It’s not easy opening a new business in Westport.
It’s especially tough in a crowded, competitive field like hair styling.
But in December 2018, Felicia Catale did it.
Salon Nash has made it past that crucial one-year point. And despite many obstacles and challenges, Felicia would not have it any other way.
She’s well known in Westport. She admits that not everyone knows her name. But when they see her face, they realize she’s worked at some of the top salons in town. In fact, she’s been here for 27 years.
Born in Italy, she was 2 when her parents brought her to Bridgeport. Felicia first studied hairdressing at Bullard-Havens High School, and got her first job long before graduation.
Moving to Westport, her resume includes time at Tony’s, Karen & Frank’s and Austin Rolfe.
Roger Leifer has watched her work for 20 years. When Tony’s closed, he urged her not to leave town. He said he’d help her open her own place, at a property he owned: Nash’s Plaza.
There — in the small Post Road West shopping center just past Kings Highway Elementary School — Felicia styles hair for men, women and children.
“I love colors, art and people,” she says. “I’m so happy to create something that makes other people happy.”
Her clients — many of whom followed her from other salons — are happy too.
One of the most satisfied was A.E. Hotchner. For years she made house calls to the famed author, who died last month at 102.
“We talked about a lot of things,” she says. “He always told me about luck, and being in the right place at the right time.”
Despite Leifer’s help though, the first year has not been easy.
“It’s hard starting from scratch,” Felicia says. “I’m not branded, like a lot of big salons. I didn’t buy an existing business. It’s all word of mouth. People know who I am, but they don’t recognize the name Salon Nash. Or they know my face, but not my name.”
She’s learned to “stay focused, and remember where I came from and where I am. I’ll never give up,” she says.
After all, she is doing what she loves. Updos for weddings, giving women the now-back-in-style platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe look, providing classic looks for men and giving kids what they want — it all comes to a head, at Felicia Catale’s Salon Nash.
(During the coronavirus pandemic, Westport is limiting all hair salons to appointments only — no walk-in customers. Felicia will also do house calls. Her number is 203-747-9753.)