Salon has stage-savvy stylist

RICHLAND -- Chauné Fitzgerald wants people to know that if you have a problem, she has the remedy to make you feel and look better.

Fitzgerald opened Salon Remedi in Richland in June 2008 because she felt there was a need for a multicultural stylist who could work with all hair textures, something she has plenty of experience with thanks to her work at the Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions.

She's also traveled to Vietnam, Jordan and the Bahamas with Farouk Systems, a Texas-based company that manufactures high quality professional hair care and spa products.

The company asked her to join its Creative Artist Team nine years ago, allowing her to work red carpet functions, such as Miami Fashion Week and Donald Trump's Miss USA and Miss Universe competitions.

"(Trump) was very impressed with our tools and he asked Farouk Systems to become the sponsors," Fitzgerald said. "One year we came as a stand-in, and he actually noticed the difference in their hair. He's been requesting our company to come every year, so I think that's a very good thing not only for Farouk Systems, but for the stylists like myself."

No one on Farouk's team gets to touch the Donald's hair though, she confides.

"That's one thing we dare not ask," she said. "How did he get it to do that? Normally he comes with his hair done. I'm sure there's a secret technique."

Fitzgerald enjoys the Miss Universe pageant best, saying it is the most exciting and she gets to meet different women of different nationalities from all over the globe.

Fitzgerald said the pageants are actually a two-week process and pre-recorded, except for the final competition.

"There's a lot of work that's getting done, but it's getting done fast," she said.

When she's not jet-setting to the next high-fashion event, Fitzgerald works alone at Salon Remedi, by appointment only.

The 35-year-old was born in Chicago, then moved to Georgia and met her husband Eric Fitzgerald. When Eric relocated to the Tri-Cities to be a Hanford nuclear engineer in 2007, Fitzgerald decided to open her own salon. She heard of a space freeing up at The Parkway in Richland and contacted building owner Joe Jackson.

Jackson said he was a little concerned about how her business would do because there were several other salons already in the area, but said Fitzgerald is doing a great job.

"Her business is doing well, which I anticipated from Chaun's personality and her experience," he said. "She and her husband are really fine people."

Her clients agree.

Patty Collins, owner of Nik-Nak Patty's Rack in Richland, called Fitzpatrick very personable and said she "really takes the time to hear what you're saying and how you want your hair done."

Fitzpatrick said she's applied to become an apprentice salon so she can help aspiring hairstylists get their license and experience.

"Becoming a hairstylist to me was one obstacle, but becoming a well educated and well rounded hairstylist was another one," she said.

Fitzgerald recalls getting into trouble for cutting off her cousin's hair as a kid and experimenting on her dolls. After high school she began working as a shampoo girl, but refused to get her beauty license.

"I guess I always wanted to do hair, but I didn't want the stereotype, so I made sure I finished school," she said. "Now I won't be considered just an airhead hairstylist. I wanted to break that barrier and kind of draw a line between education and being a hairstylist, that's why I'm a firm believer in education."

Fitzgerald, who has a master's in health care administration, also is a minister. She gives motivational speeches and works closely with the Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Program.

"The first thing you want to do is get your education," she said. "Once you're good at what you're doing, then you can teach someone else. But first you have to become wise and get your wisdom and then you can teach other people to do what you do."

Salon Remedi is at 745 The Parkway in Richland. To make an appointment, call 946-4784.