Before Ivy became a celebrity hairstylist, she practiced and perfected her craft on friends, family and neighbors. The self-taught beautician mastered weaving in her mother’s kitchen before expanding into her own salon in 2016. But the road wasn’t always as seamless as her signature weaves.
Ivy graduated high school with a full scholarship, but didn’t attend college because her family’s superstitious beliefs. “I grew up in a Haitian household, it wasn’t a known thing to send your child off to college,” she revealed in our candid chat. Ironically, their concerns, which focused around her getting pregnant or being shot and killed, wound up happening while she stayed home.
At 20-years old, Ivy got pregnant with her son. “I went from being homeless to, my son is here and I have to pay my bills,” the Miami-native revealed. “It was a really dark space and hard time but I used that time to motivate me.” Confused, yet determined to make a way for her child, Ivy called on the skills she had put on the back burner. “I couldn’t get a nine to five because I had a son to tend to. I don’t have funds to pay for day care. I used that time to sit back for a month.”
“I was in denial. I never thought I would get pregnant. It didn’t hit me until I was giving birth. I was really hard on myself, but I believe it was a good thing, because I’m here now.” What could have been the end of her career proved to be the jumping point for Ivy, who tapped into her cellphone contacts for clientele. “I started to text everybody, friends, family and neighbors in the community. I told them, ‘Hey I’m going to start doing sew-ins for $50 dollars.’ With their support, Ivy launched her brand by word-of-mouth.
Ivy transitioned from her mother’s house to a local salon with a family friend. “When I moved in, I thought the [salon owner] would mentor me because she was the hair girl. She was charging $350 for sew-ins back in the 2000s and selling $1,000 extensions.'”
Ivy made the salon her own and business was booming so much it created a jealousy between herself and the salon owner.
“When I started to perfect my craft, getting into lace wigs and frontals and non-invasive hair replacements, it was sort of jealousy because I was young. She kicked me out on my son’s birthday. I was forced to get my own suite. I looked at it like motivation because I probably would have stayed there and never left.”
Ivy’s work began making its way around social media, which speaks volumes about her technique. Long gone are the days when we used to glue tracks to our scalp to create what we known today as flawless illusion. As the times changed so have weaves and so have trends and techniques, but Ivy continues to adapt, putting her services in high demand.
“The wig thing took over,” she said. “I started to sell wigs. People were tagging me and coming to me. I went from doing five people a week to having five to six people a day. It got so bad, that if I said I would walk-ins people would camp out.” Her first celebrity client was Love & Hip Hop’s OG Naya Lee, who she says found her on Instagram. Joseline Hernandez “jumped” in her DMs one day leading to her biggest client and opportunity.
“A friend of mine referred me, but she just jumped in my DMs. She was like ‘Hey, I want you to do my hair.’ I was like ‘I don’t have the wig. Lady, nobody has this hair.'” After some back and forth, Ivy came up with a custom style for Joseline. “She trusted me and I was like ‘We’re going to glue this on.’ Joseline hesitated but ultimately agreed and fell in love with the finished product. “She liked my energy, she liked my style and we working every week back-to-back.”
Ivy recently held her first class in NYC. The crash “business course” offered fans insight into how she built her brand in two years and her coveted hair techniques.
As for her salon now, Ivy beams with pride as she describes how it’s decorated now. “It’s beautiful.” Reckoning with her success has been hard.
“I haven’t had that moment where I’m like I really came from this. I’m always working. I just taught a class in New York. I work so much I don’t even realize my success.
“If you were born with a gift to do hair, no one can teach you how to do hair because you are creative, you are an artist you know how to make a magic hairstyle just like an artist.