Olga Allen, master stylist and owner of Charlotte-based hair studio OA Salons, is a shining example of a tenacious woman who has worked relentlessly to follow her dreams. She was born into a culture of master craftsman in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and was raised by a family of talented artisans.
"I spent much of my time interning with different trades, but was always fascinated by the arts and fashion," Olga says. "My mother was my biggest supporter; she promoted my idea of attending an art university. During that time fashion became a huge influence in my life and I became interested in creative hair styles. I began dreaming of owning my own salon and influencing fashion and style with my creativity and passion."
After finishing college, Olga moved to the United States without knowing anyone and only speaking as much English as she had learned in school. She says: "It was an exciting adventure. Within a few years of moving to the U.S. I met my husband, Graham Allen, and we fell in love."
Olga and Graham eventually moved to Charlotte, where Graham encouraged Olga to follow her dreams and attend the Aveda Institute, the No. 1 beauty school in America. After graduating from the Institute, she was well on her way to open her own salon but first needed a name.
"I wanted the name of the salon to feel very light and airy," Olga explains. "I loved how the word 'away' sounded, like being away from business for the day – this is your moment, this is your time, whether you want to talk about your hair or just sit in a comfy chair with a warm cup of tea – so I knew I wanted to use that in some way. The challenge was deciding how could I make 'away' more personable, and then I realized that my initials, OA, sound like that and I immediately new that was going to be the name.”
From there, Olga's dream blossomed.
"My days are pretty busy. I start each day with morning meditation or pilates and then I get my boys ready for school and drop them off," Olga says. "After that, it's straight to the salon for the rest of the day. In the evening, we spend time together playing, doing homework and cooking dinner."
Because Olga's schedule is pretty much jam-packed, she understands how busy many women are and one of her top priorities at the salon is making it convenient for her clients to schedule or change appointments.
"We offer an easy-to-use online booking system where our clients can book or reschedule appointments anytime, anywhere," Olga says. "Of course, clients can always call, but we like having the online scheduling option available."
The services menu at OA Salons includes haircut and styling, balayage, full or partial highlights, keratin treatments and more. Olga also created a mini maintenance menu for existing clients, offering touch-up treatments that can be done in less than an hour. She also recently started offering virtual and in-house seminars for her clients, teaching them how to style their hair, take care of their hair and more.
"I want to make every woman feel confident and rejuvenated," Olga says. "I love when I can see a sparkle in my client's eyes as they walk out the door because I know I was able to make a difference in their day."
For more information about OA Salons or to make an appointment, visit OASalons.com or call 704.676.1500. OA Salons is located at 5126 Park Road, Suite 2A, Charlotte, NC 28209.
OA Salons is offering new clients 20% off their first appointment throughout the month of September. Call them at 704.676.1500 to redeem this offer.