INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — An Inver Grove Heights woman has setup a GoFundMe page for a one of a kind hair salon. The salon would be accessible to people with physical or intellectual challenges.
The woman behind the salon, Cat Rongitsch, has been a hairstylist for 10 years; she works mostly privately with clients. She also has a second job that takes up much of her time.
“Right now, I’m taking care of my grandparents with dementia and taking care of my little girls with disabilities,” said Rongitsch.
Now, she is taking on a few other job, such as fundraiser and entrepreneur.
“Dignified Beauty is the name of the salon,” she said. “My older daughter Maddy is actually my step-daughter, I met her when she was two and I was working in a salon at that time. I noticed more and more how we would have to take back doors or side entrances to get into buildings. Once we were in with her and her wheelchair we would have to make a lot of accommodations just to get around the inside of the building. That idea just started as a little scratch in the back of my head, that places should be more accessible. And I’m a salon person so maybe I could have a salon that was more accessible.”
Rongitsch is attempting to raise $25,000 to purchase specialized equipment and get the salon off the ground.
She already has partners willing to invest in the business, but special equipment is needed. The money would go toward creating quiet spaces in the salon, using high contrasting colors for people who are visually impaired, and special tiling to make pathways and to purchase tablets to keep children still.
“Dyson© makes a blow dryer that’s almost silent. It’s $400 per dryer. So we’ll have the salon outfitted with those blow dryers. Fidget toys, weighted blankets, things like that,” said Rongitsch.
She says there are aspects of a salon that can create obstacles for some individuals to have a positive experience. Many times the haircut is secondary.
“I want to open in Ramsey County and St. Paul, but I don’t have a specific space,” said Rongitsch.
As of Monday afternoon, she raised a little more than $3,500 toward her $25,000 goal. You can donate at the GoFundMe page.