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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.

95 N Moorland Rd
Brookfield,
WI
US

The stylists and aestheticians at the full-service Salon West and Body Works Spa aim to make clients feel beautiful, empowered, and worthy of every minute of pampering. They perform a variety of services to help purge minds and bodies of impurities, from microcurrent facials to acne-clearing scrubs. The salon’s master stylists shampoo and blow-dry hair before sculpting it into busts of George Washington, and steady-handed nail technicians tend to hands and feet with luxurious manicures and pedicures.

16985 W Bluemound Rd Ste 200
Brookfield,
WI
US

While awaiting simple trims or hair-smoothing keratin infusions at Salon Orlin, guests lounge in comfy leather chairs and pipe in music through their smartphones from the salon's Internet jukebox. Skilled stylists nourish tresses with vitamin C, create stunning styles with flatiron curling or updos, and manicure brows and faces with waxing. Tanning beds add healthy splashes of color to skin, and "juicing" adds healthy splashes of color to hair.

13315 Watertown Plank Road
Elm Grove,
WI
US

We are a very unique type of cosmetic store. Our services include color analysis, makeup lessons, skin evaluations and how to dress the body you have not the one you wish you had. We carry a complete line of mineral makeup and paraben free skincare products. We offer consultations for all your beauty needs.

741 N High Point Rd
Madison,
WI
US

Though Gene Pletzer boasts nearly a half century of working with hair restoration, today his salon team puts their talents into a full array of hair, skin, and nail services. Whether clients seek a new style, highlights, or help getting over a fear of blow dryers, the majority of Gene’s stylists bring more than a decade of expertise to each careful snip. As early adopters of keratin treatments, stylists are also thoroughly trained in using Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, a semipermanent formula that combats frizz and curls to ease daily styling. Elsewhere in the salon, Gene’s nail technicians groom digits with spa manicures and pedicures and aestheticians remove unwanted facial and body hair with waxing treatments.

5502 University Ave
Madison,
WI
US

It might be hard to believe considering its vast array of products, but Sears, Roebuck and Co. began with one accessory: watches. In 1886, Richard W. Sears bought a box of unwanted watches from a jeweler, thinking he could turn a profit by selling them. He was correct and committed to the watch business by hiring Alvah C. Roebuck, an experienced watchmaker.

As time went on, though, their business expanded its umbrella far beyond what people wore on their wrists. Sears became known as the place to shop for almost any appliance, from sewing machines to those magical boxes that create water from nothing and clean your clothes.

Today, the stores stock clothing, accessories, electronics, kitchen equipment, tools for outdoor living, and home decor. This variety is sustained by Sears's proprietary brands—Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard, to name a few—and other national names that populate the shelves.

10954 North Port Washington Road
Mequon,
WI
US