By Tracey Porpora Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Kimberly Smith says she enjoys making customized wigs for women of all ages. She is in the process of developing her own line of wigs and hair extensions as balances her work as owner of "Salon K Hair Spa" in Staten Island.
Kimberly Smith, 37, sees hair as "art," and says "wigs can change a person's life."
Always interested in styling and cutting hair, Smith said that right after high school she went to cosmetology school, and "never looked back."
"I just fell in love with doing hair since I was a young girl," said Smith, who grew up in the Park Hill Houses in Clifton, and has been in the business for 17 years. "I would do my classmates hair in high school; that's how I used to make my money."
After owning two salons on the North Shore, she recently decided to downsize and open a studio -- Salon K Hair Spa -- at Port Richmond's Sola Salons, which is a franchise that includes 29 individual studios.
"Both of my former locations were more than 1,000 square feet. ...I decided to downsize because I was getting exhausted," said the mother of two children, ages 3 and 6. "I wanted to focus more on my craft than running a big business."
PASSION FOR WIG-MAKING Today, she enjoys making customized wigs for women of all ages.
"Wigs can be life-changing for a woman," said Smith, who is in the process of developing her own line of wigs and hair extensions.
"I fell in love with wig-making -- even more now since I also own an [online] women's clothing boutique called Trendy Chix," she said. "I started making the wigs when I was doing my photo shoots, and I just fell in love with it."
To make her wigs, she uses "high-quality" virgin Brazilian hair that can be colored, she said.
"In the African-American community, we use wigs for protective covering, so we don't have to use chemicals on our hair so frequently," she said.
"Wigs today are customized to the size of your head, texture of your hair and color; it's really personal and one-of-a-kind," added Smith.
In addition to wigs and hair extensions, Smith specializes in short cuts and natural hair styling.
PASSION FOR THE BUSINESS Smith says her job never feels like "work."
"I love making women smile and giving them confidence, because if your hair isn't right, nothing else is," she said. In addition, she uses her knowledge and expertise to help women choose the right hair cut, wig or extensions to suit their lifestyle.
"I take their lifestyles, how often they frequent the salon and what they can afford into consideration. I will tell someone 'no' if I don't think it fits them. I feel like that's my job. ...I make sure I give them the best hairstyle to fit their lifestyle," said Smith.
SALON K HAIR SPA AT A GLANCE Address: 1553 Forest Ave., Port Richmond Website: http://salonkhairspa.com/ Instagram: @salonkhairspa