Sofia Perez (born Sofia Jimenez) was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba in 1961. After defecting from her home country, as a young girl, she moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1968. Although she had no idea at the time, her voyage to the United States would set the stage for her being on the forefront of the hair salon and beauty industry, being an innovator and one of its leaders!
The Road to Being a Hairstylist
After graduating from Elizabeth High School, in 1979, she took an interest in the hair and beauty industry, and graduated beauty school in 1982 and went to work for Gilbert Febles @ Virgo’s. To this day, Sofi will be the first to tell you that Gilbert was both her inspiration to succeed in the hair salon industry, as well as her mentor – instilling a work ethic that would drive her to much higher peaks and accomplishments in the hair and beauty field.
The First of Sofi’s NJ Hair Salons
After devoting a handful of years to Virgo’s NJ hair salon, Sofi was finally ready to venture out on her own, giving birth to the “Sofi’s Color Lounge” hair salon brand. In 1988, the first Sofi’s hair salon (Formerly Sofi’s Hair Club) was born. After a very successful 5 year run, the salon fell prey to complications, from a fire to the next door furniture warehouse. The flooding that occurred was far too much to handle and unfortunately, Sofi and her NJ hair salon were forced to relocate.
Picking Up the Pieces and Rebuilding
Sofi’s then moved to Route 1 and 9, in Elizabeth. The new location offered more space and with it, Sofi and her NJ hair salon continued to grow- both in following and in reputation. During this time, Sofi and her family had also moved to South Jersey. If the workload of being both a busy hair stylist and owner of a high traffic hair salon wasn’t enough, the one-hour commute was also very taxing. Though the hair salon was thriving, Sofi wanted to devote more time to her family, so she decided to sell the beauty parlor, continuing on as a hairstylist. As time passed, the relationship between Sofi and the new owners began to deteriorate. It wasn’t as much the new role, as it was the ethics lacked in the new owner’s style of running business. In time, the business relationship ran its course and died. Needless to say, the hair salon didn’t hold on for much longer, after Sofi departed. Moving forward, it was nearly impossible to find a steady ground. Not wanting the overhead of running an entire hair salon, Sofi tried to make her home in various NJ hair salons, but the traffic she generated always seemingly came to be too much for the beauty salon owners to handle. With that being said, the inevitable time came for Sofi to open one more place to call her own.
Cranford, Summit and Westfield New Jersey welcome Sofi’s hair salons
Enter 1997 and the historic downtown of Cranford, New Jersey. The perfect timing and stars aligning set the stage for the opening of Sofi’s Color Lounge of Cranford. To say that the move to Cranford rejuvenated Sofi is an understatement. In the past 15 years, Sofi’s Color Lounge has grown into one of the most influential hair salons of the region. In 2008, Sofi’s Color Lounge expanded, opening a location in Summit, NJ, furthering the stronghold on the hair service industry in the Tristate area. Sofi’s Westfield salon had its grand opening in May 2016 and is growing above and beyond our expectations.