Founder: Lisa Konecny
Founded in: January 2019
Based in: Port Richmond, Staten Island
Link to website: www.painterandmanehairstudio.com
A little more than a year ago, Staten Island native, 28-year-old Lisa Konecny, opened up Painter + Mane Hair Studio.
Konecny had been a stylist for nearly 10 years when she decided to go into business for herself.
“I never really loved the traditional salon setting. I wanted to create an environment where people felt comfortable in a small, inviting place,” Konecny said. “And I knew that people would come to me for me.”
Today, the Port Richmond, Staten Island boutique is known for reimagining bright locks and exuberant hair hues for visitors in the market for a little pizzazz. In fact, Konecny is known for ‘painting’ hair in all colors of the rainbow, noting that fashion colors and flowing balayage is her specialty.
But that all changed when her small business had to close its doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“‘I was scared to catch or pass on the virus to my clients,” she said. With that in mind, she closed her shop on March 12, a few days ahead of the state’s mandate for non-essential businesses to shut their doors. “It was with everyone’s best interest in mind,” she said.
During the past three months of shutdown, Konecny says she has made color-kits for her clients as a way for them to paint their own hair at home.
“I would drive around Staten Island and drop them off at everyone’s house. It’s something that could just lift them up a little bit,” she explained.
Now, Lisa is eagerly awaiting the green light for her shop to re-open. Her space, which is roughly 100-square-feet, makes it nearly impossible to keep a safe space from others. Plus, as she pointed out, “There isn’t a way to social distance when you do hair.”
Instead, as a sole proprietor, Konecny plans to wear a mask and face shield while performing hair services, and asking clients to wait in their cars until their scheduled appointments.
And she adds that proper health and safety protocol is part of her rolodex. “We’re all trained in that already,” Konecny said, referencing the NY State Board exams that licensed cosmetologists must pass before going into the industry.
Now, as Staten Island nears Phase 2 in the coming weeks, Konecny is ready to greet her customers again.
“My business has to survive. I’m going to do everything that I can to make sure everything is safe and clean for our customers,” she said. “I’ve been working since I’m 14. I can’t wait to go back to work.”
Today, Konecny leaves this message of hope for her fellow Staten Island locals:
“It’s hard, but we all went through this together. I’m hoping that this will strengthen our community. Staten Island is based around small businesses. I think that our community is strong enough that if businesses are struggling, people will do what they can to help them.”