As a celebrity stylist and reality show creator, Lena Mingo is making some pretty big waves as an industry leader with a highly successful business. Not only are others seeking her guidance for providing professional and quality hair care, but also—many are looking to the hairstyling guru for advice on how to leverage their own businesses in our ever-changing economy.
Mingo’s reality show is one of a kind with unique and memorable characters. She created the series because hair in and of itself, is a popular topic. In fact, there has been an extreme focus on it since the very beginnings of time. With products sprouting up left and right and styles that are constantly changing, Mingo understood the importance of bringing balance and humor to something that the world is familiar with.
In this recent interview, Mingo discusses her motivations, how she has grown and the overall uniqueness of her brand.
Tell us about the idea behind your reality show, “The Real Hair Junkies of Houston.”
After years of being surrounded by numerous talented stylists and fashionistas, I realized many were serving in the community. Annually, I did numerous events like Houston’s Look Good, Feel-Good program (A free, non-medical, salon, and product-neutral Volunteers program). There were a variety of stylists, product creators, models, and platform artists that are heavily involved in community efforts.
The cast members are cosmetologists that I’ve worked with or done shows with for many years. Unlike most beauty-oriented shows, they are not in the same shop performing the same duties. Each member comes from a different background, with different specialties, and experiences in the field. What I find most intriguing about this versatile cast are their community-oriented pursuits.
The Real Hair Junkies, uniqueness in concept isn’t the long-standing friendships or the collaborations through time that draw this group together. Our skills and competitive notions unite and inspire us, and we enjoy contributing time and effort to charitable events.
If you call on one, two or three show up in support of the other. We all love enhancing our client’s natural beauty and building the self-esteem of patrons within this eclectic group of Barbers, Beauticians, Estheticians, and even a Mortician.
The successes, challenges, and unfortunate death of our beloved cast member Cora Bell Edwards Che’ equate to the epitome of a working family. The show allows everyone to know the ups and downs, the rounds and about in the hair business, and you can live and enjoy your best life.
In your opinion, why is there so much importance placed on hair all over the world?
No matter your culture, your hair represents or expresses who you are. Men and women want a reliable hairstylist or barber. Whether it’s about work or a special occasion, the hair alone is often a statement. Individual expressionism or personal image is practically a requirement in American society, and having a trusted stylist is needed just like having a reliable doctor.
You recently created a revolutionary product called “Edges & Nape.” What inspired you to do this and tell us what makes your hair elixir different from others on the market.
I created the product because so many ladies have lost their front edges and nape due to (lace front) wigs, braids that can be too tight, or small sections of hair pulled tightly into extensions, causing fall out. Twist can do this also. There’s a need and desperate desire by women to regrow those damaged areas.
As a master stylist who has been in the industry for many years, how do you define your own personal style when it comes to hair and beauty?
My engagement with the client is different because I educate my clients. They should know how to care for their hair beyond its style/coloring. I enjoy giving them the knowledge to maintain the styles longer and advice about the health of their hair beyond the styling they chose because I love what I do. I have traveled the world working with the best of the best, and I continue to educate myself to educate my clients as hairstyling evolves and new products emerge. My motto is the clients are always right, and the joy of loving what you do ensures they get the proper hair care, treatment, and style they deserve.
You’ve won several awards and have been recognized for your contributions to business. Tell us about a few of these wonderful moments.
I’ve won various hair shows and was featured in the Houston Chronicle as one of Houston’s Most Influential Stylists. I was awarded Houston’s number 1 Stylist out of 150 candidates. I received the Golden Scissors award from JC Penney as the best haircutter in the United States and was the highest-earning Beautician in their employment while diversifying their patronage. I was awarded Houston’s best hair weaver and most honorably chosen as one of Houston’s top hair salons. An award for what salon customers chose best for the atmosphere. Clients get the royal treatment, and every client is being treated the same and enjoying the experience, which was a truly humbling experience.
What advice would you give to other business owners about staying on course and living out their dreams?
The advice I would give anyone, and everyone is what I’ve found to be most important, which is, you must keep in mind that time is money and money is time. Clients pay close attention to how you treat them, so mind your own business. Always tell them you appreciate their business and take criticism without a response. No gossiping about other stylists everyone does things differently. Be mindful of how you respond, no matter the situation.
What advice would you give to yourself 20 years ago that would make a difference today?
My advice to myself? Mind my own business. Treat people how you would want them to treat you. Always pay attention to what your client’s wants and needs are. It’s not about you. It’s about the client. As a professional stylist, your reputation is everything and it can make you or break you.
To learn more about Lena Mingo and The Real Hair Junkies of Houston reality series, follow them on social media.
Photos courtesy of Bruce Clark Rice Bell
Desirae L. Benson is an entertainment publicist, journalist, content editor, and entertainment media host, residing on the west coast. She hosts her own show featuring four different segments with celebrities, musicians, and people of prominence. To find out more, visit her page on Facebook and Instagram and follow the hashtags: #DesiraeBBB • #DesiraeLBensonPR #MovedByTheMusic •#AdayInTheLifeOfDesirae• For media inquiries, Email:DesiraeBBB@gmail.com