In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right?within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services?from foundation checks to express facials?allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
The Barber Crew's rich leather couches and dark stained wood welcome men looking for a smartly decorated salon and a dapper cut. The warm and masculine environment fosters comfort and camaraderie, as customers sip on a complimentary beer or nonalcoholic beverage and shoot the breeze with their stylists or fellow males whose hair doesn't cut itself. Guests recline back, keeping one eye over the TV at each station as hot towels open pores and stylists shape scalps to one's preference. The hair experts trim or remove all the sundry hairs that creep up on a man, from waxing brows to trimming beards and mustaches. Their sessions can include a dash of testosterone-friendly products from American Crew or Paul Mitchell, and stylists offer paraffin hand treatments to restore digits to equilibrium before thumb wrestling a grizzly bear tilts the scales back toward unadulterated masculinity.
Owner and aesthetician Katrina Barringer opened Skin Essentials Laser and Medical Spa in 1999, and has since recruited an elite team of eight that includes a physician and a licensed acupuncturist. Each of the women on staff boasts a specialty such as bamboo-fusion massage, eyelash extensions, or aromatherapy that smells like colors. Barringer's interests are of an academic complexion, as she penned an award-winning paper and is one of 67 laser technicians without an M.D. degree to be accepted into the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.
Housed within an inviting red-brick home, Cassandra?s Family Salon and Day Spa ushers clients into spacious rooms filled with natural light. Hair services commence at sleek white porcelain shampooing stations, and facials and body-sculpting treatments transpire in private treatment rooms dimmed by sturdy curtains. The salon also comprises a toddler-friendly playroom with books, toys, and a racecar activity rug where kids can get an early start on parallel-parking skills.
Armed with chocolate wax for sensitive skin, Curl Up & Dye Salon and Spa’s licensed aestheticians efficiently eradicate hairs to keep skin smooth and clean. Professional de-fuzzers transform Bert brows into beautiful eye awnings by applying eyebrow waxes with clinical precision, curtail hair’s expansionist policies with bikini waxes, or remove all traces of hair in the bikini region with a Brazilian wax. After the 15- to 30-minute waxing session concludes, newly sleek skins can face the summer without worrying about burgeoning brow-hairs pushing the sunglasses right off their face.
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
From the moment you walk into Lenox Salons and make your way back to Pin Me Pretty; my personal Salon Suite, you will enjoy a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. I pride myself in treating each client as they are a guest in my house.
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
I have been in the industry for over 7 years and have worked in a salon with 24 girls to a salon with only 6 girls. I was at the point in my career where I wanted to be able to give my guests 100% of my attention and this is exactly how I can do that.
What do you love most about your job?
I do not see this as a job, its my escape. I wake up in the morning excited to go and see my clients. I love seeing the look on my clients face as I turn the chair and see their hair for the first time. I can not explain the feeling that gives me.
What is the best reaction you've ever gotten from a customer?
I did a hair color, cut, and style and after all was said and done, I turned her around to let her see herself, and she started to tear up. I will never forget it, her exact words, "I don't remember the last time I saw me like this, beautiful"