Stylist builds two businesses in pandemic
By Alexa Rincon
With an appetite for risk and a willingness to invest in dreams, Misty Sueño advanced her cosmetology career and built two Sacramento studios from the ground up.
That’s an accomplishment anytime. But Sueño did it all during the pandemic.
She opened Wild Heart Beauty at 24th and J streets in June 2020, during the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. Unable to operate indoors, she set up shop on the sidewalk outside her studio. With characteristic determination, Sueño vowed she “wasn’t going to let it fail.”
Community spirit came into play when Sueño invited other merchants to join her streetside business. “It’s how we survive—depending on each other,” she says.
The hard work and creativity paid off. Wild Heart Beauty became so popular that Sueño started to turn customers away. She realized she needed a second business. In October 2021, Wild Ones Salon opened in the Ice Blocks on R Street.
Explaining the difference between the two studios, Sueño describes Wild Ones as a haven for budding new artists. There, helped by Sueño’s expertise and dedication to their professional growth, newer stylists hone skills. Wild Heart Beauty is home to more seasoned stylists. Both studios immerse clients in an elevated experience.
When you walk into either studio, you feel like you’ve entered a swanky hotel. Features include black and gold details, works by local artists, trendy music and candles always lit. Both salons have won industry awards, with Wild Heart Beauty reaching the top 25 category of the One Shot Hair Awards this year.
Sueño designed the interiors, with carpentry help from her husband and brother. Her business and family are intertwined, a connection that’s part of her recipe for success.
The journey began in Sacramento while Sueño worked three jobs and obtained her cosmetology license. She eventually climbed the corporate ladder for a famous cosmetics line. Raises and promotions came her way.
After moving to San Francisco, Sueño took a plunge and became her own boss. She opened a beauty truck with a friend and found a customer base among tech industry tycoons. When that partnership amicably dissolved, she opened to two brick-and-mortar studios on her own in San Francisco.
During that time, she was “hustling and bustling,” she says, and curating social media advertisements for her businesses, a task she still performs.
Sueño was also building client relationships and not, she says, “just making pretty.” The beauty industry is one of connection, she explains. Stylists touch hair, hear intimate stories from clients and help people feel like the best versions of themselves. Many customers followed Sueño when she moved to Sacramento.
While thriving as a San Francisco entrepreneur, Sueño’s life was upended with the death of her partner, the person who first encouraged her to become her own boss. After supporting her partner’s family and taking time for herself, she returned home to Sacramento to visit friends.
In kismet fashion, Sueño met her now-husband during the visit and transitioned back to Sacramento full time. Even now she says her continuous drive to succeed stems from her late partner’s inspiration.
“I can do this for us. I don’t want to let opportunities slip. That’s why I keep going,” she says.
What else goes into the recipe? “I start small and keep growing,” she says. She also has a daily meditation practice.
And there’s more. Sueño has a way of trusting her instincts, persevering through hardship and making people feel important and nurtured. She demonstrates by taking small breaks during an interview to engage with employees and clients.
As for the future, Sueño has ambitions to create a beauty product line and become her own landlord. After that, she insists she’s “done.” But is she really? She thinks about the question but doesn’t answer.
Alexa Rincon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram@insidesacramento.