Growing up in Cranston, Adrienne and Stephanie Vendetti learned at an early age that being different is something to embrace.
Being different and being glamorous.
“Growing up, you think that all moms are like your mom, but my mom is such a diva,” Adrienne said. “She would teach us all of these great techniques. We always had such a sense of how to be beautiful because of my mom. We owe everything to her.”
The Vendetti sisters have taken their mother’s beauty advice and turned it into a full-time career. In January, they launched Howtobearedhead.com, a style and beauty website that offers advice to people with red hair, as well as updates on trends that are of interest to everyone.
For redheads, though, Adrienne says finding the right style can be even more challenging. Only about 2 percent of the world’s female population is made up of natural redheads.
“We get a lot of writers e-mailing us daily saying, ‘I wish I had your site when I was 12 or 15,’” she said. “We totally understand how it is to grow up and be different and that’s what our site is all about – embracing who you are.”
As children at Holy Ghost School in Providence, and later as teenagers at La Salle Academy, the Vendettis were faced with many beauty dilemmas. They have sensitive fair skin with freckles, braces, glasses and frizzy red hair that was inherited from grandparents on both sides of the family. They discovered that finding the right products and caring for their appearance was unique from the experiences of their blonde or brunette friends. They dreamed about one day helping other women navigate the beauty aisle at the drugstore.
“My sister and I have always talked about it. It was that kitchen table talk when you’re growing up,” Adrienne said. “One day we just decided, why aren’t we doing this? We have the opportunity to build a community of redheads around the world.”
Leaning on their business degrees from the University of Miami, the sisters set out to build a network of writers and photographers from their new home in New York. Getting the site off the ground was easier than they expected.
“We’re strong believers that when things are right, they’re easy. The universe helped us build this website. We’re lucky enough to have a lot of people ask us to write for us,” Adrienne said.
Adrienne said organizing a staff of strong freelance writers was thanks in large part to Stephanie’s marketing skills. Stephanie serves as vice president and director of marketing, while Adrienne takes on the role of president.
The pair relied heavily on social media to recruit writers who cover hair and skin care, make-up techniques and fashion advice. A health section on the website offers nutrition tips and healthy recipes. Most of their contributors are redheads themselves.
Photographer Kara Kochalko has joined the team to provide “reditorials,” or photo essays that show off the perfect looks for redheaded women.
Adrienne says there are plenty of red haired icons to look up to.
“The first thing that comes to mind is Lucille Ball. You’re funny, you’re quirky, you’re very strong willed, and you have a hot temper sometimes,” she said.
Already, the website has been invited to be part of the Glam.com/Bliss.com network, was nominated as a Best Beauty Blog by Shape Magazine and was ranked as one of the top 50 Beauty Blogs in the United Kingdom.
Working with Shape Magazine again, the Vendettis contributed to a story on the most important lesson they’ve learned as beauty gurus.
“Every morning, take five minutes before you open up your e-mail, before you talk to anyone, and just be grateful for what you have and that will take you places,” Adrienne said. “That practice really helped my sister and I get to where we are now.”
On the beauty side of things, she and her sister have endless words of wisdom.
For red hair, Adrienne warns against products with sulphates and advocates for cream-based shampoos. For makeup, eyeliner and brown-black mascara are the two crucial elements, as well as an eyebrow pencil for women with light brows. And for fashion, purple is the ideal color for redheads this fall.
In the future, the Vendettis want to further target this advice by endorsing redhead-friendly products and making How to be a Redhead a brand.
“The opportunities are endless. We’re so happy just to be able to reach people all over the world. It’s really, really exciting,” Adrienne said.
Already, the site has connected redheads across continents and is establishing itself as a community for stylish women, and those with red hair in particular.
“Being a red head carries a personality,” Adrienne said. “It really is a lifestyle.”
For more information, visit howtobearedhead.com.