The self-care industry has always played a big role in Mary George’s life. For one, George is a third generation hair stylist who fondly remembers getting haircuts from her mother in their kitchen while she was growing up.
“It was always, ‘Sit down, close your eyes,’” she recalls. “A haircut from a very young age, to me, became a relaxing experience.”
Today, George says she strives to bring that same relaxing experience to her own hair styling clients. She is also planning to take her efforts to the next level as the new owner of The Suites at 2929 in Mt. Pleasant.
The business is expected to open on June 1 at the corner of Isabella and High Streets, near the Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum and Morey Courts.
The Suites at 2929 owner, Mary George. (Photo: Sarah R. Adams/Epicenter)
George says each suite can be described as a “mini salon.” Instead of renting a chair at a big salon, hair stylists and other self-care professionals (like nail technicians and massage therapists) have the opportunity to rent an entire suite for working with their clients individually.
“I'm offering a space where a person can have their own business rather than getting their own brick-and-mortar building where they'd have to pay utilities and all these other things,” George says. “It's one payment. and it pays for their rent, their internet, and all their utilities.”
George adds that each suite is private and fully enclosed. Renters can also customize the ambience of their suite with the décor and music they choose.
Self-care suites are not a new concept. (In fact, George says “They are everywhere but here!”) She says she developed the idea for bringing the business model to Mt. Pleasant and then began visiting similar sites all over the country.
“I decided when I was going to do this, I'm going to go into every salon suite building I can find and see what I like about it and what I don't like about it.”
Right now, George says just seven of her suites are still available. Self-care professionals who have already signed on with her include a microblade artist, a hair stylist, a body piercer, and an eyelash extension specialist. George says she’s also been approached by a tattoo artist and a clothing boutique. She’s hoping to include skin care professionals and massage therapists as well.
George says the decision to start her own business wasn’t an easy one.
“I rent a chair at a local salon, and it's a lovely establishment,” she says. “I really struggled with my choice because I work with some of the best people I've ever met and walking away from that safe space and what I do
know—to push myself to something that is slightly foreign to me even though I've done a ton of research—was scary. But at the end of the day, I was like, ‘I have to try.’”
“I've wanted to do it for years,” she adds. “But I kind of let the money aspect hold me back, and I kind of had a moment of ‘where there's a will, there's a way.’ And I don't want to live the rest of my life wondering, ‘what if I would have at least tried?’ So, I found a way.”
(Photo: Sarah R. Adams/Epicenter)
Overall, George says that she sees more and more people realizing how important the self-care industry is, and what the services offered at The Suites at 2929 can bring to their lives.
“I think COVID taught us about taking time for yourself and doing what you need to do to recharge,” she explains. “Self-care is important for one's mental health. It's been proven time and time again: if someone looks good, they feel good—and it's helpful to be able to take that time for yourself.”
In implementing The Suites business model, George also says she wants to create an environment where self-care professionals can support each other
while providing quality experiences for their clients. George has already begun mentoring a new Suites tenant who just finished beauty school.
She also adds that she doesn’t view other salons or stylists in the area as competitors.
my biggest competition,” she explains. “I want to be better than I was yesterday, and that's it. These are my colleagues, not my competitors. All of them. And so, I know I'm going to be successful because I've continued to be successful, even with the 100 different hairdressers we already have in this town.”
“I want to elevate myself to the next level,” she concludes. “And this is where the industry is headed: being able to offer an elevated experience.”
Learn more about The Suites at 2929 on their Facebook and Instagram accounts beginning in April. You can also visit their website, salonsuitesmountpleasant.com
, for additional information.