Earlier this spring, IVEY Salon, an Aveda concept salon, opened at Fourth Avenue and Huron Street. The DDA had the privilege of speaking with the three women behind IVEY: sisters and co-owners Danielle Vaughn and Casey Baumeier, as well as Synecdoche designer and architect Lisa Sauve, about why they chose to locate in Ann Arbor, the behind-the-scenes of opening a hair salon, and what it’s like to work as part of a team.
DDA: Why did you choose downtown Ann Arbor as the location for your salon?
Danielle: We live here. We have our first salon in Pinckney, but we live here, this is our community, our kids go to school here, it’s just, it feels good. So here we are!
DDA: Are you liking your location on 4th Avenue?
Danielle: This [block of 4th Avenue] is the new “it.” And you can’t get a better seat. We’re front row to construction. As big of a pain as it is, we’re front row to watch all of this happen and evolve. It’s going to be amazing when it’s done.
Lisa: Between the construction, us coming in, and Blom coming in, just activating this block, I really think we’re establishing another commercial corridor. It’s a place for people to walk and meet each other beyond Main Street or State Street. We’re making another avenue for people to connect and interact. We’re really excited to be early adopters for the Huron and Fourth area. We have faith in what this area is going to become, so we’ll kind of buy in and move in before it’s all polished up.
DDA: What’s it like being right downtown?
Danielle: It’s a good vibe. Aside from parking, which I think is everyone’s biggest hurdle, we’re in a good spot.
Casey: We forget all the connections we’ve always had down here, and before we know it, all these people are just popping into see us. It feels so much more like home. People just want to stop in and say hi to the sisters.
Danielle: We have the best neighbors at Blom, we couldn’t ask for better people. They’re just good souls, and it’s really nice walking outside and saying hi to each other. We have each other’s backs in the community.
DDA: What’s the process behind opening a salon?
Danielle: [Casey and I] are two sisters. Opening another location was something we’ve always wanted to do, to just be closer to home. That’s when I met Lisa, and then introduced her to Casey, and we just vibed. We vibed and formed a partnership, which was something all women want and need, we’re this girl power group, and it’s pretty cool.
Lisa: My design studio worked on Blom next door, and we’ve got relationships with the building owner, so we felt really confident about who we were working with. My role was designing the space, which was very much plucking out the essence of Danielle and Casey, and figuring out how we can manifest that to the physical form of the space. There’s a certain vibe and a certain charisma that IVEY has, and so designing it, I had to really understand Danielle and Casey’s rhythm.
Casey: I do hair. I’ve worked at salons, and over time i’ve seen what each salon was sort of lacking and what I would like to see in a salon. As I started to collaborate with my sister Danielle, we came up with our own way, and collaborated with Aveda and what they offer. We also went the extra mile to do those small things that we do to, for example, make sure that every person in this salon knows that you’re a new client without you having to tell them. If you come in to be a client, you’re always going to feel like you’re part of our family.
DDA: Tell me a little more about your salon. What exactly is an Aveda salon, and what is IVEY?
Casey: IVEY is a salon, that’s our brand, and you can become an Aveda salon where you carry all the Aveda products and believe in the Aveda way. We went the extra step and we’re a concept salon, so that means that we don’t carry anything else, we’re only Aveda. So we’re backed by Aveda as well.
Danielle: We want to be different and break molds, which means kindness, it’s treating everyone with respect and kindness. Whether you work here, or you’re a guest at the salon, you should always feel like you’re the most important thing. It’s a fun place. I love it here. I love coming to work. And I want every guest and every employee to feel the same way. We have something called, it’s kind of funny but it’s true, it’s a “no a$#holes policy.” It doesn’t matter how much you bring to the table, or who you are, if you treat someone poorly, you’re being an a$#hole and you gotta go.
DDA: What about this new business are you most excited about?
Lisa: We’re a storefront salon, so we’re kind of projecting our attitude and our visions into the downtown on a main block. Our big ambitions in the next few years are to be really integrated and supportive to other business and the community and the town. We’re really intentional as to how to be a community member.
Casey: I’m excited mostly about teaching my staff. That’s always been my dream. I mean, I love doing hair, and don’t get me wrong, I’ll always want to do hair, but it’s fun to teach other people how to do hair.
DDA: What’s it like working together?
Danielle: There are three pieces to this, there’s myself, Casey, and Lisa. All three of us, very much alike, are also very different, working on different dynamics of the business. We have this team of strong women, and I wholeheartedly feel we can do anything we want to do. It’s just fun.
Casey: I know it might seem to some people that it would be fun to just own a business by yourself, but our strength is that we have three strong women. Each one of us wants to be able to help the other one.
Lisa: But I’m not cutting hair. That’s the only thing I can’t do.
Casey: That’s the only downfall.
Lisa: The whole partnership, the idea is, this is not a financial investment. I didn’t join this for that reason. The entire kind of effort is about having everyone find their own piece of success, and figure out how we can do it together.