Rosa Quiles got her start in the hairdressing business as part of the staff at Salon Shampu at 31 Philadelphia Ave. in Egg Harbor City. Thirteen years later, she's back where she started - this time as owner.

Quiles opened Roq Star Salon in early January. Although it has been a month, the excitement of having a salon to call her own hasn't yet begun to wane.

"It's always been a dream of mine to own my own salon, and now that it's here, I haven't stopped smiling since I opened," Quiles said.

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Roq Star offers an array of services, such as haircuts, color, waxes and perms, and specializes in keratin treatments, Brazilian blow-outs and extensions.

Quiles spent her entire hairdressing career prior to opening Roq Star at Shampu, which moved to another location in Egg Harbor City eight years ago and to Hammonton four years ago. She started on the path to salon ownership two years ago, when Shampu owner Emily Mahan informed her staff that she planned on closing the shop. Mahan offered Quiles a buyout, but she elected to strike out on her own.

Roq Star has so far been a big success for Quiles. Most of the salon's clients are from the immediate Egg Harbor City area.

Quiles is the salon's sole employee, which allows her the freedom of coming and going as she pleases. Being within walking distance of her Egg Harbor City home has trimmed 10 minutes off her daily commute, which has been a big relief for the busy mom.

"I'm spoiled. I don't want to ever have to do that again," Quiles said. "My son is in basketball, so I was rushing there to run to him. The girls are in gymnastics, (so) I had to go over there. It was a lot."

Quiles' salon has been well-received by her clients, and none is prouder for her than her mother, Juanita Hood.

Hood gets her hair done by her daughter once per week, and Quiles' work earns her a lot of compliments, she said.

"When I go to work, everybody, the people literally stop me and say, 'Where did you get your hair done?'" Hood said. "Now that she opened up her shop, I've been giving a lot of her flyers out."

While this is her first venture on her own, Quiles has some experience with running a salon, as she helped Mahan manage Shampu for several years before it closed Jan. 1.

Mahan, who has acted as a mentor to Quiles since she started 13 years ago, said she's confident her protege will succeed.

"I'm extremely proud of her because she had the courage to go out on her own," said Mahan, who gets her hair done by Quiles. "I have a good feeling about it for her. I think she's going to do phenomenally."

Success for Quiles has so far been overwhelming, with clients filling her calendar. Her work has garnered rave reviews in the few weeks she's been back in Egg Harbor City.

While she admits there's a bit of uncertainty that comes along with being in business for herself, with all the help she has from her friends and family, she's confident she's in Egg Harbor City to stay.

"You want to succeed, but you have that other part of you that's like the angel and the devil, one is saying, 'You're not going to do it,'" Quiles said. "But like I said, nothing but support from everybody, and it's been great."

Roq Star is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. To schedule an appointment, call 609-593-6662.

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