Weaverville – When Hair Angels opened in 2012, clients coveted Kelly Clarkson’s chunky highlights. Owners and stylists Keri Mathews and Samantha Fender recall clients presenting them with dozens of photos of the American hair idol.
“It was this chunky, red, black, and blonde highlight. I think I did that a million times,” says Mathews.
Eight years later, requests for stretched roots, balayage and ‘babylights’ dominate, styles that were virtually non-existent at the time of the salon’s opening. The rapid rise of social media has transformed hair. Customers bring Printrest screenshots rather than US Weekly cut-outs of Jennifer Aniston’s chunky highlights. A simple search of ‘haircut’ on the image sharing site prompts hundreds of thousands of photos.
“All of that, those were techniques we didn’t learn in hair school. We had to go out on our own and go to classes,” says Fender.
Like cosmetic trends, Hair Angels is ever-evolving. What began with a few customers and a vision has expanded to hundreds of clients. Since its inception, the salon has grown to include the talents of nail technicians Keiu “Q” and Thai Dinh. The team expansion has made Hair Angels complete, says Fender.
“Their work is absolutely amazing. And they stand behind it 110%,” says Fender.
Keiu and Thai Dinh’s skills eclipse basic manicures and pedicures. The husband-and-wife duo are capable of “99%” of intricate nail art that clients request. Marbleized nails, candy corn claws—no feat is too intricate or time-consuming.
“People don’t want to be basic anymore. They want over-the-top. We give them something they can’t get anywhere else,” says Keiu.
Another rarity is the salon’s family-like ambiance, says Mathews and Fender. Before the pandemic, customers and friends would frequently swing by to chat with the stylists and check in with each other. Since March, the salon had to implement virus safety measures, including a “by appointment only” policy. But restrictions haven’t squashed the connection that the team has with their clients.
“One thing we’ve totally strove to do from the get-go is to know that they’re going to get good quality work and feel at home and like you’re family,” says Fender.