Stylist Wants To Boost Confidence Of All Women At New Downtown Salon

By Candace Renalls
Duluth News Tribune.

Entrepreneurs look for opportunities, and Lena Cooper saw one when she came to Duluth in 2011.

Duluth had no hair salon owned by a black stylist. Moreover, few licensed hair stylists in town specialized in ethnic hairstyles and techniques such as relaxers, weaves and hair extensions.

With 18 years’ experience as a hair stylist and experience operating two salons in Chicago, Cooper was determined to fill that niche in Duluth.

Four years later, the result is Boss The Salon, which Cooper opened last month in the Board of Trade building downtown. The boutique-style salon, which she designed herself, is colorful, classy and eclectic.

“It reflects me as an artist and a stylist,” she said.

But while she focuses on black and bi-racial clients, she also does Caucasian, Asian and others’ hair, which is reflected in her multi-race logo.

“It’s a salon owned by a black lady who can do everybody’s hair,” Cooper said, noting she also works on men’s and children’s hair.

But getting the salon open hasn’t been easy.

Cooper had hit a rough patch in her life when she arrived in Duluth in 2011. For a time, she lived in shelters. She went from job to job, saving for the salon she wanted to open some day.
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“I didn’t have a poor and needy attitude; I was a go-getter,” she said.

She even knew where she wanted her salon to be — a 900-square-foot, two-tier vacant storefront on at 111 N. Third Ave. W. in the Board of Trade building.

“I saw this place three years ago and said, ‘that is where my salon was going to be,’ ” she said.

And that’s where it is.

She said going through some hard times made her a better person.

“It humbled me,” she said. “It gave me a reliance on God and a love for who people are, not their status. It made me welcome everyone.”

Cooper, who dresses fashionably, strives to be a role model for women in the black community.

Appearance has a lot to do with confidence, she said.

“I want to reflect that to the Afro-American community,” she said. “I want to project a very positive, fashionable attitude towards the ladies. It’s not just about hair, it’s about motivating.”

That’s why “boss” is part of the salon name. It means great, excellence and brighter opportunities, she says.

Prices at the full-service hair salon include $30 for a shampoo, cut and blow dry. Relaxers start at $50, and hair extensions start at $200. She also does hair consultations for $5, in which she’ll base her suggestions on hair texture, head shape, personality, lifestyle and what the client likes.

“You tell me what you want; I tell you what you need, and we go to a happy medium,” she said. “We style hair, and we transform people.”

The salon is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. For more information, visit or call (218) 481-7900.

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