Cover Photo: Vernique Burrell, owner of Very Unique Salon and Gift Boutique
Vernique Burrell, owner of ‘Very Unique Salon & Gift Boutique ‘specializes’ in producing customized hairstyles, cuts and original hair accessories and products, that guarantees to strengthen follicles and sprout new growth, but her ‘specialty’ is impacting the community.
Burrell grew-up in Rochester, before moving to Sanford, Florida in 1997, where she finished high school. After graduating, she joined the Army National Guard, before returning to Rochester in 2007.
“Hair was never my thing, I was too much of a tomboy, but it was always crucial,” Burrell said. “As a pre-teen, it was a struggle for my hair to stay done. So, my aunt decided to give me a Jheri Curl. It didn’t take. The following weekend, another aunt decided to put a perm in my hair. And shortly after, all the hair on the sides of my head fell-off in clumps. I was bald head with a ponytail on top, giving me a look that was familiar to the cartoon character bird-Woody Woodpecker, which they started calling me. And everyone got a good laugh, Burrell recall.”
Once she got older, she tried wearing weaves and braids, but it didn’t fit. Nonetheless, she continued--- until her father said, “Just leave it and see what you get.”
What sprouted in-result of the unintended experiment was a unique bed of full-body dreadlocks, which she specializes-in today, from years of re-twisting and nurturing its growth and health.
“My newly discovered ‘unique’ way of styling and twisting dreadlocks, led to people hiring me to do their hair, right off my porch,’ Burrell said. "Before I was told, an owner of a salon on East Main and Goodman was looking to hire someone. And, that was my foot in the door.”
She wasn’t a licensed beautician. So, after being there awhile, Burrell felt the restraints of not being able to further her career."
Therefore in 2010, she enrolled and completed the necessary requirements at Shear Ego International School of Hair, while also attending Monroe Community College, where she earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts.
Then, she sat down and did the math.
“Most salons charge a lot to rent a chair,” Burrell calculates. "So, I had to decide what would be more beneficial. How could I grow and give back to my community? And do something different, what most barber shops and salons weren’t doing,” she said.
Very Unique has a mission. Unlike traditional salons, whose mission bottom-line is to impact the pockets of their customers. Our mission is to impact the community.
“Hair is important,” she explains. “I was continuously made fun of when my hair fell-out. No-one cared I was smart or intelligent or talented. Fast-forward and let’s imagine that today in schools, in the streets, and in the work-field as an adult. Some places, you’re unable to find employment because you have locks, which is considered to be untidy,” she notes. “I want to be able to educate through hair and turn ‘Very Unique’ into a teaching salon that touch-bases with at-risk and impoverished youth. My approach will exude self-sufficiency skills and give them a chance to not only learn how to maintain their own hair, but also build-up their self-esteem and image."
Make your appointment today at Very Unique Salon & Gift Boutique, 538 West Main by calling to place your reservation at 505 305-5547.