Specialist Spotlight

Salons by JC Superstar – Amanda Allen

At Birch Salon in Salons by JC, Denver, CO, Amanda Allen is all about being eco-smart and giving back to the community. It’s only natural: the Aveda Institute grad spent seven years in an Aveda salon after graduation, and opened her own business a year ago.

“When I began exploring my options, I looked at a lot of suites,” says Amanda. “I was looking for a great location that my clients could reach easily, which had parking. I also wanted a place with an area for clients whose hair was processing. When a friend suggested I look at Salons by JC, I found what I wanted, plus it had an upscale feel and I could decorate my own space. A lot of other suites don’t allow that.”

Creating a space that reflected her own brand was critical to Amanda, who named her salon for the Birch tree, which has spiritual importance in several cultures as a symbol of growth, renewal, stability and adaptability. She not only wanted to bring growth and revitalization to her clients through change; she wanted to focus on environmentally friendly products and a healthy working space.

To keep those client renewals fresh, she works backstage at many local fashion and runway shows. “I co-founded ArtemisBirch Artistic Collective, an artistic team of independent stylists, and we’ve been lucky enough to work backstage at Denver Fashion Week,” says Amanda. She and the team also honed their talents at the HISTORIAS (stories) Hair Show, which recently raised funds for Centro Humanitario (ElCentro), a non-profit organization that supports the rights of day laborers. “I adapt what I learn at the hair and fashion shows to create wearable looks for clients,” she adds.

As for her top-notch service, it’s informed by her education and various life experiences. Before she attended beauty school, Amanda got a degree in social work and pursued that career for a year, where she learned to “listen, care about how people feel in my space and meet their needs at the moment.” When she quit to pursue her first passion, hair, she was one of three people selected at the Aveda Institute to visit Japan, based on a video she made, plus grades and attendance. Of that experience, she says she learned that not only are Japanese salons ahead of the trends, “they are very immaculate and spa-like.” She also shares the values of her previous employer, and starts each service with a neck and shoulder massage, a calming shampoo and a scalp massage. Additionally, she recycles in the salon and uses the safest products she can find, such as Kevin Murphy cruelty-free products and ammonia-free haircolor.

Most of her clients range from college age to 65, which means she does plenty of gray coverage with a “double dye-load product” for full coverage. “For fall, clients are asking for balayage and shadow lights,” notes Amanda. “Babylights around the face not only add a blended look to gray coverage, they can give anyone a taste of blonde.”

About 20% of her clients get hair extensions, and she uses tape-ins because they are the gentlest on the natural hair. She helps them stay damage free by placing the extension on top first, leaving very little natural hair sandwiched between the top and bottom extensions, and by teaching proper home care, like regular brushing to avoid tangling.

Continuing her care for people and the environment, Amanda is currently exploring how she and a few other Salons by JC renters can recycle all their highlighting foils as part of a national “green” organization. To learn more about her services, styles and community outreach, follow her on Instagram @Birch_Salon_Denver or check out her Style Seat page.


Salons by JC Superstar – Tim “Bo” Mack

For salon pros who also teach or travel, a Salons by JC Suite is the best-of-all-word’s home base. Tim “Bo” Mack discovered this when he proudly won a place on the Pravana education team and was promptly handed a non-compete (with a 150-mile radius!) by his employer. Tim, who loved his job but knew what was best for him refused to sign and looked elsewhere. On his way to an interview, he saw a sign for Salons by JC in Corpus Christi, TX, and the rest is happy history.

“Salons by JC lets me set myself apart with a great space, a concierge service and a place clients love that isn’t just a chair in a corner of another salon,” says Tim. “It allows me to give my clients 100% of my attention, and I have the freedom over my schedule to travel and educate for Pravana.”

A positive-minded team player, Tim did not have a client list, which most salons frown on, but he did have a Facebook page. When his sister put a copy of his business card for his new So Addictive Hair Studio on it, within an hour, he had 176 interactions asking where he’d gone. By the third day of settling into his new suite, he had his first 10 a.m. appointment. His always-upbeat and professional attitude (it’s his suite that stylists-taking-tours stop in to ask no-holds barred questions) and high level of skills (gained over 17 years) had cinched total client loyalty.

