Specializing in Short Hairstyles and Bold Color!
What happens when a Salon Plaza Member builds a thriving business, communicates well with others and is a supportive team player? Not only does she attract a lot of admirers, she gets recognized as our Member of the Month!
Please help us to congratulate Hairstylist Tonya Sparkle Dupree, owner of Sparkels Hair Design LLC at Salon Plaza in the Penn Station Shopping Center in District Heights, MD.
Keep reading and you’ll discover the steps she took to change her sometimes hectic life into one of peace and serenity that reflects her own style…
Step 1: Follow Your Passion
When I was young, I loved being creative with my sister’s hair. Everyone would say,
“Aww, she looks so cute! Her hair is so pretty!”
This let me know I had made many proud, especially my Mom because she had done her sister’s hair when they were young. Pretty soon I was doing my sisters friends’ hair and building a clientele. Later on, working two jobs, I saved money to put myself through Scanners Beauty Academy in Washington, D.C.
While there, I wanted to learn EVERYTHING: finger waves, push waves, pineapples, asymmetrics and pin curls. Those styles were big back in the 90’s, the days of big hair and lots of creativity. I was fascinated with everything different.
Now I love to do short hair. To stay current, I read different articles and look at many videos. My training is mostly hands-on.
Before opening my studio salon with Salon Plaza, a friend and I had our own place in southeast D.C. for four years. It was so hectic! That’s how I got it out of my system to own a traditional salon.
Not interested in continuing, I opted out and rented a booth at a barbershop right next door. For 10 years I was the only stylist doing the ladies’ hair and occasionally, shampooing and braiding the men.
Step 2: Never Fear Change
When I first saw the individual, private studios at Salon Plaza, I liked it right away. Completely different from where I had worked in the past, having my own studio allowed me to do my own thing –
without all of the headaches of owning a big salon! No hiring (sometimes firing) or managing others; no overhead to pay or maintenance to worry about.
In someone else’s place you can’t just start changing things around. My own studio is a piece of me and I like it. I’ve made it comfortable for my clients and me, and it feels like home.
Step 3: Be Authentic and Do What It Takes
Even though District Heights was just 15 minutes away, some of my clients didn’t want to make the drive, and that was ok… I lost a few clients and gained many new ones.
At first, to build up my clientele I worked longer hours and got some walk-ins with the heavy traffic at Penn Station. The real secret to building my clientele in my new location? My clients would tell me…
“Girl, I was just waking down the street and five people stopped me!”
Even strangers would come up to them and say,
“Wow, your hair looks nice. Who did it?”
— sometimes bringing them right back in the door! That’s why I always give clients a stack of my business cards when they leave. This gets me lots of referrals, just like that. People gravitate toward me by word-of-mouth.
Step 4: Stand Out From the Crowd
When you run your own business, you have to create your own buzz. Not everyone likes the same thing. Women who want a creative, short hairstyle can find what they want with me.
Even with many other stylists in the same location, it’s not competitive at Salon Plaza. That’s because we each have our own specialty and creative style.
“The Earliest Bird Catches the Worm”
The other thing that makes me stand out is that every day that I work, I start first thing in the morning, usually at 4:00am or by 6:00am at the latest. That way I can service early risers before they go to work. Because of my work ethics, some clients book appointments every week, or every other week.
This work ethic I learned from my dad, who I watched go to work everyday at 3am until he retired.
Step 5: Help Your Clients Feel BOLD!
For those who are not so daring, I offer a temporary spray color process. It’s fun. I tell them, “Once I shampoo your hair, it’s gone.” They’ll try different colors each week until they choose a favorite. Checkout the latest and greatest on my Sparkels Facebook Page!
People like change. For instance, my daughter Angelique used relaxers for years, but now she is natural and does her own twists. She watched mommy doing hair for so long, now she does it herself. And my sister, LaShawn, always just goes with the flow and lets me do whatever I want to do. I want to thank my family for being supportive over the years.
I’m a people person…if you want to succeed on your own in life you have to know how to communicate with others. Always remember: “Closed mouths don’t get fed.”
To make an appointment, call (202) 423-HAIR.