From cuts and color to blowouts and extensions, and now, even nailcare services, the eponymous salon established by Brooklyn-born celebrity stylist Ursula Stephen marked its third anniversary in 2016. A dream come true for the young girl who attended school and snagged one of her first salon jobs only a few blocks from its Fort Greene location, Ursula Stephen The Salon is poised to make a positive impact on the surrounding community. And Stephen does not take her role as mentor and influencer lightly.
FAB: Where did you grow up?
Ursula Stephen: I grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, and attended Sarah J. Hale Vocational High School (now Brooklyn High School for the Arts). That's where I studied cosmetology. I graduated with my diploma, along with my cosmetology license.
FAB: When did you know that you wanted to work in the beauty industry?
Ursula: Well, my first job was packing bags at a grocery, then "officially" I had a summer youth job at an office at One Centre Street -- hated it! That's when I figured out that I didn't want to work for anyone or do a 9 to 5. After that job I only worked at salons; I started as an assistant and worked my way up.
FAB: What inspired you to open your business?
Ursula: It was time to grow up. I didn't have a home base. I was traveling and working and making good money, but I wanted more.
FAB: Why did you choose Fort Greene as the location for your first salon?
Ursula: Why not Fort Greene? It's beautiful. The people are beautiful. It's diverse; it represents the person I am and the clientele I want to attract. I love the diversity and the neighborhood feel of Fort Greene. I have a couple favorite spots; Brooklyn Moon is definitely one of them! Good drinks, good energy, good food and great memories!
FAB: What do you want people to know about you and your business?
Ursula: I want the community to know that although I have "celebrity" attached to my name, I am a small business. I am very passionate about growing my business, as well as making a positive mark on the community. I'm not only here to receive, I'm here to give, as well.
FAB: You're a successful stylist, small business owner and female entrepreneur. What advice would you give to others in those same roles?
Ursula: I never thought about the sucess level. I was passionate about doing hair. So, I just did what I loved and what made me happy, and success came. I'd share that with everyone. To the would-be hairstylist: say "yes" to everything, and accept opportunities when they come. TAKE your turn. To the small business owner: be involved in your business; listen to your clients, be observant and forward-thinking. And to the female entrepreneur: be just that -- own it! Use it to your advantage. (Oh, and don't use the term "boss bitch;" it's just tacky.)
66 Lafayette Ave (S. Elliott Pl.)
Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY 11217