Say you want to take 30 minutes at lunch time to give a touch up to that hairdo. Also maybe upgrade those lashes a bit and perhaps add a je ne sais quoi of mystery to your hairline in some tonsorial manner. Then head back to work renewed, and maybe even a touch more beautiful.
New Haven’s first “blowout and beauty” bar, a new trend in the hair and make-up industry, is promising to make that possible. The business, MBD Beauty Bar, formally cut the blue ribbon and opened for business Tuesday morning at 208 Wooster St.
The proprietor is Andrea DiLieto Zola, the great niece of late New Haven Mayor Biagio DiLieto. Biagio DiLieto’s brother Frank, Andrea’s grandfather, was also a businessperson, operating the VIP lounge, a restaurant on Crown Street decades ago.
Zola’s entrepreneurial spirit was on display Tuesday morning as she cut the ribbon in the company of current Mayor Toni Harp, city Economic Development Administrator Matt Nemerson, and a dozen other friends, admirers, and city officials.
Also on display was a deep attachment to and pride in New Haven. Her great uncle, a former police chief and five-term mayor of the city from 1980 to 1989, died in 1999.
“I get super emotional because I love it here in Wooster Square,” Zola said in her remarks.
The beauty bar — which does no cuts or coloring but a lot of other stuff — is an outgrowth of MBDBeauty. That’s an award-winning bridal preparation business that she has been running for the last decade out of modest spaces on Chapel and East streets.
There, with her various beauty consultants, 25-strong, DiLieto does the hair and make-up for brides. If these “bridal trials” are successful, her teams go to the hotels or wedding venues and do up the bride to make her as beautiful as nature and MBDBeauty’s artifice permit.
DiLieto reported that this last year, she attended to the pre-wedding hair and beauty requests of more than 300 brides.
The blowout and beauty bar is an expansion of that business, she said, a concept popular in Boston and New York.
She is pioneering the idea in New Haven. The hope — and business plan — is that after you’re married and you have kids, birthdays, special occasions, you can come into the beauty bar not for the full treatment of a bride, but for a 30-minute revival of that old bridal feeling and bridal hair.
The business is also open, of course, to provide services for non-brides, and for men as well, although she reported that only one man thus far has had his lashes done.
“We want our [bridal] clients to come back,” she added.
Zola said the beauty bar is employing six people and is open regular business hours. “I wanted to have employees by age 30,” said DiLieto, and indeed she does.
Those six employees are augmented by 25 other beauty consultants who will continue in the bridal business down Chapel Street.
In the meantime, with the new spiffy space — most recently occupied by Fuel Coffee Shop—“we’re stimulating the economy,” Zola added.
Her great uncle would have approved.