.
Many people in the hair industry grow up with a passion for styling hair, but not many grow up with a salon-owning father. This allowed Brown to have the privilege of working in a salon at a very young age.
My father is actually a hairstylist of 40 years, so he’s definitely the one who inspired me...He owned a salon when I was a child, and so I was up there helping a lot as a child, which is where my inspiration came from.
Growing up in a hair salon helped Brown decide what she wanted to do for a living very early in life—so early, in fact, that she enrolled in beauty school right after graduating high school. While attending beauty school, Brown enrolled in a Mizani class that introduced her to the brand and their mission. Mizani’s dedication to creating salon quality products for all hair types and textures helped Brown realize her passion for hair was much more profound than she originally believed.
“My hair is textured, and at the time, even though my father did hair and I was using quality professional products, I felt like I was missing something,” she explains. “Then after taking the Mizani class, I felt like I was introduced to what I was missing.”
It would be more than a decade before Brown began working with Mizani professionally, but the brand had already made a meaningful impact on her career.
As the daughter of a two-time salon owner, it should come as no surprise that Brown is the owner of her very own salon. Brown opened the doors of Cheveux Salon in Brookfield, Wisconsin, six years ago, weaving much of what she learned from that Mizani class all those years ago into the foundation of her business.
“I was managing a salon and working behind the chair, and I kind of felt like there was a lack of education, especially surrounding textured hair,” she says. “That’s kind of my main driving force in opening a salon so that I could really provide an environment where everyone felt welcome no matter their hair texture.”
The motto of Cheveux (which means hair in French) is “keeping hair healthy, one strand at a time.” Through the education Brown offers to her employees and clients, she’s able to do just that.
“My favorite thing about being a salon owner is helping people achieve their goals.,” she says. “Sometimes clients come in, and they have a goal that may seem unattainable. Just working with them on a hair care maintenance plan to get them to where they want to be, I’d say that’s definitely what I enjoy doing the most.”
As much as Brown loves educating her clients and employees, her hopes for the future of the hair industry go far beyond her styling chair.
“When I travel all over the country, I still see a little bit of a divide. I still hear people refer to textured hair as ‘ethnic’ hair and I just would love to see that term go away because hair knows no ethnicity, hair only knows texture,” she says. “My hope for the next five years that we can really break down that barrier between hair stylists, professionals, and even students in beauty school looking at hair as texture and not looking at it as an ethnic thing.”
Brown believes if stylists and clients had a better understanding of what textured hair is, it would feel much less daunting to care for. Brown’s work as a brand ambassador for Mizani the last two years has proven as long as you have access to the right products and information you can create just about any hairstyle—no matter the texture.
If you’re looking to follow Brown’s footsteps, her advice is simple: practice, practice, practice.
“You have to keep practicing. It is essential to your career to continue to grow. You have to practice and continue getting education,” she says.
If you’re saving your hair styling talents for your bathroom but want to incorporate some of Brown’s texture-embracing philosophy into your hair care routine, she’s got advice for you: Be proactive with your hair.
“I always compare the hair to the skin,” she says. “The more proactive you are with it, the better your hair is equipped to deal with bumps in the road when they come along.”
What’s the best way to be proactive about your hair care? Shampoo and condition your strands at least once a week with the products your stylist has recommended for you, cut back on heat styling and, always use heat protection—oh, and regular trims at Cheveux salon.
Follow Ashley Brown on Instagram @ash_hairbarbie. Book an appointment with her at Cheveux Salon in Brookfield, WI, by calling 262-456-1601 or visiting their website www.cheveuxbrookfield.com.
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