Salon 27, a trendy full-service hair salon, has opened at 27 Main Street, in the center of the downtown historic district.
Ashley Ayers, owner and stylist, said she is delighted to open her first studio in the town she was born in and wanted to “get back to downtown” after being away for many years.
Ayers, who graduated from the American Academy of Cosmetology, now the Paul Mitchell School in Danbury, said her first hair stylist job 14 years ago was at a small salon on Railroad Street, just a few blocks away from her new salon.
For the past 12 years she rented a chair at a salon in New Preston that was in an isolated location and longed to be part of New Milford’s vibrant community once again. “I really missed this community. I like the feel of the historic downtown,” she said.
Kevin Bielemeier, economic development director, said hair salons and certain businesses do well no matter how many there are because they’re a necessity. “Most people have hair and need haircuts, just like most people have a car and need automotive repair shops and car part stores,” he said.
Ayers’ journey to open her own business began in April, once she signed the 5-year lease with Bank Street Investments.
Ayers’ husband, a project manager for a local builder, went to work doing extensive renovations to the interior of the 1,500-square-foot studio.
Salon 27 features six top-of-the-line work stations, a separate room for shampooing and hair drying, a welcoming reception area, and modern, functional shelving for displaying haircare products.
Six months later, New Milford’s newest salon has taken off and is growing quickly. “We just had a really great start and everyone is wonderful, including our clients and other downtown business owners. The location has been huge, too. It’s on Main Street and on the Green. Every day we get new clients,” said Ayers.
She is also pleased how most of her existing clients, and the client base from her two stylists, Michelle Kovatch and Nancy Reid, followed them when Salon 27 opened.
Laura Needham, Ayers’ client for over eight years, came from Norwalk to see her. “I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else,” she said.
“I think many of our customers are willing to travel the distance because our hairstylists are talented, and in demand. They’re always taking classes, learning and keeping up with the new trends. We need three more stylists, too,” said Ayers.
Salon 27 primarily offers full haircutting and coloring services. A cut and style for women starts at $55, and for men, the cost is $35. For a basic children’s cut, the cost starts at $20. As for haircoloring and highlighting, there’s a range of pricing, which is determined by hair length.
What’s hot right now are blowouts – where hair gets professionally washed and blow dried – and the starting cost is $35.
Another trend that’s all the rage is Balayage. “It’s a freehand highlighting technique and we’ve all taken classes for this. It’s huge right now,” said Ayers.
For 2018, Ayers thinks the blowouts and Balayage services will continue to be in demand.
However, “melted roots” will likely gain momentum. “It’s a process where there are no harsh highlight foil lines. It gives a nice, soft natural effect, and we’re trained in this technique as well,” she said.
What Salon 27 offers that nobody else has in town are eyelash extensions, said Ayers.
The hair salon also carries some of the industry’s most popular shampoos, conditioners and styling products.
As for what Ayers enjoys the most about her business, “I love my clients, and getting to meet and interact with people every day. I enjoy making them feel good, beautiful, and happy,” she said.
Ayers resides in Litchfield with her husband and two children, ages three and seven.
This feature and photos by Alicia Sakal originally appeared online and in the Business section of the December 9, 2017 edition of Republican-American, a regional daily newspaper in 36 towns and cities in Litchfield County and Greater Waterbury, Connecticut. Styling photo, contributed.
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