Dritan Azemi’s parents wanted him to become a doctor or an engineer. But he had his own ideas about how he could best help people. Feeling a calling in the world of aesthetics, Azemi dropped out of college and moved with his family from his native Albania to southern California. One day while out walking, he happened by a beauty school and stopped in to speak with the director about enrolling. Though Azemi had planned to heal people as a massage therapist, the more he worked on the school's styling floor, the more inspired he was by the happiness his clients felt after a great haircut. On his 20th birthday, Azemi celebrated by speeding down Interstate 15—an act that got him pulled over, right at the exit leading to the Ontario Mills mall. There, he discovered what was then Allen Edwards salon, where he quickly worked up to senior stylist and educator. When industry legend and ceramic-tools innovator Adam Shuman took over, Azemi learned many of his signature styling techniques and eventually became the company's junior art director.
Azemi's parents soon announced that they were moving to Pittsburgh, and he had to give up his glamorous fashion shows and photo shoots. He retained his sunny California mentality, however, and felt he could use this to enhance salon-goers' experience in the Pittsburgh area. The accomplished stylist opened Azemi Salons in 2008, naming the business not only after himself, but after a root word in several Eastern languages that means “power” and “moving forward.” To continue forward in its client-empowering mission, his team now offers spa treatments alongside hair services, performing skin-specific facials, relaxing mani-pedis, and massages to leave muscles as relaxed as the dress code at a Halloween parade.