Black Business Spotlight: Beauty Lounge Minneapolis

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More than beauty, local entrepreneur aims to educate

Melissa Taylor is trailblazing her way through the beauty industry as a professional hairstylist, makeup artist and business owner.

“I graduated from Cosmetology School and moved to Minnesota from Georgia in 2007,” she recalled. A few years later, in 2011, she launched Beauty Lounge in Uptown Minneapolis.

After Taylor worked to establish a clientele and her business grew tremendously, she made plans to expand. Her goal was to find a new location.

“In 2018, we needed a bigger space. I went to a conference at MEDA,” said Taylor. Luckily, the organization connected her with Kiara Ellis, owner of Nail Bar MN.

Both entrepreneurs Taylor and Ellis teamed up to develop a fruitful business partnership.

As a result, Beauty Lounge Minneapolis and Nail Bar MN coexist in the same space. Now, clients have an opportunity to book hair and nail appointments.

There’s an interesting backstory to Beauty Lounge Minneapolis. “We officially opened in December 2019,” explained Taylor. “We survived the COVID closures. Business is forever evolving; we have 60% of our regular clients.

“On the flip side with George Floyd, there’s been a sudden surge to support Black businesses. People are more intentional with how they spend money.”

Beauty Lounge Minneapolis reopened on June 15. There were unexpected setbacks along the way primarily due to COVID and construction. But Taylor remained hopeful and overcame obstacles.

Lately, business has been flourishing. There’s an increased demand for hair styling services. Availability is limited due to social distancing, but despite the COVID pandemic, Taylor remains focused and optimistic.

There are new rules being enforced to ensure everyone stays healthy while they receive services. For example when clients arrive at the shop, they are instructed to send a text to their stylist before gaining entry. It’s part of the new COVID protocol. As a result, team members are constantly sanitizing in between appointments. The process requires more time and patience.

The Beauty Lounge Minneapolis offers an array of services. Clients can check out bridal hairstyles, makeup application, curly haircuts, extensions, dreadlocks (re-twist), hair treatments, color, texturizing, and kid’s hairstyles. Individuals are also encouraged to bring in their ideas and photos of hairstyles they desire to have.

The most popular services are hair coloring and natural styles. To elaborate, “Post COVID, there’s lots of curly hairstyling,” said Taylor. Clients are embracing their natural curls.

As for the Beauty Lounge Minneapolis team, “We have multicultural staff. I want to make sure everyone is comfortable doing all types of textures,” said Taylor. She makes it a priority to ensure every customer and stylist is welcomed. “We are trying to achieve a standard for [the clients],” added Taylor.

Taylor emphasized how Beauty Lounge Minneapolis values social responsibility. “We organized a food pick-up at the salon. We cleaned up over North. My biggest thing is hiring people. Exposing them to more people that wouldn’t know about them.” Taylor is mindful and compassionate about supporting her team of talented stylists.

What keeps her inspired? “My six-year-old daughter and she’s very wise,” said Taylor. “My team is also motivating.”

In the future, the ultimate goal of Beauty Lounge Minneapolis is to focus on education.  Taylor explained, “In the next two to three years, I’m leaning toward education. I have natural hair and am very comfortable doing natural hair. There’s a lack of education on how to care for hair.”

She also offers classes that teach parents how to care for their child’s curly hair. “We haven’t had the privilege of understanding our hair for many reasons,” said Taylor. She hopes to change that.

The Beauty Lounge Minneapolis will also be adding another service soon. “Right now we do everything except for braiding. [There will be a ] new braider in September,” said Taylor.

Beauty Lounge Minneapolis also has plans to expand. “I’d want to have another location in Minnesota,” said Taylor, who added that she’d also like to own businesses in Texas and Colorado.

When Taylor was asked about the most rewarding aspect of operating a business, she said, “The people. Finding a team that is really aligned with your vision. Making sure we have a staff that only do great hair but also uphold vision.”

Overall, Beauty Lounge Minneapolis emits a theme of self-care and embracing individuality. Everyone is welcome. “When you’re supporting a Black-owned business, we’re more likely to hire Black people and create generational wealth.” She’s currently hiring more stylists and youth workers.

Beauty Lounge Minneapolis is located in Uptown at 3501 Hennepin Avenue, South Minneapolis. Shop hours are Tuesday-Friday 9 am-8 pm and Saturday 7 am-5 pm.  Find more info at www.mplsbeautylounge.com.

About Ashley Lauren

Ashley Lauren is a contributing writer at the MN Spokesman-Recorder. She can be reached at alauren@spokesman-recorder.com.

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