Today we’d like to introduce you to Frankie Sanderson.
Hi Frankie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
After my last semester of design school, I knew that I no longer wanted to pursue fashion design and fell into crisis mode about what would my future look like. I remember one day a partner salon owner of a salon I worked at doing aesthetics offered me a fully paid ride to go to cosmetology school, which I denied. Immediately I thought of it and never looked back. I enrolled in night school and apprenticed during the day. It always worked and was a year-long process and I finished my program early, thankfully.
I moved from Richmond Va to DC and began finding my way around DC salons. I worked at several shops as I couldn’t find a salon home and almost quit the industry in 2008 until I decided to take clients to my house I earned a great online presence with Yelp and word of mouth until I went out on my own and rented a chair in a small salon. My income tripled there. Working there came with many trials and tribulations but the money was just incredible. I took so many hair classes to become the best I could be. I’ve lost count of how many classes I’ve been to and currently still take.
I was there for three years and then opened up my own flagship salon called the studio on Main Street on DuPont Circle. It was a 2500 square foot salon that was very successful and received a lot of press and accolades. I quickly realized I did not enjoy managing a large group of people. In particular hairstylists and creatives. It was like herding cats. I shit that salon down and reopened in another smaller space on Connecticut Ave., who’s suited me more. Less “cats to herd” which meant “I could get back to doing hair which I love.”
I have been a blonding and hair extension/ hair replacement specialist for years. I use fantastic brands and aligned myself with great people which reflects in my work. I’m always striving to learn the new, next best application, technique, or service. It’s a passion that I never knew I had. I’m so thankful to have had someone see something in me that sparked a successful and passionate career. I’m forever grateful.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s not been the smoothest ride. Unfortunately, I came to realize not everyone is your friend even though they asked you how you were doing and smiling to your face. For many reasons people could not be happy for you and want the best for you. I found this to be common in my earlier days of hairdressing, unfortunately. It made me very unhappy and quite sad this was rampant in my culture. The early days were also lean days. Working hard to pay your rent in one of the countries most expensive cities. It was difficult.
I went from salon to salon thinking the grass was greener but what I realized was the grass is brown everywhere. Just various shades of it. I was young and inexperienced with life and people. I found myself in the dance clubs on the weekends dancing my troubles away and experiencing drugs. That was fun until it wasn’t. I worked really hard to get sober and stay that way. You can not get what you want out of life if you’re too busy denying it. So I made changes that eventually led me to sobriety and happiness. It did not come easy but I managed to escape that darkness.
I realized salon owners were not as caring as they said or pretended to be. I floated from salon to salon trying to find my home. It never happened and this is when I took myself and my clients to my house and began in my Florida room in the back of my house.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I truly love my job. I’m incredibly passionate about the art of hair. Hair replacement, extensions, blonding, and color corrections are what I specialize in. Anything difficult, any major hair loss challenges, I’m your man. I became interested in the art of color just seeing how it could create such a positive impact on someone’s life and look in a relatively quick time.
I fell in love with hair replacement and extensions because the confidence it gives people and the direct impact that has on someone’s life is unmeasurable. I can truly say that I make magic happen every day and my impact on people is felt on a daily basis even after they’ve left the salon.
I also am known for color corrections. For instance, the ability to make people blonde after they’ve used black box hair dye. I’ve got a good track record, thankfully. It’s so much fun!
We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I’m all inked up and I dress so downtown funky everyone thinks I’m from New York but I grew up in West Virginia. I love animals and children’s causes so I donate every month to the SPCA and Raising Malawi, Madonna’s hospital in Malawi for sick children. I love seeing movies. I’ll go sometimes twice a week and get my Icee fix.
I’ve taken more hair classes than any other stylist I know. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 years or 20 days a stylist you can never know too much. I have the best clients.
My mom is a huge inspiration to me. She taught me to be the best and to work hard.
- Extensions $400-$4000
- Balayage. $200-$500
- Foilayage $295-$500
- Hair replacement $200-$5000
- Cuts $95
- Email: Thestudeo@gmail.com
- Website: Www.TheStudeo.com
- Instagram: TheStudeoDC
- Facebook: TheStudeo
- Twitter: TheStudeoDC
- Youtube: TheStudeo
- Yelp: TheStudeo
- SoundCloud: TheStudeo
headshot of mine is shot by Cassidy Duhon