« Take a break with… » Michelle – Celebrities colorist – BrushNY – New York
New York, Friday 21st June, 2013 – BrushNY, a true heaven of peace located in the Flatiron District, immersing you in a elegant and restful setting.
I’m meeting the owner and young Michelle who already made a name for herself in the hair industry with being a color genius of high-end, elite clientele. She is not only behind the shining tresses of celebrities but has also worked closely with international renowned model agencies such as Ford, Elite, Wilhelmina, and Next. She was also one of the educators for Fekkai’s training program and expert in newest color techniques and trends. After few minutes, appeared an amazingly beautiful and graceful little lady. Peak-a-boo!
You have strong network of elite clientele such as Sigourney Weaver, Kelly Rowland, Bon Jovi, Daniel Boulud, Princess of Rome Georgina Chapman just to mention a few, how does it feel to work with celebrities?
Celebrities are just simple people and yet have requirements like most people in New York. This city is home to many celebrities, they constantly have to make sure that their hairstyles are up to par. They only want the best fingers to touch their tresses. I think through handwork, perseverance and indeed passion, you can achieve your goals and never allow your success to go to your head.
You have become one of the most sought after colorist in NY, opening your own salon became obvious, how did you get started ?
I started 10 years ago at Fekkai’s flagship salon on Fifth Avenue NY where I worked as a senior colorist with Brandon another stylist. We were both educators and shared a lot of clientele together.
It was very corporate and big which was great for the last 10 years but we wanted something a little different, more boutique, more intimate, especially because we were still young and we wanted something very unique. So we started looking at spaces in this neighborhood with a lofty looking in mind. Flatiron was very nice, not as busy, not so commercial. After looking at over 50 places, we found this space with high ceilings but it was not what it looks like now, we did all the design. Something simple and modern that does not go out of style and aesthetically very clean, fresh and inviting. People need to be sure of where they are going to be.
What about your amazing staff?
We have a team that came with us after we opened, some from Fekkai, same that we knew. We do all the training for all the staff so that they could grow. We are still looking for some talented people but more unique in their own way, not ‘cookie uniform’ with lots of rules, just more artistic!
French and Korean are quite similar because they are very artistic in their way, work along with their hands and are a little bit more visual. I think in America, it’s a bit more textbook, not as much freedom and not so visual. NY is great in the way you have a lot of people from everywhere, so cultural, you have a lot of influence.
It’s very cosmopolite, a lot of adapted of different things and I feel so grateful to be here. Our clientele is very diverse, very fashion forward, very chic. This area is not too downtown where is too young and not too uptown where it is a little conservative, it is kind in the middle.
What tips would you give to people?
I like natural hair but with a little edge to it, a little modernness, nothing too crazy but still sexy. It has to be easy to maintain.
Brunette is a good color for you but if you are looking for a rich looking, I would add few highlights to give you more sunkissed effect, as if you went to the beach, just something more subtil and sexy. A color would definitely help to have more body, dimension. Bring a little bit of lightness cause it is summertime, not so brassy, something like a coffee color.
New York people very demanding, is it stressful?
NY is very particular though with also everything but when you gain that trust with somebody, things are easier. I believe that initially it is very particular then afterwards, they are willing to have a little bit of changes, it is just the trust of it.
We are always training the staff. We give them the confidence of a consultation, exactly delivering where you need to go. I think it helps to build the trust between clientele. There is always something to learn and it’s always good to learn, keep your mind opened. You always forget when you are used to doing the same thing. Sometimes, you need to review the basis. Every seasons, you see that the runway, the fashion is different. Even though it is a comeback of an era, it’s always a little different. Same with your hair, it’s like always the same but with a different twist.
Have you already been asked for the impossible?
I would say nothing is impossible, it just takes a few times, you cannot just make it, it’s not magic! As long as you work with the hair a few times so that we don’t damage the hair, keep it good texture and then just get it to the point where you want to be even if you are not doing it all in one shot. It is the best way to go.
Usually, they are like ‘oh I don’t want to be too red’, so they push you too far and your hair gets damaged and too brassy but it’s better if you do it gradually.
In NY, people are on-the-go, very demanding, they want it right now, this is why consultation is really important, you have to make sure that they understand the chemical process, the process of growing your hair out, your hair texture… You have to explain it to people because they don’t know.
Do you follow a trend?
Not a trend but something modern and not so uniform like a pattern. People always come to change their look between seasons, not always with the same color neither the same haircut. I always cut my hair short in the fall and change the color a bit. It’s like having a new accessory you can wear everyday.
Connections with my customers! NY people are very particular but they are also very loyal, when they find someone they like, they stick with you forever, for a long long time, they follow you everywhere you go. They are your friends, they talk to you about everything, they will always come back to you. They need to feel comfortable if they want something different.
If you happen to be in the city that never sleeps, stop by BrushNYC. Michelle is hard to book but you can try to make an appointment. She has already ‘gained my trust’ and I’ll expect my first experience by her in 2 weeks… Can’t wait 😉
Interview was done by Sophie @ OOB Mag – Photographer: Silvia Forni