Years before I had a clue about how to manage my hair in its naturally curly state, before the Curly Movement was a thing, Dulce Gomez was leading the way in cutting and styling textured hair. When I met Dulce ‘Cookie’ Gomez at her Ann Arbor salon, Above Ground Hair Studio, I was struggling and unhappy with my hair. That first visit to her salon in the early 2000’s was a turning point in my curly hair journey. As she did with so many, Cookie transformed my attitude and helped me to see my curls as an asset, rather than a defect. It’s no wonder that her eclectic studio became known as one of Ann Arbor’s top salons.
After creating my first prototype products, Cookie agreed to meet with me for a product demo. I realize now how rare it is for a busy salon owner to take the time to meet with a completely unheard of and obscure brand. Her characteristic openness was in full effect, however, and, before I even completed my ‘presentation’ she immediately began smelling, feeling, and applying the products to her own hair. After a short trial period, she brought the line into her salon and, just like that, I had my first salon client.
That was the beginning of a long and fruitful creative collaboration. Cookie and her staff of stylists provided detailed feedback on the products, even helping me to refine them to meet their clients’ needs. Cookie had a very attentive approach to the unique traits of diverse hair types and her clientele ran the gamut from coarse and straight to thick and kinky. She generously opened her salon space for events and photo shoots and was untiring and passionate in her support of Original Moxie. Without her help, the brand would not be what it is today.
This past weekend, the Curly Community lost one of its Greats when Cookie passed away after a long and difficult illness. Her incredible life force and energy continue on, however, through all the lives she touched and changed for the better. You will be sorely missed, Cookie. May your spirit fly free.