Xamita’s Hair Emporium provides unique hair salon experience

After roughly two decades of work experience and over a thousand hours of schooling, a local East Tennessee resident has achieved her dream, and she has created a unique experience for the community in the process.

Damaris Rivera Oses said she has finally made her dream a reality, opening her new hair salon: Xamita’s Hair Emporium, just this week.

The emporium is the culmination of years of hard work.

“I am from Costa Rica, and I worked there for 10 years,” Oses said.

Upon moving to the U.S., she then worked at a hair salon in North Carolina for a number of years, before finding a job in East Tennessee for the past two years.

Oses said she has brought her heritage with her into her new business, saying her salon is a first of its kind.

“There were no salons in the tri-cities for Hispanic people,” she said.

She said many Spanish-speaking people find traditional American hair salons difficult, in part because of the inability to effectively communicate what they want out of their hair.

“Not all of them speak English, and the stylist does not always understand,” Oses said. “I need someone who can understand me 100 percent.”

Oses said she spent roughly 700 hours studying for her career in Costa Rica, but in the U.S., that requirement is roughly 1,500, more than twice as high, and while she said American programs can be flexible for people with prior schooling, she said she had to make up the resulting difference in only six months.

She said the difference was due to the depth of material students have to learn. Compared to Costa Rica, she said American students learn about the whole body and not just about hair length, highlights and so on.

“When I started studying, my English was bad,” Oses said.

She said she found it difficult to understand the professor in class, not to mention the large textbooks she had to read in order to study effectively. She said she did all of this while trying to learn the language.

Throughout all of that, however, she said she found great support from her husband.

“He was 100 percent behind me the whole way,” she said.

As of now, she said the majority of her clients have been family and friends, but her ambitions for the emporium are much higher.

“My dream is to have a space where Hispanic people can be comfortable,” Oses said. “I always like to help people feel better.”

Despite the focus on the Hispanic population, she said her business does not restrict itself to Hispanic clients. She said American clients are just as welcome.

“That is why it is called an emporium,” she said.

Potential customers can contact the emporium for more details by calling 423-895-0099 or by stopping by the emporium in person at 1241 Bristol Highway.

“This is a very friendly place where people can have a nice time,” Oses said.

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