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.