Many of those born to achieve resent the small distractions—and the hair styling industry provides plenty of them. Perhaps this is why Flavio Oliveira, from a pulsing urban town,Juiz de Fora, three hours fromRioand the size ofWestchester, opened a chic, refreshingly modern salon animated solely by clients and the tasks at hand. In the course of a career that began as an assistant stylist at age 16, he worked for Warren Tricomi in Manhattan and Greenwich, a large New Jersey salon, for L’Oreal in Paris, and came full circle to open his own “shop” next door to New Rochelle, where he got his start in the United States 11 years ago after moving from his native Brazil.
If you know anything about Flavio (his skill, his objectivity, his patience), then it wasn’t a surprise to see him open the doors to Mode A Salon at 496 New Rochelle Road at the intersection of Bronxville and New Rochelle. He is a good listener, and his perfect cuts telling.
His clearheaded mission: to offer cuts and styling at a reasonable price in a minimal and serene setting designed so clients shine. Many entrepreneurs never get the break they deserve. Community Capital New York provided the start up capital needed to renovate and equip Flavio’s salon, understanding the particulars and the neighborhood fit. Folks are justifiably raving about a new, great local option as he successfully transitions from employee to business owner.
How did you get into hair styling?
It was my Dad’s idea for me to go to beauty school at 15. I graduated at 16 and worked as an assistant to a top stylist inBrazil.
Once you started cutting and styling hair, was it love at first snip?
I love that as a hair stylist you have huge possibility and a responsibility to deliver to clients who need to feel beautiful that they are beautiful, to make them like what they see in the mirror. I’m obsessed with quality. Hair is the ultimate accessory. People usually don’t know what they need, or how to fix color or the cut. By working with their hair you can change their mood, their outlook, their lives. I get to make people feel better.
How did you get your business off the ground?
I was at a point where I couldn’t give any more of myself or my energy to a place that was not mine. Styling hair is all about dedication and heart. A loan officer at Citibank said he couldn’t help me, but knew someone who could. Once I had a business plan written, I found myself talking to Simone (Obermaier) at Community Capital, and a few weeks later I found this location in Bronxville.
And the name Mode A Salon?
‘Mode’ because hair salons have different functions or modes, not just cutting hair, and Mode A because moda means fashion, and “A” is like Class A, a first or a star.
How is your business evolving?
I’m producing 2500 15% off coupons to be distributed in Bronxville,Rye, Pelham andNew Rochelle, and advertising locally in Patch andWAG. Anyone coming in with a coupon can receive 15% off cuts, up dos, color, or blow drys.
What’s the best advice you got along the way?
Heart is everything. Have the courage to follow it, and have the heart to follow through on your ideas.
Hiring additional stylists and a make-up artist.