Owner Julie Keehma started her career in hair shortly after her high school graduation, and she hasn’t looked back since. After training with Tricia Bates, a renowned British stylist, Julie worked in salons around the country before settling down in the Hinsdale area. We caught up with Julie to learn how she and her team of stylists make their clients gorgeous.
Hinsdale Living: Tell us how Gorgeous got started.
Julie Keehma: In 1998, I had lived in Naperville for 10 years, and had established a nice clientele in the Hinsdale area. So I found an empty building in Hinsdale. It was a mess–with no central air or heat–but my family and a few friends got busy and transformed the old funky space into a salon we called Gorgeous. I had a client who would walk in every week and say to me, “Hello, gorgeous!” So I couldn’t resist calling the salon Gorgeous. Everyone who walked in said, “Wow, this is gorgeous!” We were in that location at 42 Village Place for eight years. We lost the space to an expansion of the pizza place that was next door, but we didn’t give up. We found a new location in Clarendon Hills in 2007, where we are today. The space is bright, warm, and still gorgeous; it’s on the second floor and looks out on to the small downtown of Clarendon Hills.
HL: What services does the salon offer?
JK: Our hair services are everything from texturing perms to thermal straightening. We also offer Keratin treatments for shine, conditioning, and manageability of frizz. And, of course, we offer haircuts and hair color for everyone. Our newest endeavor is the dreamcatcher.com extensions. Carey, one of our stylists, has been working on and designing hair prosthetics for many years.
HL: How do you stay current in the always-evolving hair industry?
JK: We pride ourselves on service and the dedication we have to our clients. After being in business for nearly 15 years we have many devoted clients. The beauty industry has really changed in the last few years; there’s lots of competition with Groupon, and, with the weakened economy people, are out looking for the next deal. We offer 50 percent off any new service a client has never had, and we offer discounts on YELP and soon Groupon too. Being one of the small boutique-style salons in the area, it is not easy competing with the big box corporate salons; but we are working hard to show our dedication and individualist attitude. We stay motivated and inspired to create and compete in the hair industry.
HL: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
JK: I have really enjoyed teaching and training new stylists. I have taken young girls right out of school and taught them everything from how to properly hold a shear (they don’t teach that in cosmetology school) to how to give a great consultation (which is the number one thing in this business). There is, of course, nearly a year of learning how to cut and color, perm, and straighten hair. But of all the things I love about my job, the biggest pleasure has been getting to know the clients; they are like my neighbors, friends, and even relatives. I have laughed and cried with them, and have shared my life with them for many years.
Gorgeous Hair, Inc. is located at 99 Park Ave, #203, in Clarendon Hills. For more information, call 630-323-7276.
– Jenna Schubert // Photography by Joel Lerner