Daryl Cotogno, a former teacher, never dreamed she would create a niche business in the community removing head lice.
“As a teacher, I saw there was an outbreak of head lice every year,” said Ms. Cotogno, owner of Hair Angel New York, a head lice removal service on Staten Island and in Manhattan.
After she was laid off from her job at a private school in 2009, and was frustrated with substituting in the city’s public schools, she thought to herself: “What is there a need for that’s mom-oriented where I could still work with children?”
After someone she knew contracted head lice and sought a lice removal service’s help, a light bulb went off in Ms. Cotogno’s head.
Hair Angel New York – Homebased on Staten Island
Manhattan address: 118 Baxter St., Suite 501 – New York, N.Y., 10013
Established January, 2012 Contact: 917-697-2658 / www.hairangelnewyork.com
“I saw a need in Staten Island for this particular type of service,” she said, noting she was trained at Lice Solutions, a Florida-based training facility, and has two certified employees. “I am trained and certified using a certain (head lice removal) technique.”
Hair Angel New York provides in-home head lice removal treatment and sells preventive products, including enzyme-based shampoos, lice repellent sprays and special lice removal combs called, The Terminator.
“I will go to people’s homes for treatment, which consists of combing through hair with an all-natural product. We go through the hair, strand by strand, manually removing any nits (lice eggs) that are remaining on the hair,” Ms. Cotogno said.
She also advises people about how to rid their homes of lice, and offers free “head checks” and in-school screenings. Daryl Cotogno started Hair Angel New York because “I saw a need in Staten Island for this particular type of service.” (Staten Island Advance/ Bill Lyons)
Ms. Cotogno has been so successful with Hair Angel New York, she opened a storefront in Manhattan in September. She says her provision of “excellent care” will allow her business to grow.
“My service is available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. We work on weekends and nights. It’s not the type of business where you can tell a client to call you on Monday,” she said, noting she also offers competitive pricing and the convenience of in-home service.
“There is such a stigma about lice, people feel better when the removal is done in the privacy of their own home.”
Ms. Cotogno says she hopes to open more shops in other states.