Michele Milazzo, 28
Owner, Michele Lisa Salon
Google Michele Lisa Salon, and you’ll find five-star Yelp reviews and a recently bestowed accolade from The Knot (the salon was voted a 2015 Best of Weddings winner). Enter the salon and you’ll find an enterprise bursting with loyal, satisfied clients. When you leave, you’ll have your hair done to your liking and your next appointment booked at checkout. It would be easy to assume this salon was under the guiding eye of someone with several decades of experience—but that’s not the case here. Owner Michele Milazzo launched her career at 16 as a stylist’s assistant and opened Michele Lisa Salon in Cortlandt Manor the day after her 25th birthday. Less than four years later, the salon has a new location, and Milazzo has expansion plans to double capacity this spring. She has averaged 85 percent year-over-year revenue growth, and her 12 employees and six stations are humming away to the tune of 120 clients weekly.
• Milazzo is partnered with former Wunderkind, Ryford Estores, in marketing and selling the Self-Cut System (for men) and Self-Style System (for women). These are products designed to maximize the ease and feasibility of cutting and styling your own hair.
• Says Milazzo about opening a salon at such a young age: “I had to prove constantly to vendors, salon guests, peers, family, and professional associates that, yes, I’m 25 and never had a business, but I know what people need from their hair and how to cater to them in the most professional way. And I will not stop until I accomplish that.”
• Milazzo sees an average of 50 clients per week (that’s almost half of the salon’s traffic).