A luxury beauty affair has come to Detroit. That’s how 33-year-old entrepreneur Katrina Wilson describes Crème Brûlée, her new full-service, multicultural salon in the city’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood.
It was a spoiled spa day in Los Angeles back in 2014 that sparked the idea for Crème Brûlée. Wilson and each of her friends had to go to separate salons to get the proper care for their various hair textures.
“I wanted to just go out and do a girls’ spa day. And it was almost impossible because I had so many female friends from different races and different ethnicities, and we could not go to one place,” Wilson says. “I was like, ‘You know what? I want to create a space that can service women or any individual regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender preference. I want to create a space where you can go with all your friends, have a great time, and not feel like you have to be segregated.’”
The $800,000 salon, tucked inside The Platform’s Baltimore Station mixed-use development on Woodward, was made possible in part by grants from Motor City Match, Midtown Detroit, Inc., Michigan Women Forward, and others.
Crème Brûlée truly is a one-stop shop. Customers can take their pick from an extensive selection of hair services, including blowouts, coloring and cuts, extensions, hair strengthening treatments, and bridal styling. Nail and makeup services are available, and the spa menu includes facials, massages, eyelash extensions, waxing, and laser hair removal. Premium cocktails will be available, and a selfie station is there for folks to snap their best pics. And get this — there’s a designated area for celebrity clientele and a secret entrance for discretely letting them in.
And it gets even better. Crème Brûlée doubles as an event space for bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and other special occasions — and the salon itself is only one of three levels. Above the salon, Wilson is using one of Baltimore Station’s apartments as a stylishly decorated Airbnb that’s open to everyone, not just Crème Brûlée customers. In the basement, meanwhile, is the Beauty Lounge, a rentable space to chill, enjoy complimentary drinks, and play games.
Wilson’s journey in the beauty industry began at age 13 when she started doing people’s hair at her grandmother’s home. The Detroit native graduated at age 16 with both her high school diploma and her cosmetology license. A couple years after graduating from college, she completed another rigorous cosmetology program at Paul Mitchell The School Michigan, where she says she learned how to care for various hair textures. Over the past decade, Wilson has traveled the country as a celebrity stylist, working with artists including singer Rita Ora and rapper 2 Chainz, and on the sets of TV shows including Real Housewives of Atlanta and Nashville.
As a dream nearly 10 years in the making finally comes true, Wilson says the achievement is about more than making money; it’s about creating a cultural hub, bringing a luxury experience to Detroit, and opening doors to the beauty industry for others.
“It’s about those that are coming up behind me,” she says. “I want them to feel that no matter what area you come from, no matter what walk of life you have, you can do anything you set your mind to.”
For more information, visit cremebruleedetroit.com.
This story is featured in the August 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition.