Your campus, Your story
Story and photos by Devon Rademacher
We get attached to our favorite salon – the services and stylist keep us coming back. But, if that salon is in your hometown, or you need to find a place that clicks, we’re here to help.
Sitting in front of Mountain Town Station in downtown Mount Pleasant, Water Works Salon is a step into upscale and urban Mount Pleasant while embodying the homeyness of the mitten.
It’s also a cosmetology academy, which is why the environment in the salon feels both contemporary and warm.
Stephanie Prout started Water Works Salon and Spa 14 years ago.
“We don’t cater to one type of customer,” Prout said. “We have students, locals, business people.”
For the different types of customers, Water Works offers many types of services. Among some are cuts, color, perm, makeup application, extensions, massages and waxing.
Makeup, waxing and other services don’t utilize levels. For hair cuts and colors, you can choose a stylist at various levels.
There are five levels with five being the most expensive choice. A level one is where a stylist starts out, and the majority of the salon’s stylists come from the academy, but a handful don’t.
Level One is cheaper than the rest, but Prout said that doesn’t mean they’re not advanced.
“When they come over here, they’re starting off as a caliber three. I start them as a level one so they can start building up clientele.”
For those on a budget looking to get a haircut for close to nothing, Prout suggests stopping by the academy, since they need all the practice they can get.
A Salon with an Urban Feel
Water Works feels like an upscale salon you would find in Grand Rapids or Detroit. Prout said that’s part of the appeal, and may make people try the salon, but the service will make them stay.
“I think we have really good customer service – we try to make them feel like they’re part of our little club.”
Not only is the look of the salon upscale, but the exclusive brands at Water Works are, too.
The salon is a certified retailer of Bumble and bumble, and Bare Minerals. Prout said people won’t be able to find those brands within 50 miles of Mount Pleasant – talk about exclusivity.
Getting Started at the Academy
The Water Works Academy began a few years ago.
Prout said she likes to focus on small class sizes, though they can hold more. An average class is two to five men and women.
“We can take up to 8, but we try to stay with a small class.”
The academy is connected to the salon, and actually is only separated by a large glass window.
“We are the only salon in the state of Michigan that has a an academy attached to a salon. So, that really puts us apart.”
Prout herself is the director of the academy with four other instructors. The program takes 11 months to go through, upon completion, students can take their state board test to become certified.
Upcoming Fall Trends
The stylists must be up to date on styles quicker than their clients. Prout said she’s already had requests for blondes and bold colors like blue and green this season, and she’s seen more perms lately.
“Waves and curls – we’re doing a lot more perms, textured hair.”
Predicting and keeping up to speed on the latest trends can be tough for the service industry. For Water Works Salon – it’s part of their brand.
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