Feel at home at the Curl-Up and Dye Salon

Jodi Schellenberg
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Walk into most salons and you’ll feel out of place -- like you are walking into a fashion magazine.

In February, Nicole Milas decided opened her salon, Curl-Up and Dye, with the goal of creating an environment where her clients would feel comfortable.

“I wanted a place where my clients would feel at home and I wanted a place where I could offer them a level of service I couldn’t in someone else’s salon,” Milas said.

Since graduating from Marvel Beauty School in Saskatoon, Milas has spent 13 years of her career in Prince Albert.

Although opening her own salon meant she could lose some clients, Milas took the risk and it paid off.

“Every time you move salons, you do lose a small percentage of your clientele, but since I’ve moved, I’ve pretty much seen everybody,” Milas said. “I am very grateful for my clientele and extremely pleased so many people came with me. My clients mean the world to me so the fact that they have all been very excited to come with me has definitely been a blessing.”

Owning a salon has given Milas a lot of freedom she did not have working for other people of companies. Not only is it more laid-back for stylists, the clients enjoy the atmosphere as well.

“I have clients who come in, take their shoes off and lay on my couch while they are waiting,” Milas said. “They are at home and comfortable. That makes me happy. That’s what I wanted.”

Not only does Milas want a relaxed atmosphere for her clients, she also cares about the people who come into the salon.

“I care about your hair,” Milas said.

At times, Milas will have a client come in and ask her to do something that will damage their hair.

“If your hair isn’t in a proper condition, I am not going to destroy that for you,” Milas said. “I am not going to have you leave my salon feeling like you hate your hair because it is not in good condition.”

“One of my good friends mentioned that to me,” Milas added. “She said, ‘I think it is great because you are not afraid to say no if you think someone’s hair can’t take what they are asking you to do.’”

Many stylists would take the risk and leave the client with damaged hair, something Milas never wants to do.

“I make a really big effort to make sure I am on the same page as my clients and that they are given the ability and tools, be it how to blow-dry or the right product that they want,” Milas said. “It is important to me that you don’t leave here, go home and are mad because your hair looked like the picture when you left the salon but you can’t recreate it. If you give me a picture and say you want to look like this, I’m not going to lie and say you will look like the picture.”

She enjoys being a stylist because of the boost of confidence a haircut or colour can give some women.

“I don’t believe this industry is about vanity,” Milas said. “I think it is about people getting to feel good about themselves and getting to be who they are.”

The Schwarzkopf colourist said sometimes a haircut or colour can help people feel better when they are having a rough time.

 “You should see when someone comes in and they are having a bad day, they are down and feeling bad about themselves,” Milas said. “You give them a new haircut or freshen up their colour, have a chat and relax. Then when they leave here, they feel uplifted. They feel better about themselves and have a little bounce in their step -- literally.”

Unlike many salons, Milas believes it is more important to be yourself and do what is comfortable, instead of trying to stay up with the latest trends.

“It is about making people feel good about who they are and comfortable in their own skin,” Milas said. “I am all about being who you are on the inside. Do whatever you want, not what other people say you should.”

In addition to haircuts and colours, Milas also sells a variety of products in her salon, including AG, Surface, Schwarzkopf and a men’s line.

Both AG and Surface are Canadian brands and are free of parabens, sulphates and other harsh chemicals.

“I like supporting Canada and home-grown stuff,” Milas said. “I wanted to have something for everyone, in their price range and here. I am not a product pusher but I wanted to make sure if you needed something I’ve got it.”

Since opening her own salon, Milas has also supported many charities, including Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the SPCA and the MS Society.

“I take part personally and now that I have my own salon, I try to use the salon to do what I can for charity,” Milas said. “The more opportunities to raise awareness for charities, people and animals who need the compassion and support of other people, than great. I do what I can to take part in the community.”

Organizations: Marvel Beauty School, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, MS Society

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Canada

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