ANN ARBOR – Sisters and Ann Arbor locals Casey Baumeier and Danielle Vaughn are opening the doors Thursday at IVEY Salon, an Aveda concept at 100 S. Fourth Ave.
In the process of opening IVEY, they also found a new business partner.
They met with Lisa Sauve, principal of popular design firm Synecdoche, when looking at properties last year. But what they didn't expect was to forge a partnership with Sauve, who is responsible for several innovative spaces in town, including Nightcap bar and its little, rowdier sibling, Lo-Fi, as well as Blom Meadworks, Duo Security, The Lunch Room and more.
The three clicked immediately, and Sauve saw an opportunity.
"From the beginning, Danielle approached and she had a vision, and I said that that really aligns with our aesthetic and what we want to do," said Sauve. "As small businesses, we’re always coming up against a budget, time and support system ceiling. I understand the logistics and growing pains and the struggle of starting a business. I see it all the time when we design. So I was like, 'Can I come on board?'"
Baumeier and Vaughn were in.
"I’m the business end of hair, so having to let everything go and hand it over, Lisa has exceeded every single expectation I can imagine," said Vaughn. "Honestly, I walk in and I’m like, 'Yep.' It’s so great. I love it. It feels good. I trusted her even before she met my sister."
Sauve said her idea to partner with Ivey Salon came from a trend she noticed where Synecdoche designs tend to perform better financially than expected. "We think we should credit the design that we put into those projects as a part of the kind of revenue generation," she said.
She also said she recognizes the challenges of being a woman starting a business.
"In the business world in general, it’s hard to be a woman," she said. "And just as a small business in a thriving town, it’s hard to make it and start it. Finding what your resources are between talent and drive, those sort of intangible assets in finding each other, I think that’s the really great launch to this. And keeping it local by working together."
The trio got to work quickly once they decided to lease the industrial space at 100 S. Fourth Ave., right next to Blom Meadworks.
"This space -- with Blom next door -- it was always in the back of my mind that something should go here, too," said Sauve.
They left much of the space raw, letting those elements lead the design of the salon.
"It’s really unlike any other salon," said Vaughn. "It’s prefab. There was no having to make it any way other than what it is, and I really like that. This has been a labor of love and time."
Sauve was challenged with having a salon with windows for walls. Instead of covering them up, they created stations in the center of the large space and worked inward.
The use of large mirrors throughout gives the salon a bigger, multi-dimensional feel, and stylist stations are constructed out of metal, blending with the industrial design.
Baumeier and Vaughn opened their first location in Pinckney six years ago. The successful salon will continue to operate, but the sisters will now be based in the Ann Arbor location.
"My sister has been doing hair for so long, and honestly -- I don’t tell her this often -- she’s by far one of the best hairstylists I’ve ever known," said Vaughn. "She’s phenomenal. And we’re trying to remove her a little bit from behind the chair. As hard as that is for her and for guests, this is our second baby, and now there’s new directions."
"We’re all working more on the business more than we are in the business," said Sauve. "My role, the large legwork of my role is done to deliver this. But here on out, a lot of what we do is create spaces that make experiences that you want to be in. We’re planning on doing a blow dry bar in a membership. So instead of just doing a la carte services that you come and book, now you’re part of the crew, you’re part of the team, you’re part of what we call 'Ivey League.'"
Along with providing hair and makeup services, Ivey Salon will be holding official Aveda instructional events as well as events for members of the community.
"How we designed it, the center set of stations is a really great way that we can congregate 10 to 12 stylists with demo stations to do a lot of that teaching, too," said Sauve. "Aveda has been really receptive about this partnership and hosting it here in a space that really welcomes a lot of stylists."
The team has hired 12 stylists and has a long waiting list of others hoping to get in.
Vaughn has lived in Ann Arbor for 20 years and has been looking for a way to open a salon in the community she calls home.
"This is where I live," she said. "This is where my kids are in school. You just want to be home. Ann Arbor just has a different air."
For more information, visit www.iveysalon.com.
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