In Marketplace

Freya Salon welcomes you with an art gallery. (PHOTO: JW Lawson)

In Marketplace

The seven co-owners refurbished the salon space from an old dentist office. (PHOTO: JW Lawson)

In Marketplace

Co-owner Emma Laehn runs the colorist station. (PHOTO: JW Lawson)

Freya fashions a new take on the salon experience

In a perfect world we would all know what to do with our hair. We'd have the ability to trim, chop and style with flair and distinction, rendering the phrase "bad hair day" completely nonexistent.

In the real world, a decent daily shampooing is the best some of us can hope for. Luckily, it's become someone else's job to trim our bangs, manage our split ends and figure out where the layers go.

This is where Freya Salon, 2318 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., comes in. Seven senior stylists in Milwaukee have joined creative forces to form the co-op style, employee-owned, full-service place of beauty in Bay View. So far, says stylist / color guru / co-owner Emma Laehn, the response has been uncanny.

"The first week we were open we were so busy that we ran out of towels," she says. "Our credit card machine hadn't shown up yet and we were sending customers across the street to the ATM."

Now open for just over three months, the new business kinks have been flat-ironed and the salon's truly unique style is highlighted.

All but one of the seven owners / stylists previously worked together at Beauty before discovering each other's common interest in creating what Laehn describes as "an environment that we really enjoyed working in, which would inevitably spill over onto our clients."

To Laehn and her talent team, this means "providing a really good, high-end service by well-educated people without the intimidating environment. We wanted it to be really comfortable and laid back -- a place where people don't feel like they have to get dressed up to come get their hair cut."

The results reveal a beautifully and artistically designed interior complemented by cream city brick walls and a vintage-inspired waiting area that doubles as an art gallery. Right now, works on loan from the JW Lawson Fine Art Gallery, 2925 S. Delaware Ave., splash vibrant color across Earth-toned walls.

Freya offers the full spectrum of beauty services, save for nails, extensions and massage. Cuts start at $40, coloring at $70 and styling at $40. The salon has one employee, esthetician / make-up artist Paulina, who has made a name for herself in Milwaukee for her skills and creativity with waxing -- especially her signature shapely and colorful Brazilian wax.

The others -- the seven owners -- are all masters of their trade, possessing a minimum of five years' experience in the industry. Many of them do double duty as educators for various product lines -- Goldwell, GHD and Bumble & Bumble, to name a few.

"We all do a lot of continuing education and are always learning new things," says Laehn, who attended Vici Beauty School and has been styling for eight years. "Most of us are also interested in the artistic aspect of hair, so we do a lot of photo shoots and creative work for fashion editorials and style shows."

Look for beautification by Freya at the Saturday, Jan. 12 "Art, Architecture and Music" concert experience at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Freya's grand opening is set for the Friday before, Jan. 11. The party starts at 6 p.m. with drinks, appetizers by Comet Cafe, and music by Evan Christian at 6:30 p.m. and Lotus Land and Chalice in the Palace DJs at 8 p.m.


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