Breaking Barriers

Dwayne Ferguson seeks to foster inclusion in his hair salon.

Photographer: Duane Tinkey

The only deaf salon owner in Greater Des Moines, Dwayne Ferguson opened Salon Noir last September in Hotel Des Lux downtown. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, the 47-year-old Ferguson has worked in Des Moines for the past seven years. We asked him about his background, his business and his beauty tips. 

How did you get started as a stylist? I attended school in Marshalltown for two years. There was no interpreting for two years straight, so I had to use my cochlear implant to listen.

Where else have you worked in Des Moines? Blondie’s in West Des Moines, Techne Salon on Ingersoll, and Aviva Salon. 

How did you find this space? My friend used to be a bartender at the Des Lux, and one of the hotel mangers told him there was space that was never used, so they told me about it and I decided to buy the space. 

Tell us about your clientele. About 70% of my clientele lives in Des Moines, and it’s split roughly equally between hearing and hard-of-hearing. I’ve been mainly word of mouth; some out-of-state people come to see me. I have Salon Noir Instagram and Facebook pages and post all hair before-and-after shots. The clients love it. 

Who inspires you? Tabatha Coffey and Damien Carney. (Coffey is an Australian hairdresser, life coach and television personality with platinum blonde hair, and Carney is a world-renowned British hairstylist and photographer.)

What’s your go-to product? Amika is my favorite hair product—it smells incredible.

Two of your favorite places to grab drinks: Bubba and Splash. I like to send my out-of-town guests to the East Village for shopping and lunch/dinner and to Hello, Marjorie for a cocktail in the evenings.

What’s in the works at Salon Noir? A manicure station is something the salon is budgeting for. The independent stylists are budgeting for air-brush makeup and event hairstyling classes for bridal parties.

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