If ever in the Kansas City, MO, area, you’ll find a cozy suburb called Lee’s Summit, The Annex by AO. Owned and operated under the leadership of Aisha Ogletree and her team, The Annex is a premier salon specializing in the management and styling of natural and relaxed hair, hair extensions, and other aesthetic processes.
Aisha began to develop a love and passion for hair at the tender age of 9. Her aunt was a stylist and would allow her to help out as much as possible. After that, she was officially hooked. “Hair is what I am known for. I love being creative and am always thinking of ways to make things better.”
Now, with over 30 years under her belt, Aisha has built a successful and sustainable hair enterprise, and is considered one of the top professionals in the haircare industry. Her innovative work has opened many doors and has positioned her to quickly evolve into a sought-after celebrity stylist. A few celebs that she’s been fortunate to service and/or work directly with at various events are: Marsha Ambrosius (@marshaambrosius), Tonya Johnston a.k.a. Sole’ (@MrsSole), Tennessee Titans’ Dexter McCluster, Cleveland Browns’ DeWayne Bowe, Techn9ne (@TechN9ne), E-40 (@E40), former LA Lakers’ Clay Johnson, Ginuwine (@Ginuwine), Chrystal Rucker (@ChrystalRucker), Denver Broncos’ Shane Ray, GooGoo Atkins (@THEEGooGoo), and Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelsey.
Like anything worth having, building and running a profitable business was no easy cakewalk. The biggest challenges that Ogletree had to overcome were:
1. Setting Goals. For many of her early years, she didn’t have a license. Therefore, she became intentional and accomplished this goal by enrolling in an apprenticeship program.
2. Making Right Connections. Even after having a full clientele, she wanted more out of the business and in life, so it became her mission to be surrounded by the right people to help her grow and flourish.
3. Embracing the Process. She learned everything, from how to run a business, how to improve her skills and techniques as a stylist, what not to do in business, and how to build relationships and treat people properly.
4. Removing the Limits. Sometimes you can stay stuck in what you think you know, but it was important to Aisha to “take the limits off” and create new haircare experiences for her clientele. She embraced everything from branding to marketing to conquering her fear of public speaking.
In order to remain relevant in the haircare industry, Ogletree constantly studies trends and uses technology to keep her and the team up to speed. She is also widely known for hosting events and taking massive action in the community. Anything that involves family, marriage, hair shows or just helping people in general, she doesn’t mind putting her hands, heart, time, talent and treasure in it. The next unfolding of her vision, is to expand the existing salon with more space and new service offerings. Other goals include providing education, training, and resources to other hair stylists and professionals in her industry and to “work on set” at top events, premieres, and shows around the country.
Advice Aisha shares with those who want to pursue this profession, is to first develop a deep passion and genuine love for your work, and don’t go into this field just for monetary reasons only. Consider the money as a bonus. Lastly, leave your ego at the door. “You never know everything, always educate yourself.” She was recently featured at the New York Fashion Week, working alongside celebrity hairstylist Tippi Shorter (@TippiShorter). She also taught classes at the National Hair Show and will be producing an innovative hair show, ARTopia, on October 4.