Written by Betsy Abraham Thursday, 22 August 2013 00:00
The afro is making a comeback. More and more African American women are saying no to the chemicals and embracing their natural hair. For Courtney Crandall, owner of Icon West in Westbury, the shift from chemicals to more natural hair patterns has been challenging but exciting. She opened her Maple Avenue salon in April, saying she saw a need in the area for an upscale salon that focused on hair care.
“There’s a lot of salons in the area that don’t focus on natural hair care,” Crandall said. “Women are moving away from chemicals and processing their hair and getting back to their natural pattern, and with that comes a totally different skill set.”
“I really enjoy doing natural hair,” she says. “You have to find different ways to maintain and care for it. It’s like with a new mindset comes change and I like the challenge of keeping up with that change.”
At her salon, she provides a variety of services including helping clients maintain their natural hair with conditioning and treatments. She also does weaving, dreadlock grooming, coloring and cutting.
For Crandall, opening Icon West was a dream come true. She first got an interest in the hairstyling business while modeling at age 19. Watching stylists work during shoots sparked her love for the hairstyling business. After modeling for a few years, she started a career in the Sales/Public Relation business for various fashion companies. Though she worked long hours in the city, she would still devote nights and weekends to cultivating her love of styling at salons on Long Island.
“(Sales) was a grueling business, but hair was my refuge,” she says.
Not only was she growing her skills, but she was also able to build up a clientele. When the company she was working for closed, she decided to take a leap of faith and open the salon.
And while it’s not a large space, it has everything Crandall needs to make her clients feel like they’re getting their hair done by a friend. Crandall says she wanted to avoid a “factory setting” at her salon, but instead, wanted to create a welcoming, personal environment where women could unwind.
“I wanted the service to be done well and the atmosphere to allow people to relax after a long day. Being comfortable was important,” Crandall said. “There’s a lot of great hairstylists, but what else can you offer in terms of the whole environment?”
Crandall sees five to eight clients a day, and has already had to add another part time stylist to accommodate the growing demand on the weekends. In the future, she’s hoping to open up a salon in Suffolk County and a store that sells extensions.
“I am so proud that I overcame so many obstacles to get here,” Crandall said. “This was my dream, I envisioned it, and I pursued it. And now I wake up every morning excited to go to work, to open these doors, and to let people know the salon is here.”
Icon West is located at 340 Maple Avenue and is open Tuesdays to Saturdays and Monday by appointment. For more information or to make an appointment call 516-410-0185.