Founder/Owner of the renowned Salon Monet Shellee Mendes overcame enormous odds to become Newbury Street’s only female African-American hair salon owner.
Mendes was raised in Boston public housing developments and was homeless for years with two small children.
Despite the odds stacked against her Mendes worked tirelessly and followed her dreams to become a self made entrepreneur and owner of a thriving business. Mendes rose to become the owner of two successful salons on the fashionable Newbury Street. She opened the doors of her first salon almost two decades ago that has been a favorite of celebrity clients over the years.
So it came as no surprise when last week Mendes was presented with a Citation of Appreciation from the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR) Undersecretary Edward A. Palleschi.
At a ceremony on October 13 at her Salon Monet, Mendes accepted the citation for her tireless work maintaining a successful business while giving back to the Boston community.
Recognized widely as the only African American woman-owned hair salon on Newbury Street, Salon Monet services a diverse clientele which includes many celebrities.
Palleschi said in addition to Mendes’s strength and success as a businesswoman, she is often feted for her contributions to the community which range from a major hair show fundraiser to draw attention to Newbury Street businesses and benefit the Women’s Lunch Place shelter on Newbury to volunteering at Suffolk County House of Corrections to help incarcerated women with interviewing skills that will help them gain employment upon release.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Governor Charlie Baker, I am thrilled to present to Shellee Mendes, founder and owner of Salon Monet, this Citation of Appreciation in honor of her tireless work to establish and continue for 20 years a thriving business in the heart of Boston as well as her commitment day in and day out to helping those in need and giving back to the community,” said Palleschi. “We are all fortunate to have Shellee Mendes and Salon Monet in our lives and in our Commonwealth. I am privileged to present Salon Monet with this award.”
Mendes was previously honored with the coveted TARGET award at the 2019 Massachusetts Conference for Women and with the Main Streets Small Business Award from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, as well as many other accolades. She has been spotted with Oprah on a cruise ship and often serves celebrity clients. Sought after for public appearances, Mendes is a major force in Boston’s charitable giving community.
“I am so humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Mendes. “Founding and owning Salon Monet and seeing it grow over the years has been a joy and the fulfillment of all the dreams I had as a child of the projects who sought a better life for herself and her children. I thank Undersecretary Palleschi and Governor Charlie Baker and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from the bottom of my heart for this honor. My mission is to continue to live up to the expectations of all those who have faith in me, in Salon Monet, and in the work we are all doing to build a better future for children and families in Massachusetts and beyond.”