A Brooklyn Success Story: Blissett Williams Teams with Pureology to Open Fourth [salon]718 Location at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Hotel
By Lenn Robbins
This is a story about determination. This a story about community. This is a story about success.
In other words, this a Brooklyn story.
Ten years ago Michaela Blissett Williams was cutting and styling hair from the basement of her Brooklyn home. That was the first unofficial [salon]718. On Thursday she opened her fourth salon, this one in the trendy 1 Brooklyn Bridge Hotel in Dumbo.
She also is the official hair stylist for the Brooklyn Nets cheerleaders and dancers. And in this location, Williams has partnered with Pureology, a leading brand of sulfate-free, 100% vegan hair products.
“When I started working out of my home I set a goal,’’ said Blissett Williams. “When I was making enough to afford a baby sitter, I’d open my own salon. My children came first. I’d put a little aside from every cut until I had enough to hire a baby sitter.
“But I never imagined it would grow into what it has become. I’m thankful for every day. And I never forget where I came from.’’
Blissett Williams, who has sons Jonathan, 20, Samuel, 15, and David, 14, was born in Jamaica. Her family moved to Long Island when she was barely 10 days old. When she grew up she began working at Maximus, one of the premier salons on the Island and soon was promoted to manager. She learned the ins and outs of the business and the seed was planted:
One day, she’d open her own salon.
Now, [salon]718 is the premiere hair salon in Brooklyn, with salons on DeKalb, Myrtle, and Vanderbilt Avenues. The newest is Blissett Williams’ joint venture with Pureology.
“We’re very excited to be associated with Michaela’s salons and this location, 1 Brooklyn Bridge, has the same philosophy as Pureology,’’ said Allison Galanowsky, sales manager at SalonCentric, distributor of Pureology. “It’s a green hotel and Pureology was founded on being an environmentally responsible company.”
[salon]718 provides a first-class experience. Clients can don robes and sip bottles of water during their styling.
“Every time I call, they get right back to me,’’ said Brooklynette Jill, who per organization rules is not allowed to provide her last name. “The experience is glamorous and my hair is perfect every time. I’m a blond and it’s hard to get the color right. They do.
“And I like their environment policy. I’ve given up plastic straws for a metal one. And I carry a shopping bag with me so I don’t use plastic bags.’’
Blissett Williams has always been ahead of the curve on social and community issues. All of her full-time employees receive health care benefits and can open a retirement fund. She encourages young entrepreneurs by offering the chance to buy into a salon.
“When I first started out as an African American woman, it was hard to get leases,’’ she said. “Landlords thought it was going to be a braiding salon. It took time for the word to get out that we’re a full service, first class salon that caters to all ethnicities and hair types. After all, Brooklyn has always prided itself on being a melting pot.
“Now I feel a responsibility to give back to the community by offering business opportunities. I never thought I’d have a chance to be a role model and I’m humbled to be in that position.’’