It started as a dream, but transformed into a reality for Jesse and Jessika Medina as they walked into La Dama Salon — the newest salon to hit northeast Fresno.
When the husband-and-wife duo set their eyes on opening the salon, they envisioned a place for women to feel beautiful and confident. They wanted women to feel welcomed, inspired and appreciated.
Mission accomplished, to say the least.
La Dama Salon opened nearly four months ago, but underwent a renovation a few weeks ago. Today, a theme is woven throughout the cozy, close-knit salon: women’s empowerment.
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It starts with the name. From Spanish to English, la dama translates to the lady. A large screen that reads “hello, beautiful” faces the entrance — creating a positive atmosphere of beauty and acceptance.
“Our motto is you walk in beautiful, but you walk out knowing it,” Jesse said.
A corner of the salon invites you to relax with a book and cup of coffee. You can select a book from an array of literature like “I Am Malala,” “The New Latina’s Bible,” “Mother Teresa: Her Essential Wisdom” and poems by Maya Angelou.
The interior walls are adorned with portraits of inspirational women — Malala Yousafzai, Oprah Winfrey, Lisa Ling, celebrity stylist Jen Atkin and Jessika’s mother.
“My mother is my No. 1 inspiration,” Jessika said.
In a nutshell, she said the salon represents a mix of “my Latin roots, business women, independence and women’s empowerment.”
Eventually, Jessika’s passion led her to earn her cosmetology license at Paul Mitchell Beauty School in Fresno. She continues her education by gaining experience and knowledge through classes and workshops on the latest trends, products and techniques in the industry.
Her passion for education is a quality that Stacie Del Fierro Richard, a stylist who specializes in 3D eyebrow microblading, admires about Jessika.
In fact, Richard said Jessika inspired and encouraged her to pursue 3D eyebrow microblading.
“I’m grateful to know her,” said Richard, adding that Jessika is “super inspirational.”
The salon is currently staffed with 13 stylists, called las damas, including an esthetician and four specialists.
Like Richard, Brenda Zelaya Sanchez is also trained in 3D eyebrow microblading. Stephanie Cody and Amanda Soto are stylists who specialize in eyelash extensions.
Although La Dama Salon is fresh to the industry, the idea of opening the salon wasn’t new for the couple.
“It has been accumulating for a while,” Jesse said.
Jessika worked as a stylist at three local salons, which Jesse said “taught her a lot about the industry,” before opening La Dama Salon.
“We have a common goal to see our vision come to life, but also be successful in business,” Jesse said.
And Jessika couldn’t imagine opening La Dama Salon without the support of her husband of four years. In addition to managing the behind-the-scenes aspects of the salon, Jesse is a counselor at Sunnyside High School.
“I empower youth as a counselor,” Jesse said. “Her goal is for las damas to empower women as a society.”
In addition to services, the salon sells a handful of high-quality products by TIGI Bed Head, Moroccanoil and Living Proof.
Jessika said her long-term goal consists of building friendships and partnerships within the community.
She also hopes to continue working with local nonprofit organizations that benefit women and children like the Marjaree Mason Center and the Junior League of Fresno.
The couple said they’re grateful for the overwhelming support from their family members and friends, “but a special thanks to Amanda, Brenda and Freddy. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
LA DAMA SALON
9525 N. Sommerville Drive, Suite 103, Fresno
Details: (559) 353-2580, www.ladamasalon.com