Brillare owner Janet D’Amato (right) works with customer
Annette Knebes. D’Amato has helped more than 20 women
start their own businesses under the Brillare umbrella.
PEWAUKEE — Back in 2004, Janet D’Amato of Pewaukee took
out a loan as a single mother of two and started a
hairstyling and nail technician salon called Brillare,
which means to brilliantly shine in Italian.
Located at 1840 Meadow Lane in Pewaukee, Brillare’s open
concept design is unique in that all stylists and
technicians work for themselves, said D’Amato. After 13
years, D’Amato’s team consists of “21 women and one
tough-skinned guy,” said D’Amato with a chuckle.
Looking back on the day she took out the loan, D’Amato
recalls feeling blindly ambitious. She was recently
divorced but she didn’t want to sit back in despair over
the tough hand she had been dealt.
“I wanted to be a really good role model and example to
my children,” said D’Amato. “I just knew I had to make
it work because I was putting it all on the line.”
D’Amato chose the name for the business because it
matched well with who she was as a single mother and
what she wanted to achieve as a business owner. She said
her goal was to help other like-minded individuals
become independent and shine on their own.
“I wanted to help people launch their own businesses and
feel the same excitement that I felt when I became
self-employed,” said D’Amato. “They already know in
their mind that they can do it, it’s just a matter of
showing them the way.”
As D’Amato created opportunities for others she charted
her own course of self-growth and in the process created
something that her kids could be proud of, she said.
“It was very empowering and liberating because you had
faith in yourself to do what it takes to be successful,”
said D’Amato. “Nobody can do that for you, you have to
do that for yourself.”
D’Amato’s hard work and the dedication of her co-workers
has led to the cultivation of a loving and supportive
environment at Brillare.
“All of these girls will help take others under their
wing and help them be successful as well,” said D’Amato.
“That’s the kind of team-based culture that I’ve been
really striving to uphold.”
D’Amato said getting the business where it is now wasn’t
easy. When she first started, filling seats at the salon
was difficult because her business model was not yet
popular in the industry. Another hurdle for D’Amato was
the fact that her kids had to spend a lot of time at the
salon growing up. D’Amato said she was appreciative and
grateful for the support of her children, especially
since she knew they didn’t want to be there at times.
But the freedom and independence D’Amato found in her
new business would allow her to attend most of her
“As a single parent, not everyone has the job
flexibility and the opportunity to create their own
schedule,” said D’Amato.
With 22 businesses operating under the Brillare
umbrella, the salon has doubled in size since its
inception. D’Amato said Brillare would not have reached
this benchmark if it wasn’t for her co-workers who are
just as passionate about making people shine.
D’Amato said she also owes a lot to her significant
other, Cass D’Amato, who has supported her along the
“I wouldn’t have this successful business if it wasn’t
for them,” said D’Amato.
Brillare’s hours vary depending on the stylist. To
schedule an appointment, call Janet at 262-522-2914.
For more information about D’Amato’s salon, visit