On Sunday, the East Boston Chamber of Commerce joined Karina Santos to help celebrate the opening of her new beauty salon in Orient Heights Square.
The Chamber, Santos and Santos’s team of trained stylists that make up the “Blessed” salon staff officially cut the ribbon on the new East Boston business.
“It’s great to be here to celebrate another businesswoman opening up another small business in the community,” said Chamber President Jim Kearney. “On behalf of the entire Chamber membership and board we wish you nothing but success.”
Blessed is located on the first floor of 973 Saratoga St. in Orient Heights Square and owned by Santos who has had 10 years of experience as a hairdresser.
“I just want to thank my entire family,” said Santos. “Without them I would never have been able to do this.”
At Sunday’s ribbon-cutting Santos said she first got inspired to become a hairdresser while helping her mom, Maria Gracey Moldonado, as a child.
“I remember when I was 6 years old my mother use to have her friends come over and she would dye their hair and make them look pretty,” said Santos. “It was really nice to see my mom do something for women that made them feel pretty and beautiful. That really inspired me to want to do that.”
It was at this very young age that Santos’s mom began trusting her daughter as an unofficial helper.
“She would say to me, ‘Come over here, grab the brush’ or ‘get me the blow dryer,’ said Santos. “It was once a week and then every three days then every day and it just became routine.”
When Santos entered high school she would do hair and styling out of the family’s home for friends and classmates. It was then she realized she wanted to pursue a career in hairdressing.
“So I went to school and worked for seven years at a salon,” said Santos. “Then I worked for one year at Chuma (a former hair salon next door to Blessed) and then out of my home for the past year. I am happy that I have a great support system–my family and the girls that I have been telling to come work with me. These girls left their jobs, their careers to do something they wanted and I wanted to help them. They took that big step and now we are here.”
The ‘girls’ Santos referred to are Ashley Martinez ,Yuliana Ayala and Sam Lopez who will all work alongside Santos at Blessed.
“I wanted to thank Karina for giving us this space to express ourselves and be ourselves,” said Lopez. “I graduated (hairdressing school) a year ago and I hadn’t found a place that felt like home but this feels like home. I feel like now I’m doing something that I wanted to do for a very long time.”