When co-owners Christa Abbott Phillips and Eric Phillips decided to move Glow Salon to its current location at 1501 N. Columbia St. in Milledgeville a little less than five years ago, they knew they had big dreams for their business.
Christa had been a stylist for several years at that point, having owned Glow in two prior locations, but she and Eric saw potential in the new space.
“We moved here because it was bigger. We wanted to grow and add more services and grow more stylists,” said Christa.
Now known as Glow Salon and Boutique, the store employs seven additional people. A wide array of salon services are available including all hair services, hair extensions, facial waxing, make-up, spray tans, eyebrow tinting and formal hairstyling for special occasions.
The bigger space has allowed the return and expansion of the boutique side of the business. Abbott Phillips sold some boutique items at Glow’s original location, but when she re-located the business downtown for a time, there was no space to continue the boutique. In moving to the current locale, the boutique was revived and expanded to include a wide variety of jewelry, scarves, bags and clothing, as well as Milledgeville t-shirts and Georgia baseball caps, all at prices that won’t break the bank.
“We had a lot of demand to bring it [the boutique] back,” said Christa. “It’s a way to give back to the clients who have supported us to be able to bring them fashionable things at an affordable price.”
Now the husband and wife team has dreams to continue growing their business. A 1,500 square foot expansion is in the planning stages, and the two expect things to be completed sometime next year. Included in the plans is increased boutique space for more clothing and shoes, including more men’s apparel, as well as more small gift items. Also projected is the addition of a porch, better spray tan rooms, space for body waxing services, more customer parking and increased handicap accessibility for the building. Another plan is to add a consignment room for formal dresses for proms and special occasions.
“That’s a huge need,” said Christa. She often sees people trying to sell used formal dresses in private party sales on Facebook. This often leads to awkward meet-ups in public parking lots where the buyer cannot adequately determine if the dress meets their needs. With the addition of the consignment room, Christa said customers “can come and they can try it [the dress] on,” thus leading to a better overall buying experience.
There is also the possibility of adding tuxedo rentals to the business. “We want to be a one-stop-shop, essentially,” she said.
Something both of the owners feel strongly about is helping others. They agree that they owe part of this spirit to being on the receiving end of the kindness of others themselves. While still at their downtown salon, regular client Todd Hamlin helped the duo procure their current location by providing them assistance in purchasing the building in a way that did not create a large debt for them.
“He said, ‘Look, somebody helped me out one time, and if you are looking to grow, I have a building on 441 if you want to take a look at it,’” said Christa.
Eric added, “With the money that we didn’t have to spend to put down a huge down payment, we were able to remodel.”
“He paid it forward. We want to be able to do the same thing back,” added Christa.
To pay it forward, the owners of Glow devote a great amount of effort in supporting their stylists as they develop the skills of their craft, some of whom come to them while in or directly after completing cosmetology school. Christa noted that without proper mentorship, new stylists can become overwhelmed and discouraged and even leave the profession. Her goal is to provide that crucial mentorship.
“That’s truly my passion is to get a cosmetologist in school or right out of school and hold their hand through the growing process and watch their dreams come true behind the chair.”
Both owners stress the importance of teamwork in the work environment that they cultivate. At the heart of this is the teamwork of the owners themselves. While Christa guides the stylists they employ, Phillips is a self-described “man of many hats,” taking appointments, doing repair work, and doing any number of other errands or tasks that help keep the business running smoothly.
Said Eric, “We’ve met a lot of other people that own salons that are married, and they all say the same thing. ‘I couldn’t do it without her, and she couldn’t do it without me.’”
“He’s the yin to my yang,” added Christa. “We make a really good team.”