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Jamie Caruso, 34

A salon founder brings NYC-area luxury service to Southwest Florida.


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  • | 5:00 p.m. October 12, 2023
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Jamie Caruso holding photos of her mentors.
Jamie Caruso holding photos of her mentors.
Photo by Mark Wemple
  • Class of 2023
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The world becomes a better place when entrepreneurs identify a market need and deliver value to their customers.

In Naples, Jamie Caruso saw a need for high quality hair salon service — the kind you could get in Manhattan or the suburbs of New Jersey, where Caruso is from originally. In part, she was clued in by her customers’ reaction to her phone number. 

“When people would see 973,” an area code for northern New Jersey, “they would say, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Caruso says.

She did her market research, too, essentially playing secret shopper at area salons to get a feel for the customer experience being delivered at various price points. In her view, while the prices were reminiscent of Manhattan, the service was not. 

With Salon Lusso (lusso in Italian means “luxury”), Caruso’s play is clear. “My clients expect the best, and that’s always what I intend to deliver,” she says.

In the coming weeks, Caruso will have a slightly easier time delivering that experience, as she moves into a new space with six styling chairs, up from two today, along with six color stations. And she has her eye on further growth — not to another salon, but with features like her own product line, and even her own cosmetology school. “I would love to inspire other people in this industry,” she says. 

As for who has inspired her, Caruso has a basketball team worth of heroes: her business mentor Barry Freda (“a powerhouse”, she says, who taught her to never take no for an answer), her neighbor Tina (“she’s true blue”), her mom and dad (“exemplary parents”). And then there’s her husband Joe, who built and sold a gym in New Jersey before moving to Florida. “You could feel the community that he built,” she says.

With Salon Lusso, Caruso is attempting to replicate that sense of community. “My friends stop by all the time,” she says. “My one client left a review — you never know who’s gonna be in next.”

 

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