Marcia G. Lee, owner and operator of Marimarche’ (pronounced Mar-REE- Mar-SHE) Salon, describes her hair care/day spa wonderland as a home away from home – and she should.
Ok, I’ll admit it. I know Lee and in my defense this is a relatively new kinship; therefore, I can still be objective. You know how it happens: you meet your friend’s friend, run into each other at similar events, and before long you discover how cool this friend-of-a-friend is. Last summer, I tagged along with another friend to a really nice barbeque and did not realize I was at Lee’s home until someone else thought they were introducing us for the first time – small world.
After our initial shock and laugh of being reintroduced, I mentioned how healthy and versatile her hair always looks. She informs me of her profession and spoke briefly of her plans to design her salon in the South loop area for all hair types. I could tell this was her passion because as she spoke of her plans she called it manifesting her destiny; the beauty business is her calling.
Fast forward to sometime last week and I walk into her salon for the first time. I kid you not, I felt like I walked into her home. The entrance, the cut of the hallway down to other stations and massage/mani-pedi areas ironically resemble her hallways, open plans, and cuts to her half-bath and kitchen area, etc. I mention this to her:
“No. I didn’t see it until you said something! It’s funny because this is a home away from home and I spend a majority of the day here. I want to be comfortable and efficient in what I’m doing. We’ve provided a professional environment with clean lines so we do have a lot of ‘stuff’ going on,” Lee states.
Beginnings and Do-Over’s
This 24-year beauty expert was the go-to girl for hair care in grammar school, high school, and college. This isn’t her first go-around owning a salon. She has owned-and-operated several salons (without a day spa) in various areas in Chicago. According to Lee, those businesses did not work out to her expectations and she continued to work until she could have exactly what she totally envisioned: a salon and day spa in the South Loop area.
Building a Legacy
The salon’s name is derived from her two daughters. “I wanted to have a legacy for my two daughters and my oldest, my son, is in barber college at Larry’s Barber College. I want to make sure that I leave something for my children’s children. This is something that needed to happen,” Lee proudly points out.
Lee’s staff of 12 work well together and look great: flawless make-up, hair, and nails and the only gentleman sported a great haircut and smile to match.
“I love it. It’s fantastic,” says Sean Gilmore, an eight-year veteran as a barber/stylist. “I know a lot of people think it would be really hard to work where it’s a woman’s world, but it’s oh so easy because they get along really well and they pick on me a lot.”
“Oh please, he has his own team,” Shannon Stiles, another eight-year pro in the beauty business playfully interjected while teasing him. “I love the ambience, I love my co-workers, the location, I love the fact that it’s a black-owned professional business that’s professional, oh, and I love the music.” One could say Stiles is quite smitten with Marimarche’ Salon as well.
I had the opportunity to receive a bedazzled manicure with a soft pink underlay. I played it safe considering what limitless options you have. Ever consider the minx trend?
According to Chevon Thomas, a seven-year experienced nail technician at the salon, it’s a film that’s applied by using a heat lamp. The heat activates the adhesive needed to shape the film onto the nail. “It comes in hundreds of colors, designs, prints and textures; the choice is really up to you,” added Thomas. “The trends are always changing. You also have the 14-day manicure or the no-chip, many brands of gel, it just depends on what works for you or what your nail technician prefers to work with.”
The stiletto nail is what’s rocking for you all who may not (or may) represent the usual nine-to-five work schedule and for the remaining, it’s the short active length that’s most requested. People have busy lives and most are working out and still want fabulous nails. Thomas advises not to forget to wear gloves when washing dishes and to moisturize your cuticles.
As for hair, it’s color and the Keratin treatment for natural hair. Using the Keratin one can still wear their hair in natural coils: twists (single or double stand), the afro or curly afro while having the option to wear your hair straightened. “Keratin is protein that emulsifies the hair and puts a sealant on the hair that brings back a protein we lack when using a relaxer,” informs Lee.
Last November, the salon hosted a hair and fashion show with proceeds going toward Prosperity House, a women’s shelter dealing with substance abuse issues, “Our self-esteem is always an issue and these women have been given a second chance… not only is there a need to feel good on the inside but to feel good on the outside as they go out into the workforce,” Lee passionately explains and added she will always find ways the salon can give back.
The industry is constantly changing and the team at Marimarche’ Salon works as a whole unit trained to provide professional upscale customer service.
“I am most happy when a customer walks out of here with a smile on their face, or gives me a hug and says ‘thank you’…you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. This is a diversified salon. We treat all hair types and do not discriminate. We want everyone to feel comfortable to our inviting environment.”
It’s also a point of reference that each stylist continues educating him and herself on the health and trend aspects of their profession.
As for the future, Lee would like to branch out her brand with opening several locations, currently developing a hair and skincare line, and maybe open a beauty school. Lee is presently in school to receive her teacher’s license in cosmetology.
As I prepared to leave each team member lovingly embraced me with their sweet goodbyes and well wishes regarding my own success (so sweet); however, Lee did want to leave an encouraging message:
“Don’t give up. Don’t let no be your no. I have been told no so many times. One door closes and another four or five will open. Have faith and put God first.” Well said.
For more information on Marcia G. Lee and her staff at Marimarche Salon, visit the website at http://www.marimarshesalon.com.