When you walk into The Beauty Lounge in Minneapolis, the first thing you’ll notice is its high energy atmosphere. The second thing that will really stand out is the diversity of the clientele. People with textured, curly hair will be having their hair cut and styled next to someone with very fine, straight hair.
“While being in the space next to somebody who's from a different background, you’re overhearing conversations and can gain a different level of understanding of who that person is; it's not just about the hair,” says owner, Melissa Taylor, who opened The Beauty Lounge in 2011.
Her salon is all about diversity and ensuring that every client feels welcome. “We're not pretentious,” she says. “There are some salons where people feel they have to be dressed up, but we want people to feel comfortable coming in as they are. Regardless of their ethnic background, their gender, or anything else, this is a space that feels affirming and inclusive and where people are not being judged for who they are.”
There are nine stylists and two nail technicians, and everyone is vetted by Melissa herself. “Our stylists and technicians also have diverse backgrounds, and they just love what they do,” she says. “People have really sought out working at the salon because they align with our mission and are seeking a space that is inclusive and where they feel that they can grow a diverse clientele.”
She also loves welcoming entire families into her salon. “Over the years, I’ve noticed, especially with multicultural families, their kids were going to one place to get their hair done, the mom was going somewhere else, and the dad was going somewhere completely different. Families should be able to go to the same place to get their hair done regardless of their hair texture.”
For Melissa, providing education for these families is also important. “I've been teaching a class called Kids’ Hair Fundamentals since 2016,” she says. “Parents can come into the salon with their kids and they can really learn how to style their children’s hair. It's specifically targeted towards foster parents, parents of transracial adoptees and, of course, multiracial families.”
In order to be able to help parents who are from out of the area, she recently recorded an online course. “I know it's just not a Minnesota problem or a United States problem,” says Melissa. “It's definitely a global problem.” She has recently been contacted by a parent in Canada seeking her help.
Weddings have also been a part of her business model since the beginning due to her background and expertise in bridal hair and makeup. In addition to offering these services in the salon itself, she has freelance hair and makeup artists that go on location.
“We have nail services too and are growing that team,” says Melissa. “Long term, we would like to accommodate a full bridal party getting their hair, makeup and nails done at the same time.”
To provide an even more incredible experience for all her clientele, The Beauty Lounge offers products for every kind of hair type and style. “We sell Mizani®, ColorProof®, Keratin Complex® and some Redken products,” she says. “We also sell maintenance items like satin pillow cases, continuous spray water bottles, detangling brushes and things of that nature that will help preserve people's styles for a longer period of time.” For further convenience, Melissa plans to add an even more curated selection of items that their clients can use at home.
“The demographics of our cities and of the United States are changing and people can't run from texture anymore,” she says. “There are going to be more people with texture than without texture in the future. I think that we need to be ahead of the curve and really need spaces that can showcase what a salon could be as opposed to just following what salons have always been.”
The Beauty Lounge offers a wide range of services from basic haircuts, styling and color to extensions, braids and texturizing. When you’re ready to make your appointment, call 612-227-9363 or go to its website mplsbeautylounge.com/ and choose the day, time and service you prefer. 3501 Hennepin Ave S., Minneapolis.