Raleigh salon turns thrift into beauty

December 2, 2011 8:14:43 PM PST
It isn't easy being green. In fact, for stylist Jamie Churchill it took a lot of work.

After 14 years of working in the beauty business, Churchill decided she wanted to open an environmentally friendly beauty salon. However, she found banks were not so supportive of her dream. Working two jobs at the time, Churchill was turned down by seven banks for a small business loan. Not to be deterred, she began scouring eBay, craigslist and thrift shops in the Triangle. With hard work and the help of her family, she opened the "Eco Friendly Beauty Bar" in October, furnished almost entirely with reused or recycled products.

Customers would never know that the luxury massage pedicure chairs, hair stations, massage and esthetic rooms are full of recycled or reused items. Even the paint on the walls and the hardwood flooring are recycled. She is frequently complimented on the beautiful sofas and chandeliers that that look brand new but were actually snagged at discount stores. She uses organic and eco-friendly products, including chemical-free make-up, vegan shampoos, bamboo brushes, and organic body products made in Asheville.

While being pampered, customers can sip environmentally-friendly wine out of environmentally-friendly wine glasses. Churchill uses glasses bought at Goodwill or glasses cleverly made out of old wine bottles, manufactured in California. The brand of wine she buys uses thinner glass bottles, which leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Churchill prides herself for not only recycling 90 percent at her salon but also for buying local and American products.

"I felt like I needed to keep pushing forward," Churchill explained. "No matter if anyone can't help me, I just needed to keep going forward."

Churchill's savvy shopping ways saved her tens of thousands of dollars. Furnishing the salon with all new products would have set her back at least $80,000. Instead, she opened the salon with $15,000. The best part, she is that does not owe any of those seven banks one penny.

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