“This is really all that I’ve ever wanted to do,” Barber said. “Now I have the opportunity to do what I love in a place that is all my own, and I get to keep taking care of the great people who helped me get here.”
Barber, a 2001 graduate of Ringgold High School, as been doing hair and make-up for friends and family since her high school days, and has spent the past 12 years working as a cosmetologist in both Tennessee and Georgia, before deciding to come home permanently to open up her own shop.
“I’ve had a lot of great experiences over the years, and I’ve been really lucky to have worked for some great people,” Barber said. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people who have been loyal clients everywhere I’ve been as well, and I’m grateful that they’re still with me here at Lush.”
According to Barber, Lush’s location at 2235 Dietz Road actually came about unexpectedly after plans for the initial location in downtown Ringgold never came to fruition.
“When I finally decided that the salon was going to happen, I looked around at a couple of different places, but I’m really happy that this location was where I ended up.”
Barber says that she came extremely close to starting the salon in the building that was located behind the former Chow Time Restaurant.
That building, as well as Chow Time, were devastated by the April 27 tornado that ravaged the city.
“It’s funny how things workout sometimes… Had I opened sooner and in that location downtown, I would be either out of business or trying to rebuild just like a lot of businesses in town,” she said. “I really do believe that everything happens for a reason.”
Starting a new business of any kind gives an owner the opportunity to create the type of image and atmosphere they want their customers to enjoy each and every time they visit, which is why Lush is so different from other salons, Barber says.
“We took this building, and re-did the entire place from top to bottom,” she said. “From the ceiling, furniture, and paint scheme, to the custom style stations, Lush is one-hundred percent unique.”
After years of developing loyal clientele for other establishments, Barber says that she has the opportunity to still provide the same great service in an atmosphere of her own creation.
“I always wanted to create a relaxing place where people could come in, feel comfortable, get their hair done, and leave happy,” she said. “Sometimes with chain salons people can get a little antsy and feel that it’s a little too corporate. I think that when customers new and old come here, they’ll love and hopefully keep coming back.”
Lush Salon, which specializes in a variety of services for women such as cuts, colorings, perms, and waxes, also offers a friendly environment for men and children.
“We can take care of anybody here,” Barber said. “I think the guys will especially like coming here during football season. I’m a die-hard Georgia Bulldogs fan, so we are going to always have the games up on the flat-screens in here. We also always have the latest sports magazines and the newspaper for folks to enjoy while they’re waiting. It’s a salon for everyone.”
With Lush Salon already bringing in more than 100 new customers since its opening in April, Barber says that expansion has already begun with the purchase of the location next door to her current shop.
“We’re going to take out part of the wall and build an archway to next door where there will be more style stations and a lot more space to do some of the other things that I’m interested in,” Barber said. “The other side should be open sometime this fall, but we’re just not sure of the exact date yet.”
The success of the shop and the plans for expansion come to no surprise to building owner Mike Jones, who said that Barber is the ideal business owner to have as a tenant.
“She’s really determined, and she works harder than anybody I know,” Jones said. “She’s here morning, noon, and night, and we never have any complaints about this place. She’s really something, and we’re glad that she’s here … couldn’t ask for anybody better.”
Although Lush Salon’s hours are usually Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Barber says that she understand that schedules are tough sometimes and emergencies do happen, which is why she tries to make herself available for her clients whenever possible.
“Things come up, and sometimes people need me when then need me,” she said. “We have set hours, but there are times when I’m here early, late, and even on the days we’re normally closed. This is my life, this is what I love to do, and I’m always willing to take care of my customers whenever they need me.
While some businesses and companies have a motto or mission statement that they swear by and/or try to practice daily, Barber says that her feelings about her customers, her job, and her shop can be felt with a simple visit, or by simply reading her favorite quote on the salon’s wall.
“In the gentle depths of the soul, everyone deserves to feel beautiful,” Barber said.
2235 Dietz Road Ringgold, Ga. 30736
Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.