Mallory Tamasi, Danielle Martin, Kathleen Dilodovico, Sherri Hendrickson, Andrea Angelico, Margaret Merrick, Heather Senf, Maria Rienzi-Nicieza, Rena Rich and Kristin Rogalinski all work at Salon Bellissima. (Staff photo by Kait Kelly.)

Co-owners of Salon Bellissima and lifelong friends Andrea Angelico and Maria Rienzi-Nicieza have been in the beauty industry for more than 25 years. But eight years ago, they decided it was time to open up a business of their own.

Their goal was to create a comfortable, affordable salon for the community serving both women and men. They think they’ve reached that with Salon Bellissima.

“Belissima is Italian for beautiful,” Nicieza said. “We’re both Italian. When trying to decide a name, we wanted to come up with something that was relative to the industry, but we wanted to also make it our own.”

Since opening up on Route 130 in Hamilton, Angelico and Rienzi-Nicieza’s staff has grown from six employees to 10.

“All our girls have experience in the industry,” Rienzi-Nicieza said. “They go to shows a lot to keep up with the latest styles.”

Aside from their business, they said their vicinity is growing as well, which is an added bonus for them.

“We’re in a great location,” Angelico said. “It’s really building up here, especially compared to when we first opened. Now we have the Shoppes of Hamilton right here, Hamilton Marketplace, and we’re convenient to I-295. The area is growing rapidly.”

Angelico and Rienzi-Nicieza believe a lot of their business’ growth and success is due to ambiance of their salon.

“I think our salon is very homey,” Angelico said. “People feel comfortable here. It’s like family. We’re not extremely upscale or snobby.”

Rienzi-Nicieza said the salon provides a very relaxed atmosphere for not only its customers, but its employees as well.

Aside from the basic haircut, Salon Bellissima also offers color, highlights, extensions, makeup, nails and waxing. Additionally, they offer prom and bridal packages.

“We do prom and bridal hair like updos, but we also do a makeup service included with that,” Rienzi-Nicieza said. “A lot of places don’t offer the combination of both.”

Angelico and Rienzi-Nicieza are proud of their salon in terms of their pricing. They consider themselves affordable, while still using the same product line as everyone else.

“It’s not like we’re using lower quality products,” Rienzi-Nicieza said. “We carry Redken, Matrix, Keratin, etc. We also use all MAC makeup. It’s a good product line.”

Salon Bellissima takes pride in helping out within the community. For the second year in a row, they will be volunteering their services for the Steinert High School fashion show, doing hair for six of the girls.

“We always knew we wanted to do hair,” Angelico said. “This is where we’re supposed to be.”

Salon Bellisima takes both appointments and walk-ins. It is located in Buckley Plaza at 621 U.S. Highway 130, Suite 6 in Hamilton. It is open Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (609) 585-4110. Website: salonbellissimanj.com.