The Natural Mane: Mind and Body Wellness
By Ethan Vaughn
This team of stylists has seen rock stars, red carpets, rollouts, and runways, but now they have their sights set on a new target: Berryville.
“I decided on Berryville because there was no other salon and spa here,” said Romey Michael, owner of The Natural Mane on East Main Street. There were hair places, yes, but no salon and spa. I wanted to come and I wanted to bring the talent.”
That talent includes a massage therapist, an aesthetician who styled hair at New York Fashion Week, another who worked with rock bands Linkin Park and Nickelback, and Michael herself.
“I’ve been in the beauty industry for 15 years,” said Michael. “I started as soon as I graduated from VCU. I moved up to Boston and worked for Gianni Versace’s couture house, selling customized outfits to individual buyers. That job could be difficult at times. The people were accustomed to being waited on and sometimes they were very particular, but having that challenge taught me the importance of personalizing service.”
When clients enter her establishment, Michael offers them a cup of tea from the salon’s Aveda product line, then begins a session that includes an oil treatment, a scalp massage, and a shampooing, all as complimentary elements of a basic haircut. Prices start at $45 for women and $25 for men.
The Natural Mane also offers skin treatments, massage therapy, makeup consultations, and special packages for men, among other services. Michael tries to keep costs modest.
“Your prices have to fit reality,” she said. “So that’s what I did. I based it on what people could afford.”
The expansive catalogue and low prices have proven attractive enough to bring in more than just customers.
“I was looking for a salon to work at, so I stopped around at a few places in the area just posing as a customer,” said Hanna Peterson, an employee at The Natural Mane. “I came into Romey Michael’s shop, and she just did everything. I felt so taken care of. And I thought, ‘This is where I want to work.’”
Another draw for Peterson was The Natural Mane’s affiliation with Aveda, an award-winning line of organic cosmetics whose products are primarily plant based.
“That was a big concern for me, because eventually I would like to have kids,” said Peterson. “I was a little worried about working in a salon and being exposed to harmful chemicals. Then I found Aveda, did some research, and learned about their plant-based organic products. Working here I know I won’t get a headache every day from breathing in toxic stuff.”
Massage therapist Kelly Metcalf echoed Peterson’s sentiments.
“I’ve been thrilled to be part of a team that sees massage as not just relaxation, but rehabilitation,” she said. “That’s the mindset. Aveda is complete mind and body wellness.”
Romey Michael plans to stick with what she says is a winning formula.
“I think that’s why people are such devotees,” she said. “People enjoy being pampered a little bit, and being respected. A lot of people have wondered how we’re still here given that I chose to open business in the bleakest economy. It’s because of what we offer. I’ve been riding towards the fiscal cliff and I’m still surviving!”
The Natural Mane is located at 101 E. Main St. in Berryville. Its office can be reached at 540-955-8154.