48 year old Shellee Mendes, owner of Boston’s Salon Monet and highly sought out hairstylist to the stars, is the picture of success. Married mother of two, thriving entrepreneur with a business on Newbury Street (it’s kinda like 5th Avenue for Boston) and SOLE black salon owner in this elite area.
Yet to know her success is to only know half her story; seeing the struggle from which she emerged is a testament to what hard work, positivity and having the courage to follow your dreams can create.
Almost 20 years ago, a shelter in Quincy, Mass. that provides housing to homeless or financially struggling women provided Mendes with an apartment for her and her children to live rent-free for 8 months. That time allowed her to save up from her job at John Hancock Insurance and her part-time gig washing hair at Vidal Sassoon.
She continued to hold down both jobs while going to school to get her stylist’s license and taking care of her two small children. After a long 12 years, she was finally able to build up a strong enough client base from her stints at various salons and save up enough to finally open up her own shop on the chic Newbury Street.
Her clients now flock from all over Massachusetts to get their hair in her hands. Mendes is now in the process of organizing a fundraising event that she hopes will raise $10,000 for the same shelter that gave her a second chance at living her dreams.
From public housing being her own boss…where there’s a will, there’s a way.