Defining his style as “tailored to the individual,” Tim sees clients who range from teens to seniors. On days he books out, he travels mostly thorough Texas, helping other colorists with their most pressing questions, which are currently how to cover gray and how to keep reds from fading. When the Salons by JC concierge stops in with stylists taking a tour—and then steps away to encourage honesty and transparency—Tim says they immediately ask “the real deal” and he’s happy to share.

“I tell them I have 100% control over everything and that everyone here respects one another; there’s no client stealing,” says Tim. “In fact, we even refer one another and have Pot Luck dinners and outside mixers, which makes it as social as a regular salon without the drama.”

With an incredibly wide range of clients, it’s difficult for Tim to pinpoint what any one group wants most now, but some of his most in-demand services include color melts and balayage, rooted looks that let clients extend visits and tape-in hair extensions that add length and volume. His many referrals more than make up for extended visits; he says he learned long ago that giving clients what they want builds business most.

“I had one client in her ‘70s who was preparing for cancer treatment and decided that before she lost her hair, she wanted to try out a shaved side with details and a cool color,” he says. “She’d never gotten to do it before.”

While a private suite may have played a part in making “Miss Juanita” at ease enough to give a wild style a spin at 70, Tim says it’s definitely the best place for energy, creativity and truly meeting client’s individual needs. “If you get up every day and are not happy going to work, you’re in the wrong place,” he says. “My suite is my happy place, and I love going to work every day.” For his latest looks and upbeat ideas, follow Tim “Bo” on Instagram @timboplease

Specialist Spotlight

Salons by JC Superstar – Natalie Kildare

Natalie Kildare was working as a phlebotomist and going to school to become an RN when she got a message that could have been sent by The Hair Gods (which happens to be the name of her new studio salon at Salons by JC in West Hartford, CT .

“Something was just missing, as though I wasn’t in the right place,” recalls Natalie. “ I had this ah-ha moment that there had to be more, and then it hit me. I had always worn funky haircuts and had a fashion-forward style. People continually asked me if I was a hairdresser, and many of my inner circle of friends were hairdressers. It was like the universe was giving me a sign.”

Telling her parents she was dropping out of college at the age of 25 to go to beauty school was a big deal, she says, but they told her, “It’s your life, just finish what you start.” As soon as she toured the local Paul Mitchell school, she knew she was in the right place and that she’d do just that. Five years later, after working for a former Redken artist who trained her for a year and employed her for four more, she got another feeling: it was time to go out on her own.

“I’d worked very hard to market myself every day and realized I’d become too comfortable where I was; I was supposed to do more,” says Natalie. “Also, I knew I was only keeping 47% of what I was bringing in. When I toured Salons by JC and the and the franchise owner Gary agreed to move the walls and expand a space, so I could rent it with two friends, I knew I’d found the right place. He was so helpful, and we got a suite with the luxury feeling we wanted.”

Splitting the cost and maintaining separate businesses is easy for the trio, adds Natalie. What makes it work is that they came from the same salon, so they share professional ethics and even have similar artistic styles. Plus, their clients know them all, so filling in for one another is easy.

“We all do balalyage and hair painting, and my style in particular is very funky,” says Natalie, who wears a short pixie that she gets from a local barber. “Today, cuts with designs at the sides and back that have longer tops are popular with men and women.”

As are lady barbers, another trend Natalie got on top of a few years ago. “I took it on myself to learn barbering skills by shadowing a local barber for a month,” she says. “ I offered to sweep, mop and do whatever he needed done so that I could learn. One notable difference besides using a clipper is that barbers really know how to work with head shape.”

Natalie recently competed in the CT Barber Expo’s barber battle, which brought her local attention, and more male clients. As for her trendy female clients, they are already asking for the wine, eggplant, magenta and coppery colors that will make hair color special by September.

“Traditional foiling will never go away; for one thing, it’s crucial for doing corrective work,” notes Natalie. “But balayage and hair painting will really add sparkle to all the new fall tones.”

To check out shades that come straight from The Hair Gods, follow Natalie and her work on [email protected]_scizzorhandz