On July 19 at 4 a.m., Kattia Solano woke up to a frightening phone call. A steam-pipe exploded outside her salon in New York City. In Puerto Rico at the time, Solano had to gather updates as it came in through social media and the news.
Miraculously, nobody was seriously harmed from the explosion and her salon only suffered minor damage, but reports of possible asbestos poisoning blocked anyone from accessing the space. Stylists had no place to see clients, no access to their tools and there was no way to know the extent of the damage to her newly redesigned studio.
Outside Butterfly Salon Studio after the steam pipe explosion.
Launching into action, Solano reached out to salons to ask for help. Her staff of 42 had clients to see and work to do. In a community that can be competitive and fast-paced, especially in New York, she wasn’t sure she would find help. Within days, four salons reached out to offer chairs and space—Marie Robinson, Salon Ziba, Chris Chase and Mark Garrison—where Solano’s staff posted up for two weeks.
Eventually, the Butterfly Studio team was back home, up and running in their beautiful space thanks to the kindness of “literally everyone,” Solano says. There’s no knowing when life might throw you for a loop. Here, Solano shares the three major lessons she learned from her experience:
- Do not keep all your eggs in one basket. “Always keep extra tools at home in case of an emergency.”
- You can’t expect help unless you seek it. “Never be afraid to ask.”
- Don’t be afraid of the competition. The community, although “fast and competitive” is also “so supportive.”