Osmane Da Cunha Talks Hair & Business

  • Words: Bruce Reynolds

Originally from Belo Horizonte in Brazil, fashion hairstylist Osmane Da Cunha now lives in New York City by way of São Paulo and Chicago. Highly sought after, he’s one of the standouts in the New York fashion scene. His skills and eye creates the looks many of us see on runways and in fashion spreads around the world.

What made you start your business?

I worked in a hair salon for many years. After while I was burnt out. I wanted to grow more independently and as a person.

Tell us a bit about your background – what led you to starting your own business?

I was born and raised in Brazil and that’s where I started as a hairdresser. I worked in the financial industry in Brazil at a very young age. I was going to school at night, and working during the day as a messenger at a bank in my hometown. I moved to Rio after high school then São Paulo, and that’s where I was working for the accounting firm, and hated it. So, on weekends I used to go to one of my friend’s hair salon, which was very well known in São Paulo and I’d help them wash hair, sweep the floor, and make some extra cash to survive on living in the big city.

Who have you styled for?

Since I moved to New York in 2008, I have worked for six years with Orlando Pita in shows and assisting him in some editorials and campaigns. I’ve also worked with Serge Normant, Guido Palau, and Paul Hanlon – all well known in the fashion show world.

Which entrepreneur or business has given you inspiration?

There are so many great hairdressers out there, though I have to say for me Orlando Pita, Julien d’Ys, Nicolas Jurnjack, Garren New York, and Alexandre de Paris.

Running a business is tough – what do you do when you aren’t working, and how do you manage the life/work balance?

I like to swim, workout and do triathlons when I’m not working, an, of course visit my family and friends in Brazil.

How big is your team?

When I’m working with other people, I am in a large group. It can be 20 or 40 hairdressers, but when I’m doing my own job, I have one assistant.

What’s your plans for the future growth of your business?

Never stop learning and always try to reinvent myself creatively.

Each business is a brand  – what are the blocks to building a strong business in your opinion?

Be self-confident and assertive. I’m very comfortable and enthusiastic in what I do. I am learning everyday, and I love what I do.

What’s your point of difference regarding what you do?

I put all my heart my passion in it.

Has there been anything you really wanted to do which wasn’t commercially viable?

Yes, it’s kind of hard sometimes. There’s always something I want to do creatively, it’s almost a need that I have to express myself through my work.

How do you think you can make it happen?

I guess I’ll have to step aside at some time, and do my own thing, or maybe I’ll share my idea with someone that will hopefully believe in my creative vision.

What inspires your creativity?

Life, in general, inspires me. Just what I see around me, I am aware of my surroundings.

What’s been your most successful form of marketing and promotion for your business?

Actually when I’m at work, and I’m hands on, that’s been the best marketing and promotion to my business.

What’s the best thing about running your business?

To be able to make or choose what I want to do. That gives a certain kind of freedom.

What’s on your work playlist?

The Cure, Seu Jorge, Belchior, Midnight Magic.

What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneurs?

Believe in yourself; do what you love.

  • As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re talking to entrepreneurs who made the impossible possible and now run some of the world’s most unique enterprises. Read other profiles in the series here.