I had the pleasure of being invited to Naturals Night Out in San Francisco last month, hosted by Natural Selection Blogger Cassadie Blackwell and Madusalon. I had heard rave reviews on our Salon Finder pages and was anxious to visit the renowned curly salon. Immediately upon arrival I was more than impressed not only by the diverse amount of curls that the stylists themselves were rocking (not to mention blue locs”>, but also by the energetic vibe that even passersby were noticing.
Owner Marie Cesar rightfully takes credit for the success of this curl haven in the bustling Bay Area. We had the chance to get behind the scenes and ask her a few questions about the successful salon.
NaturallyCurly: Tell me a little bit about how you got started as a stylist, and how natural hair became your focus.
Marie Cesar: I was born in Petion Ville, Haiti, and settled in the Bay Area. I have been a stylist for 22 years. As a black woman, I think we are beautiful and shouldn’t have to alter our looks to conform to what society expects of us. I can find beauty in everyone and wanted a salon that reflected that. I am completely against the idea that we have to chemically straighten our hair in order for us to feel beautiful.
In 1994, when I was pregnant, after several years of wearing braids, I decided to wear my hair natural. When I was was working as a stylist in a salon on Haight Street, I was fortunate enough to run into Lisa Bonet of “The Cobsy Show,” and she reinforced my decision because she no longer had her long, beautiful locks. Instead, she had chin-length curls. I remarked to her that her hair was beautiful both as locks and as curls and wanted to know what she did to maintain them. She told me “to be patient, because our hair is fragile. Don’t tug on it and don’t be discouraged. And don’t go and straighten it.”
Over the years I have worked with a number natural haircare products and have become a advocate of natural curly, kinky, wavy and all kinds of hair. I love all kinds of hair! As I believe you should care about what you put in your body, and that includes your hair as it is part of your body. We check the product lines carefully for their ingredients—much the same way you would look at the labels on your food. If you pollute your hair, you pollute your body. I have tried many haircare lines in my industry, eventually settling on DevaCurl, Jessicurl, Miss Jessie’s and Eufora.
MC: We have been in business for nine years. When we were setting up Madusalon, my husband, Russ, and I, were three weeks away from opening and we still hadn’t decided on a name. He liked the name Medusa but I felt that it was too cliché and suggested we keep looking. I thought about naming the salon after the Haitian Deity Eruzlie, when my phone rang and it was my aunt calling me from Haiti and after our conversation she called me by her nickname for me, Madudunne, a term of affection meaning “my love, my sweet, my heart.” And from that came “Madusalon.” It reflects the love of my hair, the fierceness of style and “my do”—representing hair as an personal expressionNC: How long has Madusalon been in the Bay Area? What inspired the name of the salon?
NC: Your salon boasts diversity with hair types. Is it hard to find stylists to be part of your team who know how to work with all textures?
MC: I don’t think so in my case because I take the time to train them. Almost every stylist is my salon has been my assistant until they are ready to go to the floor.