By Christina Autry
Meet Sandra Moreno, entrepreneur and owner of Dreams Beauty Salon, who has been keeping East Aldine’s hair under control for almost 30 years. First motivated by her desire to break her family’s “cycle of stay-at-home moms,” Sandra was able to establish her career with her true passion for cutting and styling hair. As she looks into the future toward retirement, she knows that her business will continue to flourish under the direction of her daughter, Marylnn, who shares the same love for keeping their customers happy.
I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra, an East Aldine native, and experiencing her salon during business hours. “I’ve always worked in the neighborhood,” explains Sandra as she guides the clippers along a customer’s hairline. “I first cut hair at Fiesta. That’s where I met most of my customers. I still have a lot of customers from that time.” In fact, she mentioned that the children’s hair that she would cut at Fiesta are now bringing their own children to see her.
After establishing her hair-cutting skills at Fiesta, Sandra decided to start her own business. “My daughter was 3 weeks old when I started my shop,” remembers Sandra. “It was hard starting off. You work long hours, and don’t turn anybody down, no matter if it’s 10 or 11 at night. You have to build your business.”
Dreams Hair Salon thrives on the repeat customers that they have accumulated throughout the years. “Some people are still driving back here after moving to different parts of Houston,” says Sandra. The man in the barber’s chair, getting a fresh fade, has been a customer of Sandra’s for 12 years. When I asked him what has brought him back over the years, he said “They have always been nice here, and I know that she can style my hair the way I want it. A lot of guys are picky about who they get to do their fade or edge. We stick with who we feel comfortable with to do it the right way.”
As we were talking, the door opened and in walked a long-time customer and his teenage daughter. “Oh, this is your daughter?” Sandra asked. “I remember you when you were yay-high!” The girl laughed.
After opening her first salon off Hopper Rd, she soon relocated the business to her home, where she operated for nine years. “I had three children who needed my attention. I kept my business at home until my kids grew up,” she says. “I feel like god gave me this career for a reason. It has allowed me to provide for my kids.”
In 2011, Sandra relocated Dreams Beauty Salon to its current location. She keeps the shop open from 10AM – 9PM every day, and has expertise with men’s, women’s, children’s, and hair of all types. Everybody is welcome. Customers needing coloring, highlights, balayage, updos or longer procedures are encouraged to make an appointment, but for quick cuts, walk-ins are welcome.
Being a small business owner is never an easy endeavor, and for hair stylists, certain times of year which are less popular for visiting the salon can bring struggles. “You have your ups and downs, good seasons and bad seasons and you just have to stick through it,” says Sandra. Her reputation in East Aldine gives her an advantage, as most of her customers are gained through referrals and end up being repeat customers.
“You have to keep up with the trends,” says Sandra. “No matter how old you are you have to learn how to do the new styles.” On top of maintaining her coursework for her cosmetology license, Sandra attends fashion shows and specifically hair shows to stay on top of the current fads.
“What I love about this job is that I get to meet new people every day. I love to talk and communicate. It’s something new all the time,” says Sandra. “When you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like a job. I love what I do. That’s why I’ve stuck with it all these years.”
But Sandra’s dreams for the beauty salon do not end here. She hopes that her daughter can eventually take the reins and continue to grow the business. “I think I can make it better, expand it, and get a bigger place,” says Marylnn. “I’ve always seen myself doing this. I grew up in this business.”
“We love being part of the East Aldine community. I’m proud that Dreams Beauty Salon can continue into the future, I hope that it continues to be a family business, and keep it going for many more years to come,” says Sandra.
Dreams Beauty Salon
3308 Aldine Mail Route Rd
Houston TX 77039