A brilliant business model
22 shining, self-employed stylists at Brillare

By Brandon Anderegg - Freeman Staff

Nov. 16, 2017


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.
Submitted photo

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 children’s activities.

“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 way.

“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 www.salonbrillare.com/