The name and concept of Aisha Ogletree’s new business is distinctive, yet very relatable.
Ogletree’s beauty salon, The Annex by A.O., opened in Lee’s Summit nearly a month ago and despite a few bumps in the road and a little more cosmetic work needed to be done at the shop, the salon is hoping to become a beauty parlor destination for the community. The name, however, is already a part of everyday lexicon.
“Do you remember in high school, the annex building was always the small building?” Ogletree said on a recent Friday. “It was always special. Well, that’s what I consider The Annex; a small, but special place.”
Ogletree said she was born with a gift. Calling it a God-given ability to style hair, Ogletree has turned what she’s called an apprenticeship at various stops through the years into a long thought about business.
“I didn’t go to school for hair,” she said. “It’s kind of like a raw type of talent.”
It is a talent that has cemented Ogletree’s reputation in metro area beauty salon circles.
“I’ve been following Aisha since I was in hair school,” said stylist Rashonda Golden, who will start at The Annex in May. “I’ve been praying she opens her own salon and when she did I (messaged) her like, ‘hey, can I get in?’ She’s amazing. Her name is very well-known and she’s sweet.”
“When you really look into the hair care industry, you’re like, ‘wow, she’s really up there,’” said Moraima Hernandez, a part-time receptionist and burgeoning stylist at The Annex. “I’m just happy for my opportunity.”
Added Erika Emerson, Ogletree’s lifelong friend and fellow stylist: “She’s always had a vision of what she wanted. This is just the beginning and it’s remarkable for me to just sit back and watch the other ladies cling to her in a way to mentor, so her dream is coming alive and I’m proud of her.”
Ogletree’s talent was first groomed in Kansas City, where she rented booth space in several salons before deciding she had enough of the constant shuffling of parlors. Born and raised in the city, Ogletree and her family moved to Lee’s Summit about five years ago.
“I was always a city girl – I grew up on 33rd Street and Prospect,” she said. “I always had a passion for hair, but I was scared of this side of town. It was a moment years ago where the economy had kind of changed over and the clientele just wasn’t there, so I guess it was time for me to start over. I just leaped out on faith and tried (another salon) and I worked on commission. I’m used to making my own money, so I it was really scary. I kept a gig in the city for a little while, too. Eventually I was making more money on commission than I was on booth rent down there, so I let that go.”
Eventually, Ogletree’s commission job would fold.
“At that point,” she said, “I was like, ‘it’s time. I’m tired of shuffling around.’ I have great clientele, so I just leaped out and The Annex was born.”
Ogletree said her goal is to provide clients with the customer service they need as soon as they step into the door. After all, she said, a beauty parlor should be a welcoming place.
“I think (clients) feel at home,” said stylist Bridgette Johnson. “I think they like the atmosphere. It’s updated, it’s different. A lot of salons in Kansas City they are not ready for this. They are trying to get to where we are at, which is a wonderful thing, but we’ve got it. We’ve got it. I think the clients are loving us. As soon as they hit the doors they’re seeing how attentive we are; just on their heels as soon as they hit the doors making sure they are comfortable and getting the service that they came for.”
The Annex. 236 N.E. Chipman Road, is located in Summit Point Plaza. Ogletree said she looked into several different areas of town before settling on the location near Lea McKeighan Park.
“I had been seeing it and dreaming and wishing and praying,” she said. “You kind of look around and you price a lot of things. Lee’s Summit is expensive, and this was one of the more – it was kind of dead, but it had character. It was more affordable, it had character, and so I jumped on it.”