By Fabian Sandler
It is natural for children to think about what they want to be when they grow up. Some of us dream of being architects, others know early on that they want to be teachers. Some kids dress up their dolls and become fashion designers as adults. Other children enjoy playing sports and end up realizing their dreams when they become professional athletes. Some kids play doctor and finally become one. Some youngsters play with other children’s hair.
Mercedes Alanis knew what she wanted to become at an early age. She wanted to be a hair stylist. She is now the owner of Mercedes Salon. She has been in business for four years, but has worked there for eleven and a hair stylist for sixteen. She has always wanted to own her own salon. “Since I was little,” she admits. “I used to play with other kids’ hair.”
She finally realized her dream by buying the salon. “I didn’t think about it, I just did it. It was a dream come true,” the native of El Salvador says proudly. She came to the U.S. in 1992 and has lived in Channelview and Baytown, ever since.
She is not a force of one, of course. She has other stylists and specialists working with and for her. Jose Guerrero is a hair stylist. “Everybody is good at what they do,” Mercedes attests. “But the person who helped me see color in different ways this last year is Jose. He sees things differently. He helps me be better.”
Juanita, Veronica (Vero), Cynthia and Ana are the other hair stylists. Maria is the nail tech. With the exception of Ana, each of the ladies has been with the salon from two to six years.
Beyond expected services like cutting and trimming hair, Mercedes feels that she specializes in hair color. “We do more vivid and bright colors,” she explains, pointing to her own hair, which is a rainbow of her work. “As you can see, I like to play with colors.”
Mercedes says that men seem to be more inclined in getting the grey out of their hair than women. Men come to the salon to color their mustaches and beards, as well.
Part of the process of hair coloring is knowing how to take care of hair when the coloring needs to be removed. Mercedes says that customers sometimes come in who have had a bad experience coloring their own hair.
Mercedes relates the story of one customer with blonde hair who colored her hair black. “She had patches of red and other different colors. When she left here she said she felt like she had surgery. Her hair turned out beautiful. But that’s what can happen when you do it at home. I have a few that color their hair at home and I help them with it.”
As mentioned, Mercedes is a walking advertisement for her hair coloring service. Her hair does not suffer from it. “I put deep conditioner in my hair. Knowing how to care for your hair helps to keep it on your head and not in your brush. Corrective color is hard and not everyone can do it.
Other services include pedicures; manicures; fingernail shellac; facials; hair extensions; and eyelashes, including eyelash extensions.
Mercedes is developing plans for opening another salon in Baytown, on Garth Road north of I-10. “It will be called Mercedes Salon Unique Boutique,” she states. She hopes to open this month. “It will be more upscale. It’s going to have everything. People can go in for tanning. It’s going to be for facials, eyelashes, threading. Threading is something new for the eyebrows.”
Eyebrow threading is a means of removing unwanted hairs with cotton thread or string. For many, it is a preferred method to waxing or tweezing by removing even the tiniest of hairs at once, giving eyebrows a more uniform look.
Mercedes feels it is important to give back to the community. She is waiting to be part of the process at the Women’s Center here in Baytown to be active.
Customers come to her from as far as Beaumont. Salon hours are 9 AM to 7 PM Mondays through Fridays, 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays, and on Sundays 10 AM to 3 PM. Walk-ins are welcomed. Appointments are welcomed as well, especially for services like hair coloring that will take longer. The address is 1023 Massey Tompkins Road in Baytown. The phone number is 281-422-4231. Look for them on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/mercedessalonbaytown/ Testimonials are posted there. The website is www.mercedessalonbaytown.com.
As a special for back to school this month, hair cuts for school kids under eighteen years old are only $10 when they mention this article.
Mercedes firmly believes in treating the customer right. “They are part of the family when they come here,” she says. “We don’t have a street sign outside like at other places. We go by word-of-mouth [for our business], friends telling friends about us, and the reviews on Facebook. New people come in every single day. When they’re here they feel like part of the family because we treat the customers the way we do.”
Salon owner Mercedes Alanis has had plenty of time to plan out how she wanted to run her business. She has dreamt of it since she was a little girl.