“We are more than beauty parlors or hair salons,” begins Jamie Millmather. “We run business, we have our own product lines, we are educators, global ambassadors, entrepreneurs, we are chemists and international creative artists.”
Millmather co-owns Love Culture Salon in Providence alongside stylist Kate Convery. The one-year-old beauty destination focuses on holistic hair and beauty care and continuing education; when Millmather isn’t at the salon, she’s teaching color classes or training in LA on the latest products and trends. “And it’s not just me,” she insists, “a lot of stylists dedicate their free time to continuing education so they can be their very best behind the chair.”
For Millmather, salons have always been a clean and safe environment, and in fact, she shares, one of the first things she learned in school was sanitation and disease control. “For a lot of us, going back and being clean is a walk in the park.” However, when COVID-19 hit the industry and forced Love Culture to close temporarily, Millmather was dismayed to see the reputation of beauty professionals damaged by what she saw portrayed across the media.
“I think when it comes to re-opening hair salons – or any small business for that matter – it’s important for people to realize that just because we are open doesn’t mean it’s business as usual,” says Millmather, referencing the restrictions put in place by the government to ensure the safety of the community. It means extra precautions, different appointment times, and reconfigured space, all of which will impact salons financially. While it’s definitely scary, Millmather acknowledges, you have to keep moving forward.
“I think if we all work together to work through the reopen process, we will ALL be more successful,” Millmather says. She suggests a Facebook forum for salon re-opens where professionals can share advice on bookings, social distancing practices, sanitation products, and cleaning tips. She also mentions nurturing the future of new stylists who are starting their careers in the age of COVID-19. “My advice for the recent graduates or stylists in school, or those still thinking about going: Don't give up and follow your passion. This is an amazing industry with so many different opportunities beyond just being behind the chair, so keep following your heart.”
Love Culture Salon will reopen June 3. To connect with Jamie Millmather, email Jamie@LoveCultureSalon.com.