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The Empowering Reason This Salon Owner Started a Nonprofit for Her Community

2017-04-24 09:54:35

The Empowering Reason This Salon Owner Started a Nonprofit for Her Community

This Maryland-based salon owner wants her staff and business to model what inclusion should look like in the curly hair community.

My name is Wafaya Abdallah. I am the owner of Oasis Hair Salon in Rockville, Maryland.

I started embracing my natural curls in my twenties when I became a hairdresser. Of course I didn't really know how to get the best out of my hair until I was introduced to Lorraine Massey and Deva Curl in 2008. Being Egyptian, I was always taught that straight hair is more beautiful. Even though most people there have curly hair, they encouraged women to straighten their curls.

I was always a rebel, so I started experimenting with my natural hair as a teenager. I knew I wanted to pursue this career path while graduating from college; I thought I would go to law school but I also wanted a fun job to help support myself and pay for my education. Once I started learning hairdressing, I fell in love! After being introduced to curly hair in 2008, I knew that is what we should focus on as a salon.

The power of positive leadership

We have a leadership team at the salon, and we are working on their development, so we just added Jon Gordon's new book, The Power of Positive Leadership, to our team's reading library. If we can develop excellent leadership in our company, only good things will follow. We all read The Energy Bus and loved the message. It gave us a common language and understanding of how to improve our culture. So when we saw his latest book about positive leadership, we had to have it. Positive leadership is empowering, inspiring and the absolute best way to lead--so far, it is a fantastic book with wonderful insights as well as tools to use.

If we can develop excellent leadership in our company, only good things will follow. 
- Wafaya, Oasis Salon

In our company, reading is a requirement for team development.

The first book everyone reads as soon as they start their employment here is The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo. Then The Energy Bus, then Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of A Team.  Other books include, Who Moved My Cheese, The Hard Hat, and The Noticer, to name a few.

We have a "give back to the community" component, because we love it. When we first started 12 years ago, it was twofold. For one, we had no budget for advertising--but we had time. So we thought, we need to get our name out there, but with a positive message. We started volunteering in our community doing hair in homeless shelters, hospitals, and even offered complimentary services to educators in our community. As our business grew, we decided that volunteering in our community and giving  back was very important to us. Now we continue to volunteer.

 

A current event that is close to our heart is modeling what inclusion looks like for our community.

We recently started a nonprofit organization called A Place in The World. In it we intern differently-abled individuals, train them to do support work in our salon such as sweeping, folding towels, and keeping our space in order. We then will reach out to the community to place them in other businesses.

We did just remodel our salon to include the ability to host more social justice events.

There are many of our clients and members of our community that are doing such positive work that we want to host events highlighting that work. Examples are Heartbeat, founded by Aaron Shneyer. This nonprofit uses music to empower Israeli and Palestinian youth to transform conflict. It is such an important time to focus on our unity and this is why we created the Unity Stage in our salon.

Will you be around on Wednesday?

Let Your Silvery Light Shine Through! Spend an evening with Lorraine Massey, Author of Curly Girl The Handbook, to talk about her new book, Silver Hair. The event is April 26th with limited seats, so RSVP to receptionist@oasis-salon.com. Oasis Salon will also be accepting donations for their organization, A Place in The World.

 

Do you know a stylist or salon that is doing something empowering for the community?

Tell us in the comment section below and on the NC Facebook.

 

Book an appointment at Oasis Salon and find more information on Wafaya and the crew at www.oasis-salon.com and on Facebook.

Read Self-Care Is Necessary For Good Business--Just Ask This Successful Salon Owner

Devri Velázquez

Devri Velázquez

NC Content Editor Devri is a passionate writer with a deep appreciation for all forms of expressive art and culture. After being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease in 2011, Devri's personal mission has been to empower other women to focus on their individual self-care and wellness.

Instagram: Devri Velázquez
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