Hailing from Germany, Surratt arrived in the U.S. in 1969, where she began working for American/German heavy-equipment manufacturers that were developing military tanks.
“I was transferred from my German company to Cleveland, Ohio to work with an American/German joint program that was developing these tanks,” she says. Her time at the company was short-lived — unsure of her English skills, Surratt thought she would try modeling. The job was “ideal,” she says.
“It has been quite a journey,” she says. “I thought, this is the perfect job for me because I don’t have to talk a lot.”
Surratt began working for the Barbizon School of Modeling and eventually signed on with the World of Faces Modeling School in 1973 for runway and print work for department stores such as Hutzler’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
About Faces was founded in 1970 by her partner, Patrick Brennan, a retired aeronautics engineer. From there, growth was swift.
“We were the first ones to really have a full-service salon in Maryland as of 1973,” Surratt says. “That concept then later evolved and we became a day spa and salon in the ’90s.”
It wasn’t until 1978 that she became partner of the About Faces Towson-Kenilworth location. In the early ’80s she returned to school to become an esthetician and to be more directly involved in the skincare process at the salon. Then, in 1990, she became the company’s president.
“I am an esthetician by trade, and I loved the work,” she said.
But she decided to retire her professional spa services to focus her time on running the business and was instrumental in helping to open up new store locations. Now more than 30 years later, she continues to successfully operate one of the longest-running family-owned beauty businesses in the area. About Faces has six locations, four in the Baltimore area, one in Annapolis and one in Salisbury, with 400 employees running the stores’ day-to-day operations.
Surratt resides in the Ruxton area with Brennan. Their son, Eric, is now CEO of the company. Working with family has promoted the company’s success, she says.
The business is in fact, a rare oddity, a salon with actual staying power in the dynamic beauty industry. In a typical week, the salon is fully booked with clients receiving signature blowouts, manicures, waxes, lash extensions, facials and massages, and numerous other services.
Surratt says she takes pride in creating a relaxing and inviting space for all her customers.
“Our staff and management team are very committed to being connected with our clients, making them feel taken care of and giving them a beautiful experience, a little getaway from the hectic world,” she says.
Convenience for patrons is also a big part of the business. So is staying in step with beauty trends. “Recently, we added lash lifts to our menu of skincare services as well as the powder dip for nails,” Surratt says. The salons also offer specialized skincare services such as Caudalie vinotherapy facials, SkinCeuticals, and GM Collin anti-aging treatments.
The business is “still evolving,” she admits. “We have some exciting things planned for the future.”