Desirae Futel’s Chill, Low Maintenance Style

The CEO of Designerae talks about her laid-back fashion sense and how she promotes her clients’ healing.
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Photograph by Devyn Glista

NAME: Desirae Futel

OCCUPATION: CEO and loctician at Designerae

STYLE: Low maintenance and chill

Tell us about Designerae.

I started in 2015 as just a regular hair stylist. I was working at a salon in Clifton just trying to make my way. I didn’t have a lot of clients at that time, but I used to get a lot of calls for locs. That was something I learned when I previously lived in Chicago. This year, I’m going to be exclusively doing locs—not any natural hair or anything else.

What are the benefits of being a loctician versus a stylist with a broader list of services?

It’s owning the niche. Also, a lot of the other services I was offering take more time, and I have some services in the loc industry that I didn’t have time for because I was trying to accommodate all these other services. [It’s also] really getting into a different market, ’cause right now, my clients are almost 100 percent African American, if not mixed. I want to also get into the straight hair community.

What are those loc specialties that you can now offer that you couldn’t before?

Loc extensions take about seven hours-plus. Using a tool to make and form the locs is more time consuming, so just offering more crochet services, which are bigger ticket items.

The mission of Designerae is to promote healing. How can haircare promote healing?

Our hair speaks, and a lot of people don’t realize that. I can look at somebody’s hair and tell you if they have a medical condition, or if they just had a baby, or if they had stress in their lives. I had a woman come to me. My cousin, who mentored me in Chicago, started her locs four years prior. [The client] said, “I’m so worried. My hair is coming out in patches. I don’t know what to do. Your cousin told me about you.” She had big welts and patches on her head, everywhere. Her locs were just falling out. At the time, I had never seen anything like that. I called my mentor here. She’s a trichologist—somebody who specializes in scalp conditions. I showed her a picture. She said, “It’s alopecia areata,” which is where stress causes bald spots. She said, “Something is going on with that young lady.” I asked [the client]), and she just broke down in tears. “I can’t find a job. I’m really struggling financially right now.” So we cried together, and we talked through things. I was able to style her hair to hide those patches, and we worked together. A part of healing is seeing that person growing and going through the process of healing. I’m seeing her every month, basically, and I literally was able to watch her hair grow back. She found a job. She stopped stressing. She eliminated those risk factors for her hair and also is healing her through the process. [She’s] getting back to feeling confident and feeling secure and loving on herself more, being aware that how she feels inside will be reflected outside.

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