Melessa Denee's business card, which identifies her as a "weavologist extraordinaire," extends a pretty enticing invitation: "Come and be blessed by hands truly blessed by the best."
The veteran stylist, who's owned salons in Delaware for more than 20 years and has specialized almost exclusively in weave for more than a decade, believes that her God-given talent obliges her to make beauty accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or their means. It's the reason she's opened Melessa's Weave Palace and Multicultural Hair Salon
at 1047 S. Charles St. in Federal Hill, where she prides herself on catering to clients of all ages, genders, races, and sexual orientations.
While the new salon, calming in shades of chocolate, cream and gold, is equipped for four stylists and two nail techs, Melessa can invariably found in the private weave room that affords her clients privacy during their visit. She offers a wide range of procedures, including custom-made lace front and full lacewigs, toupees, and partial and full weaves.
"I've had a gift since I was a child," Denee says. "My mom has shown me the dolls whose hair I cut off, dying it green or blue. In high school I did everyone's hair in the community. I went to college and majored in fashion, but I came back to hair. A needle in my hand is like a pencil or a pen in the hand of a writer. It seems to be so easy for me."
While roughly 75% of Denee's clients are women of color, she says she sees a number of white women suffering from hair loss, Asian women who are eager to try experimental styles, and men who want to fight balding. She mentions a recent Honduran client who had not been home to see his family in a decade and wanted her to cover up the bald patch that had materialized during his years in the States.
Denee has a loyal client base across the country. She routinely travels to see customers in Georgia, Florida, California, and Arizona, and advertises in those areas a week or two in advance of her trip to additional clients. It was while coming to Baltimore frequently to visit her fiancé that Denee, who operates salons in Wilmington and Middletown, DE, gained a client base in the city through advertisements and decided to set up a physical location.
Denee, who also sells hair product lines that are hard to find on the East coast, speaks most enthusiastically about her work for cancer patients and individuals whose hair or scalps have been permanently damaged by accidents or surgeries. She has recently been certified to make wigs for people whose hair replacement products are covered by insurance, and she says she looks forward to gaining clients who are being treated at Johns Hopkins.
In those instances, she says, "I know what I do is priceless."
Writer: Lucy Ament
Source: Melessa Denee, Melessa's Weave Palace and Multicultural Hair Salon