New Howell salon owner and stylist educator Ninalee Costelnock is passionate about doing hair.
Costelnock, 30, is just as passionate about helping other stylists gain skills and make a good living. She said one goal at her salon is to offer stylists employee benefits that are not always available in the salon industry.
“The goal is to have 401k and medical benefits,” she said. “There shouldn’t be an industry standard of no maternity leave, no benefits.”
Costelnock, after about 15 years in the hairdressing industry, became a first-time business owner earlier this month when she opened District 308 Salon & Boutique, 138 W. Highland Road/M-59, suite 900, in the Crossroads Town Center shopping complex.
“I started in high school and didn’t think at the time I would do it forever, but it came so naturally and easy to me,” she said. “It was an alternative to going to college, but then my passion for it came. I became submerged in it and now I live, breath and dye hair.”
Costelnock and seven other stylists are providing a range of hair services, including cuts, color and extensions. Some of the stylists also do lash extensions, and the salon also has an esthetician who specializes in waxing.
And the salon features a boutique with clothing, jewelry and fashion accessories.
Costelnock set up a “level-based” pricing structure, which offers a range of prices for services based on the experience level of her stylists. The more experience and skills they gain, the higher the price.
“I’ve found everyone has a price they want to pay for services, so we have something for everyone’s budget,” she said. “When they level jump, they get a little more commission and the price goes up.”
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She is also continuing to offer stylist education; right now she has two up-and-coming stylists in her six-month associate program.
“They train with me and actually work one-on-one. They are literally my extra set of hand, and they are so much more than the person who washes hair,” she said.
Costelnock spent about five months redesigning the space with bright, white counters, new floors with a marble pattern, new lighting and other improvements.
The new salon filled a vacancy left by Studio 103, a hair and nail salon that closed last summer.
Costelnock said she is already thinking about expanding the fashion boutique, possibly into an other space, but a small boutique area in the salon offered a way to test it out.
“I’ve been living here for a year and there aren’t many places around here, and there aren’t styles for bigger girls,” she said.
The boutique sells clothing from small to XXXL, jewelry and accessories, such as hair scrunchies and fanny packs.
“When you get a new haircut, you want a new outfit,” Costelnock said. “I want it to be a whole experience when they come here.”
She said she handpicks clothing and fashion items from different vendors.
“I specifically choose what I thought fit the brand. I’m 30, a mom and plus-sized, and I’m still young enough to be trendy,” Costelnock said.
Bailee Vaughn, who runs the salon’s marketing and social media, grew up nearby in Hartland Township, and agrees the area could use more clothing options.
“There aren’t many. Growing up I would drive to Twelve Oaks Mall (in Novi),” said Vaughn, 21, who founded her own marketing company Branded by Bailee.
District 308 Salon & Boutique will host a grand opening party, with free food and drinks, from 6 to 10 p.m. May 21 for clients, potential clients and anyone who wants to help welcome a new Howell business.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at jt[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @jennifer_timar.