D’Portier Beauty makeup products and owner Talina Porter-Smith.
West Bloomfield has opened its first Black-owned luxury hair salon and the buzz is spreading. With more than 20 years in the beauty industry, owner Talina Porter-Smith is shattering glass ceilings and not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Her journey is one showing how tenacity can win opportunities that traditional measures may rule out.
D’Portier Beauty officially opened its doors in early November. The West Bloomfield salon and spa includes services like hair and makeup, body sculpting, massages, facials, waxing and more. However, becoming the first and only Black-owned luxury hair salon in the area did not happen overnight. The owner, a Detroit native, began at home, but a later moved to the south which helped sharpen her skills and grow her base.
Attending cosmetology school fresh out of high school, it was in makeup that the budding entrepreneur found her niche. With a strong knowledge base of both hair and makeup, the artist hit the big leagues and worked for several top cosmetics brands throughout her career.
“I went to cosmetology school in hopes of being able to do makeup for tv, film, movies and things of that nature, but a different journey happened,” said Porter-Smith. “I worked for nine different cosmetics lines; I worked for 10 years at MAC; NARS, Bobbi Brown, Fashion Fair, etc.”
A move to Atlanta would help lay the foundation for the D’Portier empire that is today. While working for a large cosmetics company, Porter-Smith began freelancing for a local photographer. What began as just makeup services extended to include hair as well.
“This photographer was also freelancing and trying to build up his book, so I would do makeup for his models, but the models would never have their hair done,” said Porter-Smith. “Because I was licensed, I started doing both and enjoying it.”
Using this as momentum, the consummate student returned to school to continue to hone her craft and quickly grew her base in Atlanta. Opening two studios in Atlanta’s most prominent neighborhood, the itch to grow the empire into Porter-Smith’s hometown of Detroit was inevitable. Relocating to West Bloomfield in 2016, a suburb of Detroit, the idea for D’Portier Beauty’s Michigan location was officially birthed.
“My husband and I moved back here [to Detroit] with our son and I wanted to make things happen in the state that I was from,” said Porter-Smith. “I’ve always had a vision of owning my own salon and spa and I noticed West Bloomfield didn’t have a Black salon here and that kind of bothered me.”
Falling in love with one location, securing the space presented a new challenge for Porter-Smith. Property owners were initially not willing to lease the space to Porter-Smith.
“I was told ‘no’ first because I didn’t have the capital that the owners were looking for. I didn’t come from a rich family. I’m not a Kardashian or am just able to say a dream and make it happen. I didn’t come from money like that so everything I worked for, I built,” said Porter-Smith.
A no, would, however, then turn into a yes. Persistence helped secure the building. A heartfelt personal touch led owners to seal the deal on the salon’s new home.
“I went back to the drawing board because of the capital. I never changed my capital amount. I wanted the building really bad and I wrote a letter and asked my realtor to give it to the landlord. I poured my heart out into the letter. I wrote to them what I wanted the space for, why it was important to me to have this space,” said Porter-Smith.
The landlord’s approval of the space helped to create a shift in diversity not only for West Bloomfield but also for beauty and personal care.
“The strip plaza that I’m in, it hasn’t even seen a Black-owned storefront let alone beauty,” said Porter-Smith. “It wasn’t common.”
D’Portier Beauty now serves as a sign to the power of will and valiant effort. The salon is located at 6905 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI.