Successful salon owner shares his entrepreneurship story - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Successful salon owner shares his entrepreneurship story

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Posted: Sunday, September 15, 2019 8:45 pm

Almost 20 years ago Carlos Constantino came to Brownsville with a dream and $500 in his wallet.

Now, Constantino owns what probably is the most successful hair salon in the city with more than 50,000 followers across its Facebook and Instagram accounts. Soon, the professional stylist will open his cosmetology academy.

“I am an immigrant from Mexico City and I came here with new ideas, new styles and people liked it, but at the same time they didn’t, because it made them leave their comfort zone,” Constantino said in Spanish. “When I started working here in Brownsville, at the hair salon that I was at, about 18 years ago, they offered the same services to everyone, it was all the same. All the clients would come out looking the same way, it was like mass production.”

After being fired over his fresh ideas, Constantino first entered a state of shock because he did not expect it and did not have any money saved. However, that soon turned into an “aggressive passion” for him to do a market study and open his very own professional salon.

“I was in shock, because since it was unexpected, I didn’t have any money saved. Since they pay was good I would spend all my money on dumb things. … So, I rented a chair at a salon and I started to do this little market study, even though I didn’t have any idea how to make one of those,” he said. “I don’t like to sit around and wait for opportunities, I’m very aggressive with my work, so, with a notepad I would go to the mall, to Peter Piper Pizza, Kmart, and many other places and ask women about what kind of styles they like for their hair.”

Without money for gas, Constantino would walk to gynecologist’s offices and offer free services to the receptionists so they would recommend him to the women going to the office. He would carry a backpack with a shirt change and a map to find the next office.

“You have to walk the walk, you have to suffer, cry, be in the sun, in the rain, day or night, you’ll cry a lot,” Constantino said. “Here you live the American Dream; here you can have everything you ever dreamed of, as long as you work really hard.”

Constantino opened his first salon 15 years ago and what first started with him being the only stylist, and worker, now has 14 stylists and has employed more than 200 throughout the years.

“I opened at 7 a.m. and would have clients waiting outside when I got here. ‘Why don’t you open earlier?’ they would ask me because they had to go to work at 8 a.m., so, I started opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m.” he said. “I couldn’t do it alone anymore, so I started hiring one assistant, then another one and so on. Little by little, my assistants got licensed and started to become stylists who would take clients on their own and now we are 14.”

His cosmetology school had its ribbon-cutting at the end of August and Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. was present and awarded Constantino a Texas Flag along with a special recognition.

“When I first got here, I worked as a dish washer and would also clean tables at a restaurant that Senator Eddie Lucio would go often,” he said. “I would always help him with everything he needed and we would talk in Spanish because I didn’t know any English.”

They maintained a good relationship over the years and when Lucio found out that Constantino was opening a cosmetology school, he called him to offer his help.

“He asked about what kind of help we needed with our school so he could help us, that way we could all help the cosmetology community in Brownsville,” Constantino said. “The purpose of my school is to offer opportunities and hope for the community in Brownsville. I want to offer job opportunities for a lot of people.”

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com

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