If you have a child or family member with a disability — or as we like to say DIF-abilities (different abilities) — you know how it warms your heart when people understand, don’t judge, and even accommodate them in restaurants and other public places without a hassle.
A young Twin Cities mom and stylist, Cat Rongitsch, says she wants to create a salon solely for those with challenges, including those on the autism spectrum, the blind, the elderly and so many more. She says the idea was inspired by her daughter Betty, 3, who has developmental challenges associated with a premature birth, and mainly by her stepdaughter Maddie’s journey. The 9-year-old uses a wheelchair due to complications from spina bifida. Cat shared her idea with professionals in the beauty industry and received instant support. While she’s secured one investor so far, she began crowdfunding after realizing she needs $25,000 to outfit her salon with specialized accommodations. For instance, special, quiet hair dryers from Dyson cost $400 each.
Cat goes on to describe her vision, “I want there to be a front door that anyone can go through, with dignity, not having to be shuffled through a weird side door. I want special tile on the flooring for anyone with visual impairment to follow with their cane, headphones, and weighted blankets, fidget toys, screens, quiet spaces, and special venting to make sure aromas don’t linger too long.” She even has a name for her project, “Dignified Beauty” which will be located in St. Paul.
We asked Cat if she had any advice for someone wanting to follow their dream. She said, “If you feel it in your heart, it’s the direction you need to go. Pray about it. The doors will open and just keep going through them – and if they shut, find a window. He’s got me. I’m not worried.”
If you ‘d like to learn more, check out the Dignified Beauty GoFundMe page.