By Sue Baldani
Mercedes Jacobs didn’t set out to open her own hair salon. After going to school to learn how to style hair, she ended up winning a hair show and a free trip to London, which both surprised and elated her since the competition was fierce.
After that, with her newly learned skills, she sometimes worked out of her basement or rented space in an established salon in Gainesville. When the owner of that salon decided to sell, Jacobs grabbed on to this unexpected and exciting opportunity with both hands.
“I took a leap of faith and bought it,” she says. She chose the name Three Ways Beautiful Salon because she felt that the salon experience should encompass the mind, body and soul. It’s not just about looking good, but also about nourishing the human spirit. A salon should be a place to get away and relax for a while.
The salon itself is bright and airy, and Jacobs is friendly and full of energy. She has taken great care to make everything about the salon feel welcoming. When clients first walk in, there’s a coffee bar where they can pick up a complimentary fresh coffee, espresso, cappuccino or latte, which they can sit and enjoy while waiting for their appointment.
Three Ways Beautiful will be celebrating its 5th anniversary this year and on September 18, a customer appreciation day will be held to mark the occasion.
“There will be food, raffles and all kinds of exciting giveaways,” says Jacobs. Whether a long-time client or new customer, stop by, meet the owner, and learn all about the salon.
Although being both a salon and spa for many years, the spotlight of the business going forward will be more on the salon.
“We’re going to focus more on hair now – styling, texturizing, coloring, and also offer some limited waxing,” Jacobs says.
Whatever your hair type or style preference, there’s a stylist available who fits your particular need. “We don’t book people in order of what stylist is up next, but instead try to book who is best for that client,” says Jacobs. “When we talk to them we get an idea of what they are looking for, or if they have curly hair or straight hair. We match the client to the right stylist.”
“Also, some salons charge for experience, which is fine, but all of our stylists are master stylists, so everybody is the same price. And we are all a team, so if one stylist can’t fit in their regular customer, another stylist is happy to do it.” There are 11 stylists right now and some have been with her from the beginning.
During the five years the salon has been open, Jacobs says Three Ways Beautiful has won best salon four out of five times in Haymarket Lifestyle and has also won for best salon in Northern Virginia.
“A lot of salons can be very intimidating places,” she says. “People tell me that they feel very welcome and very comfortable here. It’s not intimidating when they come in; they become part of our family. On any given day I can name just about everyone in the chairs. I take the time to try to talk to people; I think that’s important.”
She is proud of the fact that more than 75% of her clientele are regulars and of all ages. “We appreciate the loyalty of our clients. We’re across from the Heritage Village retirement community and have a lot of clients from there and other senior living developments.”
In addition to cuts, color, perms, and shampoo/style blowouts, the salon offers all kinds of hair treatments such as the J Bev Smoothing Realignment System, which is new, and the Brazilian blowout, which is a popular straightening treatment. Her stylists particularly enjoy getting clients ready for special events and creating elegant hairstyles for bridal parties.
Three Ways Beautiful also carries a full range of high-quality products for different hair types. “We have Euphoria, which is a pharmaceutical aloe-based brand, and Kevin Murphy products, which are more botanicals. J Beverly Hills is another botanical as well, so it’s all about lavender and memory resins. These are our three main brands.”
Another popular brand you’ll find on the cool display is WOW, a product that helps with humidity with formulas for both curly and straight hair. Others include Oligo and Olaplex.
“We sell quality products and I have a 100% guarantee,” says Jacobs. “If you don’t like your product, you can bring it back and get a full refund or exchange it for something different.” Anyone can come in to shop, not just clients.
Although Jacobs is a business woman, she says it’s not all about the money. For example, she sometimes doesn’t charge customers who are coming in to have their hair done for funerals, or those who have cancer, or are going through some other difficult situation. And some of her stylists will do the same and provide their services at no charge.
“We’re all about the community,” she says. “Anyone who needs a donation, I will do what I can. We’re about taking care of the people who take care of us. We are also a drop off site for the Haymarket Regional Food Pantry.”
To schedule an appointment with one of the experienced stylists at Three Ways Beautiful Salon or to pick up a great hair product, visit the salon at 7917 Heritage Village Plaza in Gainesville, or for more information, go to http://www.threewaysbeautifulsalon.com/. And please, mark your calendar for the salon’s customer appreciation day on September 18!