After a year of construction, Alchemy Salon, located on the ground floor of Cimarron Plaza at the base of elevator 7, is open for business. For years, owner McKenzy Brown has scoured the real estate landscape across town in hopes of achieving her dream of owning and operating her own hair salon.
Brown purchased the 700 square foot retail space in November 2020.
“It was a slow process to reshape the space,” she said. “There was carpeting and the lighting was extremely dark. With the construction boom, everyone needed construction work, so the only people who could get the job done were ourselves, thanks to sweat equity.
As she began her career in hairdressing, Brown bounced around from San Francisco to Los Angeles before landing in San Diego, where she “found an amazing cutting specialist and a great school.” Eventually, she moved and earned her stylist’s license in Colorado, landing a job at Bliss, a local hair salon on Main Street, where she worked for owner Rebecca Messier for nearly six years.
“Rebecca was an amazing boss who definitely gave me a lot of tools and a foundation to pursue my dreams,” Brown said. “My vision is to create a space where we can all bring customers and talk together and be a team and support and learn from each other. But also, at the end of the day, we have the flexibility to create lifestyles who support our families.
Stylist Kate Newell, who earned her styling credentials at the premier Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, also worked at Bliss for nearly a decade.
“I was like, this is so cool. I love it,” she recalled, peeking out the windows of Brown’s new living room. “I wanted to change things up a bit and be my own. boss, and McKenzy was able to offer it to me because at Alchemy, we are all subcontractors.”
Last spring, Brown and Newell began taking clients to the new salon space, which features three stylist stations, each with a plush leather chair that faces a large mirror hung on clean white walls with cabinets with rustic wooden utensils. There are two sink stations, a light and airy waiting area with comfy chairs, and shelves of hair products that line the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The salon officially celebrated its grand opening in mid-November, when Amy Tackett, who earned her cutting degrees in Albuquerque and Boulder and also worked for Bliss for nearly 15 years, joined the team.
Alchemy offers an assortment of color and lightening services, including balayage, foils, and root touch-ups; haircuts for men, women and children; breakouts, styling and conditioning; and straightening and smoothing treatments.
The three designers appreciate the accessible and free parking provided by Alchemy’s location in Cimmaron Plaza.
“It’s lovely here,” Brown said.
“And it’s nice and quiet. I can’t hear the trucks going by,” Tackett added.
“There’s also less foot traffic, and when you’re working without a receptionist and you don’t have anyone selling the product, that means fewer interruptions,” Newell said.
“In the summer, Kate and I ate lunch outside in the square every day. It’s a peaceful oasis, which is rare in Telluride,” Brown added. “Now if only someone would open a cafe here. .”
“…Or a burrito window,” Newell said.
Over the years, the three stylists have attended continuing education programs together in Phoenix, Houston, LA and Boulder to learn the latest tricks and techniques of the trade. In December, they attended a balayage hair color technique class in Grand Junction and will be doing another training somewhere this fall.
Alchemy is also a certified stockist for a full line of Davines, a hair products company based in Parma, Italy.
“Davines is an awesome company that started as a small farm and has now grown into a sort of science lab where they combine their agricultural products with technology to create beautiful colors and products for stronger, healthier hair,” said explained Brown. “Each of the retail shampoos and conditioners has a specific job. Whether you’re looking for straightening or curling, Davines has it all.
With flexible hours, the three stylists work some weekends and weekdays to fill bookings, which are all done online.
“That’s the best part of being a contractor,” Tackett said. “I can decide, I want to work that day and I’ll do it. Or if I have clients and I can’t get them in, I can work half a day. I like this flexibility.
In the future, Brown hopes to hire an additional stylist or two to keep the new salon space optimally filled and busy on a daily basis.
“I feel really confident with McKenzy as the leader,” Newell said, leaning down to scratch Alchemy’s mascot, a friendly white mix from the Pyrenees named Hank. “With his management and communication skills, it makes for an easy place to work.”
For more information about Alchemy Salon and to book an appointment, visit alchemytelluride.com.