Nikki Mahaffey-Berglund knows her way around a head of hair. As a fifth-generation barber, she practically grew up with clippers in her hands.
“My grandpa barbered until he was 80, and my dad barbered. It was just something natural,” she said.
She had big dreams to run her own salon, and nearly 20 years ago that idea came to fruition when she opened Studio 64 in Pasco.
The 600-sq.-ft. studio was originally located on Road 64, hence the name. Business doubled almost every year, and about five years after opening, Studio 64 moved to its current location off Road 68 and Argent, a 1,200-sq. foot space with six stylists. The company’s name stayed the same, but after several years, Mahaffey-Berglund wanted a change.
“I love to make things go — to have things in motion. If I’m idling too long, it drives me crazy,” she said. “And that’s part of the reason I got out from behind my chair. After doing it for so many years, I was wondering if there was anything else out there.”
She continued on as the salon’s manager while trying her hand at different careers. She worked for a nonprofit and even as a representative for a cosmetology class. Her territory as a rep included salons from Walla Walla to Yakima.
“So I got to go into every salon from here to there and just be in the salon family again. I met the most beautiful people, and that little fire just came back,” she said about her return to the industry.
She talked with her parents, Mike and Teddie Mahaffey, about opening a new business. Together they considered a restaurant and in-home care facility, but ultimately settled on another salon—one that came with the support of national educators from the industry.
“When I started putting on my business-thinking cap, a Paul Mitchell salon was the way to go because of all of the support he gives you,” she said.
In order to carry the Paul Mitchell name and products, which Mahaffey-Berglund said is the number one line in the world, her stylists would have to undergo hours of training and continued education.
There are no franchise fees she said, but a Paul Mitchell representative will check in with the salon after it opens to ensure stylists are meeting their guidelines for color, cut and technique.
Mahaffey-Berglund opened Vybe, a Paul Mitchell Focus Salon, Feb. 9 at 8551 W. Gage Blvd., Ste. H in Kennewick. Vybe, with 2,200 sq. feet, includes 14 stylist stations and an esthetician room.
“We ripped up the floor and demo’ed the walls and built some new rooms. It’s going to be very unique,” she said. “Paul Mitchell has certain colors they want us to use, and I took the time and toured a few salons in Portland and Seattle to get some ideas, and we created our own from there. I did lots of homework to make the layout work. We did hire an interior designer—Dayla Smith. She did a couple of Parade of Homes interior designs and she is a past stylist for Studio 64.”
Mahaffey-Berglund said the salon has about 20 employees at Vybe and the stylists have undergone special training from Paul Mitchell Salon’s team. The training will continue.
“We’ll probably have classes once a month as continued education,” she said. “One of the things I’m really excited about is that Paul Mitchell has partnered with Millennium, software that will help us track our stylists and their production—what they’re excelling at, retention numbers and where we can improve on or are stable so we’ll be able to bring in what they need in so far as training.”
The closest Paul Mitchell Salon is in Yakima, and Mahaffey-Berglund said the owners are supportive and “a dynamic team.”
She’ll co-own Vybe with her parents, but her mom will assist in managing the salon while Mahaffey-Berglund splits her time between Vybe and Studio 64.
Along with stylists, estheticians will provide waxing services. There will also be a freelance makeup artist, and Mahaffey-Berglund said the salon will have a beer and wine liquor license.
“We really want to create a whole new experience for people in the salon industry,” she said. “We’re all excited. The amount of support that we’ve had, it creates a momentum you can’t stop.”
Vybe is at 8551 W. Gage Blvd., Ste. H, in Kennewick. The salon is open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is 509-492-0651. Find the company on Facebook.
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