Today we’d like to introduce you to Merlande Petithomme.
Merlande, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be a hairstylist. However, in Haitian culture, a hairstylist wasn’t seen as a “true” profession compared to a doctor, nurse or lawyer. But I was determined to follow my dream. I can remember spending my summers coming up with different hairstyles for my dolls. I would spend hours a day perfecting my braiding, parting and curling techniques. I eventually upgraded to using my sister as a “mannequin” to test out my skills. By the time I turned 15, I was offering basic services like box braids, finger waves and the oh so popular microwave ponytails.
After graduating high school, I attended Florida A&M University, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. I decided to go back to my hometown of Lakeland, FL and start cosmetology school because I knew in my heart that’s what I wanted to do full time.
Once I got my license, I landed a job opportunity with The Salon by InStyle inside of JCPenney in Tallahassee, FL. I was able to quickly work my way up to a Master Stylist. I also served as the salon’s Lead Artistic Master Stylist. After being there for nine years, I decided to take a leap of faith and moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue my dream of having my own salon.
In 2016, I opened Platinum Salon by Merlande, a full-service salon catering to all hair types and textures. I offer everything from a basic trim to what I call my signature “Platinum” sew-in.
Since opening the salon, I’ve expanded my business offerings to include my line of luxury hair extensions (Cheve Platinum) and 3D mink lashes (Platinum Lashes by Merlande).
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been an absolute rollercoaster! Being an entrepreneur and first-time business owner means you have to wear several different hats or in my case, wigs. In the span of a day, I can go from hairstylist to accountant to repairwoman. On top of that, opening a salon in a city I had never lived in and was brand new to was very hard. In the beginning, I could go a week without any clients.
It’s also a lot of learning as you go and taking risks that may not pay off. But through it all, I’ve remained positive and use the struggles to fuel me. Having an incredible support system like my parents and siblings has made all the difference as well.
Please tell us about Platinum Salon by Merlande.
At the Platinum Salon by Merlande, I offer a range of hair care services all catered to making sure every client leaves feeling like a Queen or King. This includes hair extensions, silk presses, natural hairstyling, coloring and more.
What makes me unique or sets me apart if you will, is my in-depth understanding of different hair textures and what it takes to achieve a beautiful and lasting hairstyle. This is in part due to my own personal hair struggles. I suffered from tumors as a child, which caused permanent damage to my hair. This is also how I got into creating custom wig units that look as if it grew out of your scalp.
Aside from creating custom wig units, some of my other specialties include short hairstyles, sew-ins, and silk presses.
What I’m most proud of as a hairstylist and entrepreneur is being able to watch my business blossom. One of my greatest accomplishments to date professionally was being invited to the 2017 Bronner Bros. World Famous Hair Battle. This is an invite-only competition featuring some of the best master stylists in the industry. This same competition was featured in the Chris Rock movie Good Hair. It was an amazing experience and as a first-time competitor. I was able to bring in a WOW factor to my production with my grand entrance on a camel… yes, a camel!
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to take it one day at a time. Each day will bring a new challenge that I must embrace and tackle. Of course, there are quite a few things I would have liked to do differently. But if I had, I wouldn’t have learned the valuable lessons along the way.
- 3D Mink Lashes $25
- 100% Virgin Hair Bundles start at $75
- Silk Presses start at $75
- Coloring Services start at $75
- Sew-Ins start at $145
- Address: Platinum Salon by Merlande
227 Sandy Springs Pl #422
Sandy Springs, GA 30328
- Website: www.platinumhairexperience.com
- Phone: (770) 771-1981
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/platinumhairexperience
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/platinumhairexperience
Merlande Solo in Black – Neil Lee Photography @neilleephoto, Three Hair Models – Neil Lee Photography @neilleephoto, Platinum Team (Three Ladies in Front of Black Backdrop) – Velma Joseph, Bronner Bros. Hair Battle Team – Velma Joseph