Chelsea Harris, owner of Salon 52 Hair Studio Inc.
in Poughkeepsie, works on a bride. Photo by Elissa Davidson
By Kathleen Fitzpatrick Maffetone
Saturday, September 17, 2011
POUGHKEEPSIE - Chelsea Harris, owner of Salon
52 Hair Studio Inc. in Poughkeepsie, opened her own salon at the age of 23 in
Perhaps that’s what comes
of an early interest in hair care and makeup.
“At the age of 7 and 9, me and my sister would
cut our dolls’ hair,” Chelsea remembers, seated in her waiting area of the salon
on Route 9.
Their Barbie Dolls didn’t just get a haircut;
they dyed and styled the dolls' hair, too, she said. Her mom was more than happy to have her girls
occupied playing salon — except when the sisters took scissors to each other’s
hair, Chelsea laughed.Now 24, newly married and having just bought a
house—all in the same year she opened the doors to her new business—Chelsea is
looking for a new space for the salon to call home. She thinks she’ll need
something twice the size of her place now, which is about 1,200 square feet, she
said.Salon 52, named for being the family’s lucky
digits (her dad, a retired Poughkeepsie town police officer, had badge #52, and
her parents’ anniversary is May 2, or 5/2), is growing fast. A year ago, Chelsea
opened the salon, located across the street from Marist College in College
Plaza, with one other stylist and herself. Now she has six stylists and makeup
artists working at the salon, a group of women who have served as both friends
and mentors at various salons in the area since she got her start at age 15.
Chelsea grew up in Hyde Park and graduated from
Roosevelt High School, where she met her husband, Austin. She was involved in
competitive cheerleading and loved the sport so much she continued to coach
until last year, when she opened the business. She still misses it, she
said.Her cheerleading squad in high school provided
a lot of support while she was attending BOCES beauty school in her junior and
senior years, in more ways than one, she said.
“I had a whole 40-member team to practice on,”
she said. “One of my teammates came in (the salon) the other day, and remembered
me working on her hair.”
After working for a number of years, she began
to tire of the business, she said, but found a new inspiration that kept her
from walking away.
“At a certain point, I wasn’t sure I wanted to
keep doing hair,” she said. “I started doing weddings, and that got my creative
juices flowing again.”
The salon is featured on Wedding Wire,
a website for wedding planning that sends her clients from all over, she said.
Chelsea now specializes in weddings and will take on any bride, she said.
“I can make any bride happy,” she says
Opening her own salon was a natural
progression, she said.
“I guess I have a certain spirit about me that
I can’t keep contained,” she said. “And I said, ‘What the heck? What’s the worst
that can happen?’”
A friend told her about the space opening up at
College Plaza, and Chelsea decided it was a great opportunity, she said.
Part of what keeps her energized is the charity
work she, the stylists and customers participate in. They volunteered at
“Extreme Makeover,” a show that helped a family out in Orange County, and
donated pink hair extensions to raise money for the Miles of Hope Walk in
LaGrange. On Aug. 7, the crew participated in an AIDS Awareness Fantasy Hair
Show at the Poughkeepsie Tennis Club. Their theme, “Alice in Wonderland,” wowed
the crowd and was a lot of fun, she said. Next up is “Stuff the Bus,” where the
salon will take food donations to bus to the Hudson Valley Food Pantry.
“We have so many amazing people who come here,”
she said of her customers. “We want to start (the food collections) now so we
can make a huge donation.”
Chelsea personally specializes in brides,
relaxers, fashion shows and makeup, she said, and her stylists have a wide range
of talent. Check out their Facebook page: Studio 52 Hair Studio Inc.; their
or call (845) 483-1177. The salon is located at 11 Marist Drive, Poughkeepsie, NY, 12603. It’s
open Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.
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