By Jessianne Wright EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – Nearly 2,800 people call Big Sky their fulltime home, according to the 2015 American Community Survey. Coupled with the number of visitors to the area—the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce estimates nearly 4,200 people came in June 2016 alone—it’s no surprise a variety of new businesses are opening up shop. And one thing that everybody inevitably needs is a haircut.

Two newly opened hair salons are welcoming customers through their doors, with owners Hanna Powell and Sarah Matthews both excited to find their own niche among several already established salons.

“All of us have something different to offer,” Powell said of her fellow cosmetologists. “In this kind of industry it’s good to have different options.”

Powell, who owns

Hanna Powell, the owner of Tribe Salon in Meadow Village, has been busy since opening her hair salon in February. Powell offers online scheduling as well as appointments by phone. PHOTO BY LIAM KESHISHIAN

located in Meadow Village, specializes in creative coloring and Balayage, a French coloring technique that leaves the hair looking natural and sun kissed, she said. She also offers razor cutting, and will use a feather razor to cut her client’s hair in order give the style soft-looking, smooth layers.

Having received both her cosmetologist and barber licenses from the Cinta Aveda Institute in San Francisco, Powell plans to offer shaving soon, in addition to haircuts, styling and waxing.

Powell’s product line features R+Co, an all-natural hair product formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or petrolatum. “I think we all need to be more aware of the chemicals we are putting on our skin and hair,” Powell said. 

Owner of Hair Shop of Big Sky, Matthews is also offering all-natural products. In addition to carrying Living Proof hair products that avoid heavy silicones or stiff resins, Matthews will offer Nerd Skincare, a line of natural skin products designed to get rid of acne by promoting healthy skin bacteria and reducing acne-causing bacteria, without introducing harmful ingredients like parabens and phthalates to the face.

“I want to help people feel good about their hair and also their skin,” Matthews said. About six years ago she came to Big Sky from Seattle and opened the original Hair Shop of Big Sky, operating by appointment only in a small space in the Westfork Village. Prior to becoming a cosmetologist, Matthews received certification as an esthetician “because I had acne,” she said. “It felt good to make other people feel good.”

Matthews is also excited about working with clients on color and doable hairstyles, she said. “A lot of Big Sky people are wake-up-and-go. They don’t want to spend a lot of time doing their hair.”

A therapy room is currently under construction at the Hair Shop space, which is located in the Big Horn Center off Highway 191, and Matthews looks forward to adding facials, massage and waxing to her list of services, which already includes haircuts, styling, manicures and pedicures, offered by Matthews and her two other stylists.

As a part of finding their own niche in Big Sky, each stylist has a business model that caters to different clientele.

“I just felt like Big Sky needed a walk-in location,” Matthews said, speaking about haircuts as well as nails. She noted that it takes between 200 and 300 people to keep one stylist in a fulltime work position. “When you do the math, we definitely need a number of hair salons to keep up with this town.”

Since reopening in April, the Hair Shop of Big Sky has kept busy. “We get more and more walk-ins every day,” Matthews said.

While the Hair Shop of Big Sky takes many walk-in appointments, Powell’s Tribe Salon has kept busy with bookings that can be made online. Many are with locals, she said. Powell opened her salon in February and she says she stayed busy even through the offseason. “That’s when people finally have time to get their hair done,” she said of her Big Sky clientele. 

When it comes down to the bottom line, Matthews said, “[Hair] doesn’t need to be competitive or overly priced. … You don’t need to drive all the way to Bozeman anymore.”

To learn more about Hanna Powell’s Tribe Salon or to book an online appointment, visit tribesalonbigsky.com. For more on Sarah Matthews and the Hair Shop of Big Sky, visit the salon’s Facebook page.

Sidebar: 

Other hair stylists in Big Sky:

Monica’s Salon, (406) 995-2722, bigskyhair.com

Hair Ninja, (406) 995-7510, styleseat.com/hairninja

Solace Spa, (406) 995-5803, bigskyresort.com/things-to-do/solace-spa-and-salon 

Mountain Haven Salon, (406) 993-4543