Meet the Woman Behind Jersey City’s The Hair Room JC, Anatalie

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Hair — something that might have taken a hit in quarantine with salons across the state closed. The thing is, there are just a number of hair treatments and styles that should simply be left to the professionals. Anatalie is one such professional. As the woman behind the Hair Room JC and the Hair Room Part Too, she’s managed to open a second salon amidst the madness of #COVID19 and continue to provide her clients with amazing services to leave them looking and feeling their best. As this week’s Hoboken Girl of the Week, we spoke with Anatalie to find out what brought her open the Hair Room, what it was like to open the Hair Room Too during a pandemic, and much more.

anatlie the hair room jc

{Photo credit:@thelizhand}

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m originally from Texas which explains so much once you get to know me. I own two hair salons in Jersey City, though I’m also an OG bartender and actually continued to sling drinks at South House during the first year I opened my business. I’m a people pleaser not only by trade, but also as a southern woman. I want the people in my life to be happy, whether with themselves, their profession, or their relationships. I moved to Jersey City the week Hurricane Sandy hit on the heels of a divorce. I started my entire life over at 28, crashed on my sister’s couch for a few weeks, packed up what I could in her car, got my first job at Barcade, and my first tiny apartment in Jersey City soon after. I’m genuine and passionate about the things I bring into my life, what you see is what you get with me. I fell in love with the community in JC. I could walk down the street and see people I recently met and wave hello, but I still had the accessibility and allure of NYC. Everyone in downtown, at the time, knew each other, were involved in community events, and the neighborhoods still had some of their roots.

What brought you to open the Hair Room in JC originally?

As a child, I was always inventing different business and community organizations. My mother was a salon owner as well, so small business ownership was something I was passionate about. After moving from Texas to pursue my career in NYC, I realized the environment of the beauty industry was missing something. I wanted to create a space that was safe from egos and attitudes, preconceived notions, and pretensions. I fell in love with the community in Jersey City when I moved here eight years ago and knew this was the perfect neighborhood for my idea to come to life.

See More: Meet Najwa Khan, The Woman Behind Dalci Brownie

anatalie the hair room part too

{Photo credit:@thelizhand}

Where did the name Hair Room come from?

Growing up, we literally had a room in my childhood home my father built for my mother to continue doing hair while also raising my brother and me. I have fond memories of my father serving wine and snacks to my mother’s guests, while I played with my Barbies on the floor. I thought growing up with a salon in my house instantly made me a talented colorist, but my friends who ended up with orange highlights in junior high would disagree. This salon environment inspired me to create The Hair Room. A space that makes you feel like you’re in your BFFs bedroom, chatting, catching up, and also leaving with fabulous hair.

What is your favorite part about operating the Hair Room JC and the Hair Room Part Too?

My favorite part of operating The Hair Room JC and The Hair Room Part Too is seeing my team evolve into extraordinary stylists. Providing an environment where they are encouraged and given the opportunity to flourish and grow. Also being able to use our success to give back to our community.

What made you want to open a second location?

We are outgrowing our original location. I have made business decisions regarding our growth based on how often I’m saying no. When it got to the point where we were having difficulty with spacing and scheduling, I knew it was time to expand. I have always loved The Heights neighborhood and with many of our guests traveling from outside of Hudson County for our services I knew a location in a different neighborhood would be truly beneficial.

What has it been like opening a second location during a pandemic?

I always like to look for the silver lining in situations. I was ready to open the second location right before we were shut down when the pandemic hit I was able to slow down, reset, and reorganize many aspects of the new location as well as my original location, that I may not have had the opportunity to do had we not shut down. The biggest hurdle I experienced with opening during a pandemic was the lack of resources from the state and city due to the shutdown.

anatalie nicole

{Photo credit:@thelizhand}

What has it been like being a business owner during a pandemic?

 Owning a business during a pandemic has definitely been a challenge but I believe it forces us to really prove what is important. I immediately adjusted my business model and created new streams of income. I maintained communication and transparency with my team to ensure they were taken care of both mentally and financially. I also needed to keep that line a communication open with our guests as information and protocols were changing on a daily basis. We also wanted them to know we were still here for their beauty needs even if we couldn’t get them into the salon. I didn’t have the luxury of taking it easy these past three months; there was a constant trial and error to see what worked and what didn’t.

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

My biggest source of inspiration is from strong, confident people driven by their passion. I’m constantly in awe of people who create their own destiny and fight to maintain it.

What are your goals for this year?

For 2020, it’s all about survival at this point. My goals for 2020 are to remain open by maintaining a safe environment during this weird time we are in, keep my team employed and happy, and start 2021 on the right foot.

What’s a typical day look like for you?

