Salon owners find happiness after other careers

Contributed Sarah Hunter and Kaila Lucero, co-owners of 41 North Salon in Norwich, pose in this undated photo.

A need for flexibility and a love of all things beauty led Sherburne natives Sarah Hunter and Kaila Lucero to each other.

The pair co-owns 41 North Salon at 41 North Broad St. in Norwich, launched in September 2016.

“Me and Kaila both attended cosmetology school as adults,” Hunter, 33, said. “We paid for it on our own, so we took an extreme amount of interest, because we’d decided to do it later on (in life). I didn’t get back into it full time until about four years ago. I’d worked in telecommunications … but, after having my daughter, I needed a more flexible schedule and I loved doing hair; I loved anything beauty related and fashion, makeup and hair. I have a creative side and Kaila is the same way.”

“I went to college three times before (attending) cosmetology school, but I always wanted to do cosmetology,” Lucero, 31, said. Lucero said she attended the private John Paolo’s Xtreme Beauty Institute in New York Mills.

“I went to school for early childhood education, then I was a dental assistant and I loved it, but hated not having flexibility,” Lucero said. “I wanted to be my own boss and my mom said, ‘You need to just do it.’ So, I … quit and started three days later. I’ve been doing (cosmetology) for eight years.”

Though known for its diverse hair treatments, Hunter and Lucero said, 41 North Salon offers head-to-toe services.

“We do it all — we do color, balayage, cuts (for) men, women and kids and then we do pedicures and nails,” Hunter said.

“Aside from the fact we do great hair, I do nails and I do a color acrylic that not a lot of people do,” Lucero said. “And Sarah does one of the best pedicures in the world. She could’ve been a podiatrist. Most of the clients that get their hair done get their nails and feet done, as well.”

That clientele, Hunter and Lucero said, represents a mix.

“I would say we have pretty a widespread (clientele),” Hunter said. “Kaila has people coming from Endicott and Afton and Sidney, so it’s not just local, (though) we do have a large clientele from Norwich.

“It’s mostly women,” she said, “but we do have men. I’d say it’s 80% women and then 20% men and children.”

“Typically, our clients are in their 20s or 30s,” Lucero said, “but I do younger girls and we have another stylist who caters to older women and does perming and all that, so we have wide range.”

The quality of their work and the salon’s environment, Hunter and Lucero said, bolster client loyalty.

“I have people who I’ve been doing their hair from Day 1, when I started eight years ago,” Lucero said.

“I think they love the atmosphere,” Hunter said. “(Customers) feel like we’re their friends. Me and Kaila are very personable, and I think this is what helps our business be so successful. We have so many clients and …we’ve never lacked in that area. We’ve always been blessed, but I think it’s because they’re very loyal and they want to feel welcome, like family. It’s also (that we’re) getting to do what we love. It’s work, but we enjoy doing it.”

Loyal as their base is, Hunter said, the pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19 has impacted 41 North Salon.

“With COVID, we’re not allowed to take walk-ins,” she said. “It’s a lot harder and we have to spend a lot more time with each client, sanitizing.”

As a result, Hunter said, 41 North is not accepting new clients at this time, though it will likely begin taking new customers in January.

Hunter said she and Lucero also “have plans to broaden and goals of expanding” in 2021.

For more information, find “41 North Salon” on Facebook or call 607-373-6385.

To inquire about appointment availability, Hunter and Lucero recommend messaging them through the salon Facebook page.

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