Huda Quhshi’s Brooklyn Salon Is a Safe Haven for Women in Hijabs
Owner of Le’Jemalik salonÂ Huda QuhshiÂ is on cloud nine right now after celebrating theÂ grand opening of her women-only salon this past January.
With the creation of her salon, she has built a safe placeÂ for hijab-wearing womenÂ to receive hair services without the worry of unexpected men walking in on them with their hair exposed. However, this isÂ not just a space where Muslim women can be pampered, but for all women. She offers a variety of services including selling pre-worn wedding dresses for bridesÂ on a budget, and providing everything needed to create a luxurious experience.
Fulfilling a dream she has had since a teenager, Huda is making big waves in the BK. Scroll down to read our interview with her.
So, tell me a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?
So, my parents are from Yemen. Iâ€™m Yemeni American. I was born and raised here in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Iâ€™m a mother of three and entrepreneur.
Before becoming a salon owner, what were you doing? How did you get start working in the beauty industry?
Well, I always been into the beauty industry. I was a makeup artist. I worked MAC Cosmetics in the past, for Benefit Cosmetic, andÂ at makeup counters. At 10 I was doing henna on my mom and since 17 I always knew I wanted a salon â€” sketched it out already. My dream has always been to open a salon one day. Being in the beauty industry is just something that just came natural to me since I was a kid.
How did you come about opening your salon, Le’Jemalik?
Like I said, itâ€™s always been my dream to open a salon. It was just a matter of time Like right timing and finding the right location. So yeah, itâ€™s always been my dream. I needed to be ready for it. I knew it was coming I just didnâ€™t know when.
What does Le’Jemalik mean? How did you come up with the name?
I named it Le’Jemalik because what I do is more than just makeup. Previously I used to go by the name “Eyezonumakeup,” but since what we do is everything beauty I wanted a name that involved all things beauty and it took me years to come up with not only the name, but also the logo. I wanted to include something that also connected my background as a Yemeni American, who also speaks Arabic. So, that’s when I decide to use the Arabic word Lejemalik, which means “for your beauty” and so when creating my logo, I wanted to make sure it was written in Arabic with a message to non-speaking Arabic people. So here I created the tiara which also says Ù„Ø¬Ù…Ø§Ù„Ùƒ (Lejemalik) in Arabic.
Since itâ€™s a women-only salon, how do you handle male visitors?
We have a reception area, which is an open space for men to come and wait for the woman in their life. In the area, we have two doors that swing in and then they swing right back out. So, men waiting inside canâ€™t see the women inside who are revealing their hair. Itâ€™s a nice comfortable space in the frontÂ for them.
Why did you choose to open shop in Brooklyn?
Bay Ridge was my choice because first itâ€™s a very diverse neighborhood â€” very family oriented. I love the area. It has a big Middle Eastern community here. Being that Iâ€™ve been doing this for almost 20 years now, all of my clientele comes from different places in New York. From Yonkers to the Bronx to Queens to Long Island to Staten Island, but mostly from Brooklyn.
Your salon has been opened for a few weeks now. Howâ€™s everything going so far?Â
Good! I mean I have a lot people coming in to take a tour because they want to see what it looks like inside. So, a lot of are people are coming to just take a look at it and see what itâ€™s like. You know, feel out the place and see howÂ really private is it and if it’s a place they can come and get a luxury service and relax at the same time. So, itâ€™s beginning to look like a tourist spot (laughs).
Did you expect things to happen like it is now with all the press and everything?Â
No, not at all. Honestly, I think that this is God-sent. I really did not expect this. For our grand opening, we prepared about 200 giveaway bags. You know expecting about 200 people maybe, tops to come and we were opening and it was overflowing outside with over 600 people that came. People couldnâ€™t get in. It was insane. I couldnâ€™t believe it.
What kind of services does the salon offer?
So, we offer all services because we want it be a one-stop shop for all our clientele, but especially our bridal because in my career most of it I was doing brides. I would go to their homes and do their hair and makeup, but then there were services that they needed that were very difficult for me to perform in their houses like cuts, color, and nails. It was really difficult to do all the service in their homes. So, I wanted to make sure we offer that all that here. We do the waxing. We have bridal packages that include facials. With that you get the skincare, your nails, your color and cut, your treatment and then on your wedding you get your hair and makeup done. We also have a pre-love gown section, where we sell gowns that were pre-worn, worn once that are half the price because not everybody can afford a designer gown for the full price. So, itâ€™s only worn once and still in amazing condition.
Why do you feel it is so important for others to embrace people and their needs outside of their culture?
Out there right now, everybody saying, “Oh, itâ€™s a Muslim place, itâ€™s a Muslim place.” Itâ€™s not, itâ€™s a womanâ€™s place. That I can say. Because Iâ€™ve gotten so many heartfelt, warm messages from so many women who are Christian, who are Jewish, who are from other ethnicities and other religions, who are so excited about this place. They are telling me how happy they are that there is a safe place for women to come and get their hair done and just have this luxury space where they can come get pampered without worrying about a man coming in. So, itâ€™s not only for Muslim women, but many women are just so excited about this.
I get a lot of people that are like, â€œWell, Muslim women cover. Why do you need to do your hair?â€ If they educate themselves, they would know that Muslim women pamper themselves a lot â€” we do show our hair, we do go to parties, we do get to enjoy ourselves, and get dressed up. Just like any other woman, we want our hair cut and hair colored. I know itâ€™s the same for Orthodox Jewish women and just anyone who just wants to pamper themselves. Weâ€™re still women at the end of the day. We like to look pretty, right?Â
Anything else you want the readers to know about you and/or the salon?
Itâ€™s open for all women. Weâ€™re very much about women empowerment and I like to support other women. Weâ€™re going to be teaching classes on Mondays for other women to learn from beginner to advance classes. So, I just want to support all women out there. I appreciate everyoneâ€™s support and love.
For more info aboutÂ Huda’s salon, click here.