Noe moved to O‘ahu from Batac in the Phillipines in 1996. “I was petitioned by my parents, with the hope of better opportunities,” Noe explained. And she certainly dove right into her “American Dream,” quickly acquiring a degree from the Hawai‘i Institute of Hair Design in Honolulu in 1997.
Starting her career as a stylist at Supercuts in Kaneohe, Noe rapidly moved up the ranks to management in Mililani. Her responsibilities expanded, and soon Noe was flying back and forth to Maui to manage and oversee the Kīhei, Kahului and Pukalani stores.
She met her future husband, Eisen Gilo, in a salon chair on Maui. Together since 2006, Eisen recalled, “[Opening a salon] has been a dream of hers for a long time. I remember when we were first dating, she said, ‘One day, I’m going to have my own salon.’ And she did what she had to do to get there. She works really hard.”
Noe Gilo, owner and stylist at Hairstyles by Noe, finishes a beautiful up-do for a client’s special evening.
Owning a new business has certainly been a juggling act. The couple is raising nine children collectively—four of Noe’s, four of Eisen’s and one together. The children range from 2 to 20 years old. As with their new salon, the Gilos are determined to make it work.
“It’s not easy blending families together,” said Eisen. “Like anything else in life, it’s a challenge. We just work through it.”
This can-do attitude and notion of togetherness also seems to permeate the business aspect of their lives. Opening the salon in July 2010 was a family affair. With the help of family and friends, the Gilos worked through permitting and renovation challenges that arose.
“I demolished everything with the help of my friends,” said Eisen. “I have a friend who’s a general contractor, and he helped a lot. I put up the drywall with my son. My wife and I put in the flooring ourselves.”
The result of this blood, sweat and tears approach? “The salon is like our second home now,” said Eisen.
The biggest challenge thus far, according to Noe, is competing against other established salons. However, she and her team are building a solid reputation in the community.
“When customers come in here, they comment on our cleanliness and professionalism,” said Eisen. “We try to provide our clients with the best service possible and they notice the difference.”
Part of the Gilos recipe to success is their relationship with their four stylists, Reiko Maiwa, Connie Bio, Melissa Shimokawa and Anthony Campagna. (Of course, Noe rounds out the team.) The Gilos offer a generous commission to their employees.
“What they put into the business, they get out of the business,” said Eisen. “Our stylists see the potential of working for us, and they all put in a lot of effort. They’re really great.”
Hairstyles by Noe specializes in a wide range of treatments. In addition to haircuts, color, highlights, perms and up-dos, Noe prides herself on the more unique services her salon offers. Japanese straightening, for example, is garnering popularity.
“Unlike Brazilian straightening, Japanese straightening is permanent and doesn’t need to be re-applied every six months,” she explained.
The salon also features hair extensions and feather extensions. Furthermore, Hairstyles by Noe specializes in make-up application and waxing, and plans to add massage in the near future.
“We are a full-service salon that provides the best quality hair service along with affordable prices, and we go the extra mile for our customers to satisfy all their hair-care needs. I love introducing them to new style ideas.”
“The best part of my job is making the customer happy,” said Noe.
Hairstyles by Noe is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sundays are available by appointment only.)