We talked to: Le Beau Salon
Hi, Justin! Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your business, and why you chose Northampton as a location?
I grew up in Florence and attended Smith Vocational, then started working right out of school for Lynn Wiles & Co. I was there for eight years, then transitioned to On Point Salon. I then moved down the road to Glow Beauty Bar, and was there for six years. At that point, I’d already looked at a space to possibly open something of my own, but I got cold feet and realized the timing just wasn’t right. The idea of running something by myself felt a bit intimidating, so I decided I’d rent for a bit longer.
When this location became available, it felt meant to be, and I was finally in the right headspace to move forward. I’m coming up on seventeen years in this business, and after doing a lot of personal and professional work on myself, I’m in a secure and confident place in my life. The transition to my new space has been surprisingly smooth—I kept waiting for something to go awry! We are loving where we are. The parking situation is great, and the accessibility is really ideal. We did quite a few renovations, but the footprint was good and we were able to salvage the floor. It’s really been a quick start-up process and now it’s just about getting the word out that we are here in the Maplewood Shops.
I think I’ve realized in the last six months to a year how important a salon’s environment is, both to my team and to clients. I wanted a smaller, quieter, more intimate space, where people would feel cozy and relaxed. When there’s a lot of noise and activity, it’s easy to get distracted and for clients to feel stressed. It’s nice hearing that people enjoy coming here because they can escape, unwind, and have some self-care time.
What are some challenges you’ve experienced as well as some positive things that have transpired in the past few years?
I feel like post-pandemic, there’s something nice about having a smaller salon that’s easier for the team working here to keep clean and sterile. The only issue we’ve really had thus far is people finding us. But with social media, newspaper/online articles, and word of mouth, we’ll get there!
Everyone has been incredibly supportive of us being here. People are super complimentary and no one feels threatened or competitive, which is always a huge relief. I’ve always been more than happy to send people on to someone else if we’re just not the right fit, and I find that other salon owners feel the same way.
What are some exciting things/products/events coming up for the business?
We have our grand opening this Friday, and we’re going to start planning a monthly event. We also have some education coming up in March in New York to get ahead of what’s going to be happening in 2024. I like to keep product lines pretty small and reasonable—I tend to offer what I use myself and what I think works best/offers great results. I am just so excited to make people happy and feel great about themselves!
As a business owner, what do you do to unwind/relax/rejuvenate?
At this point in my life, I’ve actually gotten really good at striking a healthy work-life balance. Daily exercise is incredibly important to me—that’s been an established part of my life since I was seventeen. I also have my therapist on speed dial! Making time to spend with family and friends who ground me and to whom I feel connected is also essential.
What is one thing about Northampton that inspires and motivates you?
The sense of community here has always been amazing. From people shopping locally to the activism that happens, there’s just a great sense of community support and love. I’m also very excited about the arts and music scene returning, slowly but surely. It’s been really nice to see things opening again.
And finally... What’s your favorite winter food and/or beverage?
I love pasta in the winter; I’m all about the heartier foods in the colder months. I’m a big fan of local restaurants like Mulino’s and Highbrow, and the newly-opened Notch 8 Grill is also great. For beverages in winter, I’m definitely a coffee and red wine guy.