Constance R. Sullivan 79, of Newton, formerly of Dedham died Sunday at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital after a period of declining health.
Born in Boston, she was raised there and moved to Canton almost 50 years ago.
In the early 1960’s, Connie Sullivan along with her husband and partner, Bob owned a very successful neighborhood beauty salon in a suburb of Boston, during that period, when other salons offered little more than hair cutting services to their clients, Connie’s salon was a full-service operation, providing many beauty services, such as skin and nail care, in addition to hair services.
Although Connie herself was verbally lauded as one of “Boston’s Best,” and the Salon was considered to be more than just a cut above the rest, Connie believed that in years to come haircutting operations like her own would be the dinosaurs of the 80’s. Always on top of what’s new and exciting, the peripheric Connie decided to open a truly full-service health and beauty center. She envisioned that body-conscious women, men and teenagers would enjoy the most progressive and comprehensive head-to-toe health and beauty programs possible.
When Connie verbalized her goal to open a center dedicated to a holistic approach to the physical and psychological well-being of clients, her friends, peers and people in general said, “It can’t be done.” One and all they warned her against imminent disaster.
Based on her beliefs, and contrary to popular opinion, Connie opened “Geneses I” early in 1974. The location was a perfect setting in the Chic Chestnut Hill Mall adjacent to Bloomingdale’s. Connie’s concepts were avant garde, and her timing appeared to be right on target. From Day One, Geneses I was as busy as a beehive. Everybody in Boston clamouring for the unique services offered at the Center, and clients in droves were having their bodies as well as their hair, skin, nails and mental attitudes reconditioned. Before long, people were talking about Connie Sullivan and Geneses.
Why ? taking a cue from the Bible, Connie aptly named her center Geneses.
In free translation this means new beginnings and, in fact, it was only the start. Besides attracting clients who were interested in the therapeutic advantages of the Centers nutrition, health and exercise programs, Connie’s limitless talent with hair also attracted a new breed of hair stylist to work in her in her salon. Going far beyond the cut alone, Connie Sullivan was a masterful designer in coiffure. She began teaching her staff the methodology she uses, which is a fashion sensitivity expressed through an ability to make the most out of the clients assets within the boundaries of the clients lifestyle, personality and taste. Interestingly enough, the hair trends at Geneses I ( then and now ) are those designed by Connie, not trendy edicts adopted from other salons or industry personalities.
Connie and Geneses I were fast becoming known for the look which was synonymous with fashion. Quite simply , it was a look of total well- being. Because of her concepts, Connie attracted only the most progressive-thinking clients and staff in all of New England, Geneses I was now ready to expand.
In December 1981, armed with the reality of creative and business successes, Connie opened Geneses II at Boston’s only fashion address, the Faneuil Hall Market Place. The health and beauty center was a larger 4500 square foot, and even more luxurious and a unique sister to Geneses I. Expanded health services and equipment were among the country’s most advanced, boasting Boston’s largest independent retail cosmetic, exercise equipment and nutrition business.
Through it all, entrepreneurial Connie was an inspiring creative talent who for a long period of time to marketing her hair-designing skills on an international level. To date her hair designs have been published in numerous prestigious magazines including Woman’s Wear Daily, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Mademoiselle, Redbook’s Be Beautiful, Woman’s World, plus all of the worlds leading professional trade journals. Locally, she was frequently called upon as a hair expert for local television, “Good Day” “Sunday Open House”, she was featured in the Boston Globe, and quoted extensively concerning her new short hair trends. Connie and her concepts were the subject on “Twice a Woman” , the nationally-televised health and beauty program which was aired in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as many other markets.
In testimony to her newly-acquired fast growing recognition as one of America’s leading hair designers and trend setters, the editor of McCalls, Gentleman’s Quarterly, Young Miss, Ladies Home Journal, and the New York Post traveled to Boston to celebrate the grand opening of Geneses II. Following that, the editor of Woman’s World magazine photographed nine pages of “Real People” make-overs at the center which were featured on that magazines widely circulated b eauty pages.
As proof positive of her talents, Connie was the first recipient of “The Hairstylist of the Year” a new honor that was initiated for 1983. This award was presented to her by Service Publications, Publisher of the Hairstylist magazine. A panel of distinguished judges, including fashion designers Mary McFadden and Jhane Barnes, hair designers Don Shaw and Sam Cappelle selected Connie as the winner over a celebrated list which included such competition as Jean Louis David, Alexandre, The Carita Sisters, Louis Liongueras and others. The Clairol Company inducted her into their prestigious Presidential Council of Haircolorists in 1983, designating Mrs Sullivan as one of Americas leading hair color authorities.
After less than two years of concentrating on marketing herself as a beauty industry personality in a business dominated traditionally by famous male hairstylists. Connie Sullivan was recognized as one of the foremost hair design leaders in America.
The Clientele who frequented Connie’s Centers read like a Who’s Who of area woman.
The daughter of the late Nicholas & Rose ( Santanella ) Pecora and wife of the late Robert Sullivan, sister of the late Alberta Leary.
She is survived by her son Robert C. Sullivan, Esq., and his wife Bianca Sullivan, of Lee’s Summit, Mo., her Grandsons Robert & Brock Sullivan of Mo., her brother-in-law Thomas Leary.
Connie’s Funeral will be held Saturday morning from the Roache-Pushard Family Funeral Home, 210 Sherman Street, Canton with a Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Gerard Majella Church, Canton at 11:00 a.m. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours at the funeral home on Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. til 10:30 a.m. Interment will follow at Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton.