Lorrie and Desiree are two Hoboken natives and sisters with a natural passion for the hair industry. Although they are 15 years apart, they are closer than most. After they gained experience in their respective fields, Lorrie in marketing and Desiree as a hairstylist – the pair joined forces to open Blo It Out Lounge, a full-service hair salon at 1212 Washington Street. Seven years later they’re still at it, and now sharing their story with Hoboken Girl. Keep reading to learn more about these two sisters and their salon in Hoboken.
Hoboken Girl: Tell us about your Hoboken roots.
Lorrie Centeno: We’re third-generation Hoboken natives. Our grandparents came from Puerto Rico in the early 1950s. Like most people, they wanted better for themselves and their children, better living conditions, more opportunity, but most importantly to grow and provide for their family. Our grandmother worked in a factory for a little bit but dedicated most of her time caring for her family. Our grandfather was the main provider, he wasted no time. He enrolled in a tech school, finished the course, and obtained his barbering license. He worked at a barbershop in NYC for nearly 40 years and then retired. So, I guess the hair industry was always in the bloodline, LOL. Although they moved to Hoboken, they never forgot where they came from, they always visited PR to see and spend time with extended family.
HG: What are some of your favorite memories growing up in Hoboken?
Lorrie: In my younger days there was an arcade called Mr. Bigs, at the corner of 9th Washington St, where all the kids would go. Boy did I spend a lot of time and quarters playing all kinds of games! My favorite shopping store was Arnold’s, whether I needed a dress, something casual, or sporty they had it, it was a one-stop clothing spot. I can’t forget the OLG Dances the church on 4th and Willow, they would host dances for the kids on Fridays. It was the highlight of my week and the best two hrs.
HG: What inspired you to get into this business?
Lorrie: Blo it Out Lounge came about in a spontaneous way. One day out of the blue, I said to my husband and Desiree, let’s open a hair salon. Both looked at me with a confused and surprised reaction. Those who know me know I’m the very cautious type and not a risk-taker.
Desiree: Yea, I was completely taken off guard, and I said are you ok, are you serious, what do mean, how?
Lorrie: I said why not let’s do it, Desiree you have your license and you love doing hair, and I’ll be the background person. e call each other the Beauty and the Brains. Uptown Hoboken could use a beauty bar, we grew up here, wouldn’t it be nice to open a business in our hometown. I believe it was meant to be. That same week, I was driving on Washington Street and saw the sign for rent in the window of 1212, and said that’s going to be ours, and Blo It Out Lounge was born. A lot was going through my mind, such as, what about if we don’t make it, we lose our investment, and fail. I remember when we signed the lease, I was so sick to my stomach with nerves; I said “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” But here we are seven years later, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Blo It Out Lounge is our baby.
HG: Tell us all about Blo it Out Lounge and its services.
Lorrie: Blo it Out Lounge opened in 2014 and it is a full-service salon. The salon offers haircuts, styling, blow-outs, color/glaze, keratin treatments, makeup application, and bridal services. The product line the salon uses is Keratin Complex. It includes styling and finishing products, shampoo and conditioners, deep condition/masques. The goal at Blo-It-Out Lounge is to get clients in, make them look amazing, and feel their best.
HG: What are some hair trends you’re noticing this season?
Lorrie: Bangs are making a huge comeback especially curtain bangs, which we love.
HG: Are there any go-to treatments that you recommend to bring hair back to life?
Lorrie: We always recommend to our clients the Vital Shot treatment. It is a one-step keratin treatment that rebuilds and repairs the bonds of the hair to deliver stronger, healthier hair. It is a one-step, 20-minute process that can be used alone or in any color service.
HG: What would you say makes Blo it Out Lounge stand out from other salons?
Lorrie: We aim to give our clients that homey, comfortable feeling and make them feel like family.
HG: Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?
Lorrie: I will say Desiree is my inspiration, I have played a mom figure to her most of her life. But she showed me how to be a mom and a businesswoman, she may not realize it but taught me a lot as I got older. Funny how the tables turn.
Desiree: One word my sister/mom LORRIE, till this day she still inspires me, I don’t know what I would do without her.
HG: What are your goals for this year?
Lorrie: To be happy, gain spiritual growth, and for all to be kind to each other.
HG: What’s a typical day look like for you?
Lorrie: I’m always on the go running errands, running the shop, taking my daughter to school events, taking mom to appointments, and being Uber for everyone.
Desiree: I’m a new mom on maternity leave. My schedule is completely upside down. I am adjusting to my new routine and honestly, I don’t know what it is yet.
HG: What has been the highlight in your career/life so far?
Lorrie: With the setbacks, we’ve all had this past year, we are grateful that we are still business and going strong.
HG: What advice would you give to women who want to start their own business?
Lorrie: Don’t let fear, doubt, your age, or negative people get in the way of your dreams, take the chance, take the risk, take a leap of faith. I promise you; you won’t regret it!
HG: Anything else you want to share about Hoboken, your business, or yourself.
Lorrie: Blo It Out Lounge wouldn’t be as great as it is without the continued support of our family and clients. And, most importantly my awesome team because of them, we are amazing and loved so much by our community.
HG: What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken or JC?
Lorrie: Benny’s Pizzeria in Hoboken.
Desiree: VeganAF in Jersey City.
HG: What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken or JC?
Lorrie: Dorldor/alba boutique in Hoboken.
Desiree: Lulu lemon in Hoboken
HG: What do you love most about Hoboken/JC?
Lorrie: We love everything, what’s not to love, LOL.
HG: What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?
Lorrie: Liberty state park.
HG: Tell us about another business in the area you admire.
Lorrie: So many to mention but we truly have love and support to all in our same industry and all businesses throughout town, we all have stories and dreams.
HG: What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken/JC?
Lorrie: Pier is our go-to spot, relaxing, biking, layout on grass, and admires the view.
HG: What is your favorite place to work out in Hudson County?
Lorrie: CKO boxing and Soulcycle.
HG: What is another Latinx-owned business in Hoboken that you admire?
HG: Where do you go out with friends in the area?
Lorrie: La Isla and SoulCycle.
HG: What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken or Jersey City?
Lorrie: A community pool would be great.