I have found routine keeps me a little bit saner, though as a business owner every day is a different obstacle. An ideal typical day is a morning workout with my Jane Do squad or a run to downtown JC, a cup of coffee and dog walk with a girlfriend, and breakfast {my favorite being a breakfast taco with eggs, avocado, and cheese}. I start my day at one salon and work on all the behind the scenes work: paperwork, financials, payroll, employee issues, guest issues, marketing, inventory, guest outreach, etc; I will then run any errands necessary for the business and head to the other salon and repeat. The beauty of the beauty industry is every day there is something new. I’m behind the chair with my guests two days a week and I’m really trying to enjoy a day off or two, but every business owner knows that’s a hard commitment to make. We cook a lot at home so we will usually eat at home watching tv and then fall asleep to The Office.

What has been the highlight in your life so far?

The highlight of my life thus far has been starting my own business and watching it grow.

Read More: Meet Ewelina Augustin: Co-Founder of The Vegan Warehouse

What is one thing you’ve learned, either in your career thus far or from the pandemic? Or both?

Never stop evolving. Being able to adapt your business and culture is imperative whether we are in a pandemic or not. The beauty of the beauty industry is it’s always evolving, you are either part of the change or part of the past.

Tell us about another business in the area you admire.

I know it’s cliché, but I truly admire all the small businesses in town. I know what it takes to create, maintain, and grow a small business in this day and age, as well as in this town. These people who choose to do this are inspirations. Dealing with the public is not for the faint of heart and it takes a really special human to devote your life to creating happiness for other people, whether you are a salon, restaurant, or retail store. Specifically, I love to see what Cea has done with Salvation Wellness and how she has grown and evolved her business. The same sentiment goes for the babes at Jane Do, Dani and Jacey. Being able to witness these women start from the beginning and grow and develop their brands is really inspiring.

anatalie nicole 2

{Photo credit:@thelizhand}

Hoboken + Jersey City Favorites

What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken or JC?

My favorite restaurant in Jersey City is Madame Claude’s. I loved the original location with its quaint and intimate ambiance but I love what they have done in their new space, you definitely feel like you have escaped Jersey City. There is nothing like it in town and if you haven’t made a reservation for a Gypsy Jazz night you are missing out. Pre-COVID a girlfriend and I went to Antique Bar & Bakery in Hoboken and I’m so sad it took me eight years to discover it.

What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken or JC?

My favorite boutiques are Kanibal and Another Man’s Treasure. I’m a thrifting nerd, I love unique finds and vintage vibes. At Kanibal, I can find one of kind items as well as clothing since their selection is small-batch I know if I don’t grab something I love when I see it, it will be gone next week. The same thing applies to a vintage store. Another Man’s Treasure curates such a beautiful selection of clothing that feels modern but it’s beautifully unique and vintage. The owners are also both incredibly inspiring women.

anatalie the hair room jersey city

{Photo credit: @anatalienicole}

What do you love most about Hoboken or JC?

I love that there is still a sense of community in Jersey City, it’s different but it’s still there. Having worked with the public for the past eight years I’ve been able to meet and develop relationships with so many people. Seeing them when I walk home from work, shop at my favorite local grocery store {P&K}, or out at a restaurant is my favorite part of living and working here. I love how so many of my needs are met through small businesses, my food, my beauty services, my plants, my dog’s necessities, my entertainment. I love that I have easy access to NYC, though I wish I took advantage of that more often. The views are iconic and right now, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

 What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?

Discover new things! All the things! Having not grown up here, everything is new to me. I drive a lot for work and I love getting lost and discovering a new restaurant, thrift store or historic place. I love visiting mom and pop stores/restaurants, that within themselves hold some history into the neighborhood they are in.

How long have you lived and/or worked in Hoboken or Jersey City?

I’ve lived and worked in Jersey City since 2012.

What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken or JC?

My favorite outdoor space are the streets. Is that weird? I love to run and I love discovering new places through my running. Whether it’s down by the water, up in the heights, around Lincoln Park or over on the west side. This city is so diverse and expansive I love seeing the intricacies of it all and since parking sucks, running is the easiest way.

What is your favorite place to work out in Hudson County?

I’m obsessed with Jane Do! The brand encompasses everything I value: empowering, confidence, and self-love. Their Livestream classes saved my mental state during the first month of quarantine.

Where do you go out with friends in the area?

For morning breakfast and coffee, my girlfriends and I love Beechwood {their pet-friendly table} or Sam AM. At night, I’m a sucker for places my friends work. I’m always visiting my friends at South House, Archer, and Pet Shop. And love to end the night at Lucky’s for some tequila and tater tots.

What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken or Jersey City?  

An old school Deli {Italian or Jewish} if you know of one, let a girl know; or a place I can get Texas breakfast food like kolaches or breakfast tacos, maybe this is my next business venture.

Is there anything else you want to share about Hoboken or yourself?

I am a dreamer and a doer. I dream it and I make it happen. It’s always humbling to be acknowledged for your accomplishments, and an even better feeling is spreading that love to someone else. So be kind to each other!

Keep up with Anatalie on Instagram at @anatalienicole and @thehairromjc, and online at www.thehairroomjc.com.

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Written by:

Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.