The businessman Bruno Sodré (34) knows well the ups and downs of life. Today he owns a luxury salon at the Morumbi Town Shopping in São Paulo, and remembers the difficulties of the past with victory flavor, when his parents’ pizzeria went bankrupt and they found themselves in financial difficulties. The young man’s determination made him transform the house laundry into an improvised salon, which soon grew by leaps and bounds, winning a loyal clientele and turning his dreams into reality.
In an exclusive interview for GAY BLOG BR, Bruno Sodré tells a little more about his amazing story of overcoming.
Are you from Capão Redondo? How was your childhood?
In fact, I was born in the neighborhood of Jabaquara and we moved to Capão Redondo, where my parents had a business. My parents had a pizzeria in Capão and I lived there. I lived there in the region, then I lived a little further away. Then we went back to Capão. I did not have a needy childhood, in fact my parents were even successful. I was studying at a private school, one of the most expensive in the region, but my parents unfortunately did not know how to deal with money or the management of this pizzeria and they went bankrupt. We were left with nothing, I left school, my parents sold the car, we had nowhere to go. My parents also fell into schemes, they couldn’t look at everything in the company, so they ended up taking some financial blows and we went to live in the house of an uncle in Capão Redondo. My mother was a domestic and my father was a delivery man, then again they reformulated our whole life and built a house there on my grandmother’s land in Capão Redondo in 2000. And then I was raised from 2000 to now, 21 years ago, I should have been around 13 years old, but I was raised in Capão Redondo.
In what year did you create your salon in Capão Redondo? How was the movement, the clientele there?
In 2012/13, it was when I started to work, I had been a hairdressing assistant before, but in 2013 I started working in the kitchen at my house. I started to advertise a lot on Facebook and started to receive a clientele. Indication too, made at the client’s house. And then I started to save money and asked my parents if I could renovate the laundry (because there was an unused laundry there in my house). They said okay. I reformed the laundry and posted on Facebook that I had remodeled and such.
From a laundry room to a highly luxurious salon in an upscale area it is quite a journey. How did this turn come about?
I don’t remember using any kind of strategy, I went along with what it was supposed to be. As the demand came, I was increasing. I was in the laundry room at home, I worked a lot, I had already made a lot of money there. I already had an employee, because I called my neighbor to help me and when I saw it I had already employed three people there in the house laundry, with fixed salary and everything; and then there was the demand. I advertised on Facebook, paid a post, sponsored a link, paid Google Ads and that’s how I started to dissipate my work. I think it was also a different job, a different way of selling for the time, where almost nobody posted a “before and after” picture. Nowadays they already do. So how, I managed to do this at a time when nobody did it, you get to be known for that first. And then when you are recognized first, you can kind of last forever (laughs), understand? You get a little notorious for that, so that’s why nowadays there are a lot of hairdressers doing the same thing.
Did you get inspired by someone or a business to create your own salon?
I never had any kind of inspiration for a business model. I was inspired by the salons where I had previously worked, like Jacques Janine, Studio W etc. They are beautiful salons, a very modern thing. So, even at home laundry, if you look at the photo it was a very beautiful space, well made. It doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to have a good taste you can make a luxurious look. But I was not inspired by a person or brand.
We understand that you have plans to launch a line of cosmetics and hair treatments. Would it be something aimed at diversity and minorities?
I strongly believe in a universal sale, but it will certainly be a very inclusive brand. Many brands are now getting it because they have to be that way. The way this will be publicized and sold, in that way I have several projects in mind, several inclusive campaigns, both for us and for black people. I really want to put all kinds of people in my merchandising, so, for sure, my brand will be very inclusive. Outside formulating, which is something I love. I don’t formulate because I didn’t study for it, but I’ve been working with hair for 17 years, so telling someone what I need in a product is fun for me. Also, I have a really cool creative streak in terms of image and audio, so I really like our songs in the gay sense, the beat of the club, you know? Things like that. So I really want to create an image that reminds me of my club days. ButI care a lot for everyone to feel very comfortable, because I think this is the best thing, right.
Your team is made up of LGBT and black people, how did this idea come about?
About my team, I never planned to have gays or not, it is a thing of capacity and opportunity. When I schedule an interview I don’t ask if that person is gay, bi or trans. She is simply invited to do a test in the salon and, in this test, we see if she knows do what she is asked to do – and by doing well, she is hired. It does not matter your skin color or gender. Anyway, we gays get along really well with our hair, thanks to God we rock: gays, trans … everyone. Everyone has talent, but everyone knows that us gurls rocks – and then I give them the opportunity. I want her to know that it’s not me who gave her the opportunity, but that she gave herself that opportunity, because I don’t like this heroism of the type “I gave the opportunity for a trans”, “I gave the opportunity for a gay”. They gave themselves the opportunity, I believed only. The problem is that people don’t believe and don’t give an opportunity. This is very sad, I know because I have heard stories and seen them with my eyes and, in short, it is very sad. I don’t like having a crown on my head; the crown has to be theirs because they are doing a great job. I’m not a huge fan of me being a hero because I make mistakes and when I make mistakes I don’t want the person to be left with this impression “oh you see he was perfect, now he is no longer”.
The trans who works with me, she’s auditioning for being a colorist, she was my assistant. But she is in the testing phase now. She left the salon and then asked to come back. She saw that the world outside is hard (laughs) so she asked to come back. I left it, because I’m very nice… I’m kidding (laughs). But it is true, she left, she wanted to leave, and I said “all right!”. She left, saw how it was outside and came back, apologized and ask for a second chance. And I did, she works very well, I didn’t hold any bad feelings, she even came back with her breasts.
And you were in another country, went to Dubai … A country that is not very gay friendly. Were you afraid of suffering some kind of prejudice there?
Dubai is a very receptive place for tourism, I never suffered any kind of prejudice there. I believe that knowing where you are going and respecting where you are going, nothing will happen to you. On the contrary, I was always very respected there. I try to know how to behave in the place where I am, just as I would like people to behave where I am too. It’s all about respect, so I really like it there. I have never suffered any kind of prejudice. Dubai is a tourist place that is open to the world.
And can you find time to dating?
I’m single. I dated Victor for six years, it was a really cool relationship, I learned a lot, he learned a lot. I met him when he was 18, today he is 25, he was just a boy and so. Today we have become best friends. We breakup up in the pandemic, 7 to 8 months ago and because he was part of my life in a very important way and helped me get to where I got indirectly, because we get there because of our merits, but there are people who are there supporting us. As he always accompanied me, he lived with me and accompanied me in the salon too (he worked with me, helped me in the salon), even though we were finishing up, I kept him in his job. We are now best friends and today he is the salon manager at the Morumbi Town Shopping. If you go there you will see that the manager is my ex-boyfriend and we separate this very well. I don’t know if he’s seeing someone or not (laughs), it’s also none of my business. But our love as brothers remains, the love of respect remains. The boyfriend’s love may have been gone for a while, worn out. He’s a very young boy, he has a lot to live and learn in that matter, so I really want to have him forever as a friend and he knows it.
You may have already made several dreams come true, but which one is still missing?
I usually say that I don’t dream much. I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to be alive and living the experiences that I live through, so I can’t speak like this:”Oh I made my dreams come true”. My next dream to be realized is this line of cosmetics, it will be in my hands and I will be very happy. If she doesn’t come now, or if she never comes, that’s okay too. The important thing is that we are always feeling good with ourselves, so I am very calm with dreams.