Wafaya Abdallah is owner and stylist and Oasis Hair Salon in Rockville, MD. She specializes in the art of curly hair cutting and styling, and her salon specifically focuses on the needs of textured/curly hair clients.
Tell us how you were introduced to the curly hair salon industry.
Our salon has focused on curly hair since 2008. It really all started because our clients kept asking if we had heard of The Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey. Being skeptical, we doubted the validity of a book we hadn't even read. One day a sales rep stopped by and gave us the book and products to try. Only because clients had mentioned it did we even look at it. Once we read the book, we understood this was real. Finally, us curly women were understood. Lorraine came to our salon a month later and the rest is history. Everyone who works here has attended Deva Education several times and now we are part of Curly Hair Artistry (CHA).
What does everyone know you for?Our clientele best know us for specializing in wavy, curly and multi textured hair. We are known also for our warm and relaxing atmosphere. Just another feature that differentiates us is that we host a lot of social justice events. For example, JIDS (Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society), Falling Whistles which is a non-profit advocating and rehabilitating boy soldiers in the Congo. In September, we will be hosting Lorraine Massey to raise money for the "Keep A Child Alive Foundation". As a team we volunteer quarterly in our local community as part of our giving back initiative. Also, all of the accessories we carry are from fair trade organizations from around the world that support women and children.
You are a part of the Curly Hair Artistry, as well.We became part of CHA in January 2013, when it was first formed. A friend and fellow curl stylist, that lives in Ohio, Jessica Ackerman Guster introduced me to Scott Musgrave. I fell in love with the vision so much that now I am part of the master educators team with CHA. Our salon is now home of The Curly Hair Artistry Spring Symposium every year. We are so honored to hold that title.
What is one thing you wish every curly knew about their hair?
I wish every curly knew that their hair is stunning! Once taught how to care for it, it is magnificent. I tell my curly clients who straighten their hair sometimes that they lose their super powers that way. When a curly person walks into a room they cannot be ignored.
The curly and textured hair scene in the DC area has taken off, particularly among the millennials. We see all kinds of lovely natural hair and it is gorgeous.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My youngest son Zak inspires me in my daily life. He has mild cerebral palsy--as you can imagine in middle school, it's hard to have a difability (young people's term for disability). Yet no matter what social obstacles he faces, he is always ready for school early with a smile on his face excited for the day! He keeps a can-do positive attitude in life. How can I have an excuse for doing less than my best with an example like that in my life.
What are you most proud of?
In late 2007, we changed our business structure to "team based" taught by Strategies Salon and Spa Consulting and Mr. Neil DuCoff. To take a commission-based salon to a salary and team based salon was difficult. Yet the culture we now have is worth everything we went through to get here. We have such a positive, all for one and one for all mentality. Every client that walks in says that the energy in the salon is amazing. Working with the most talented and devoted group of people that are here is such a gift. Doing things differently whether specializing in naturally curly hair or structuring a business with a team mentality is always challenging, yet very rewarding.