What makes you “Iconic”? Is it your winning personality? Is it your warm smile with matching charisma? Maybe it is the way you stride and flip your tresses? Whatever makes you iconic, embrace it and own it! Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to talk with Shiree Mcclendon, award-winning celebrity stylist, and owner of Hair Icon Beauty Bar. Not only was the conversation full of laughs and great energy, it was an amazing experience learning new concepts about the hair industry.
JT: Before we start this interview, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. How did you get started in the hair industry? How do you feel your background has shaped you into the business woman-stylist that you are today?
HI: Thank you for having me. I have been in the hair industry for over 20 years and I always enjoyed doing hair but it was something I did not want to do as a career. At 23, I found myself homeless with my children struggling. My pastor at the time prophecied to me that going back to my roots will make me successful. I have owned a salon for over 10 years and because of my tribulations, it has made me work harder. I never want to be without again!
JT: What made you come up with the name “The Hair Icon”? Do you feel as though your hair techniques are iconic?
HI: Yes my hair techniques are iconic! When my 1st salon was open, I was trying to come up with a name! Being known for many things helps you stand out!! Hair Icon ended up being the name of the salon. When I came up with the brand, I immediately thought of “The Hair Icon”.
JT: If you were not in the hair industry, what would your career be and why?
HI: If I was not in the hair industry, I would definitely be in the psychology field or a counselor. I love to help people who are in need. It is not about how well you do hair, it is about you and your personality. If they like you, they will love you! Showing yourself first is important.
JT: Why is it so important to give back to the community? Is your brand involved in any activities in VA or ATL?
HI: I came from nothing and made myself into something. It is very important to give back because my background was just as rocky as the next person. Helping people into a better situation makes my day.
Because of her helping spirit, Mcclendon not only has the respect of her peers, family, friends, and clients but those who aspire to be just as successful as she is!
JT: You do a lot of styles. What is your favorite style that you are obsessed with?
HI: Long and straight. It makes me look slimmer and it shapes my face well! LOL
JT: LOL!!! RIGHT!! Tell me more about your background. What struggles did you face as a black business owner?
HI: I was born in Chicago, but when I was 5 we moved to Memphis. After high school, we moved to Virginia due to my family being in the military. My mother was a single parent with 3 children depending on her. She felt like this was the best move for her and her kids. In my opinion, it was meant for me to be in Virginia because it helped my business flourish.
JT: Why is branding so important and how has the use of social media helped your brand?
HI: Branding is so important because it individualizes you. You have to keep in mind what separates you from the rest? Your packaging and the way you advertise is key! Locally, there are not enough people who understand the quality and importance of investing in your brand. So many people are selling the same thing. I am a hairstylist and a product producer. I am doing hair and teaching you how to maintain your beauty.
JT: What made you develop the cordless flat iron? WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS HAVE YOU DEVELOPED? Are you looking to create any more?
HI: I was doing hair and make up backstage for a concert. I needed to touch up an artist’s hair and nothing was accessible! I started thinking if I had a flatiron handy, I could touch her up! I knew I wanted a flat iron, but something easy, on the go and not typical! At the time, laces were taking over! It was alot of complaints that laces were sliding and the client did not have any control of the unit. I created something called MELT and it stands out. MELT gives you the illusion that the lace is melting into your scalp or hairline and holds the unit in place. It is the top seller behind the wig line.
JT: What advice can you deliver to young people who want to become a stylist?
HI: Stay consistent! It’s very competitive and you have to educate yourself on other hair techniques. Networking events and referring your clients to other stylists is key! It keeps the dollar circulating. It is more than enough money out here so everyone can be successful. I invest in others brands and that’s how I have become so successful.
JT: How long does it usually take to create, color, and style a wig?
HI: Usually between 2-3 hours. It also depends on what type of hair and color. When purchasing a wig, expect a 14 day turn around.
JT: What inspires you to create marvelous styles daily?
HI: I want to remain relevant and I will never look back into the past. I came in this industry when we didn’t have social media. Clients started texting me and it was so weird. It is very important because things change fast!! Its critical that you keep up with the latest styles. You need to know what’s in and hot.
JT: What is your definition of TRUE URBAN CULTURE?
HI: TRUE URBAN CULTURE is anything that stems from your roots. The stigma is being urban means being black. It also deals with wherever you are from and what values your parents instilled in you. A lot of people who become successful, forget to reset and help those who are trying to get to the top. It is smarter to move as a unit versus alone!!!