Upscale in West Virginia – Chi Magazine
From: CHI, Vol. V, Issue 19
LIVING IN THE EASTERN panhandle of West Virginia are commuters working in Washington, D.C., who used to have to stay in the District if they wanted the latest hair and spa services. In 2007, Vi Nguyen offered them a change from that routine when she launched VIVO Salon and Day Spa right in their neck of the woods, in Kearneysville.
Energetic and eager to be on her own, Nguyen put together her business only seven years after moving to the United States from Vietnam and six years after becoming a hairdresser. Her youth and relative inexperience didn’t worry her because she had a clear vision for her business.
Health and Beauty
“My salon is all about sexy, shiny hair, and a healthy environment,” Nguyen explains. “I think everyone should live a green, healthy life and avoid strong chemicals.”
It was her own allergies that motivated Nguyen to search for ammonia-free products to use on her clients, and she knew when she had her own salon she would use naturally formulated products. She discovered CHI at a hair show.
“I’m allergic to a lot of perfumes, but I have no problem with CHI perfume,” Nguyen says. When tolerance to the perfume led her to try CHI hair color and other Farouk hair products, like BioSilk, she was thrilled with the results. Today she says that more than 90 percent of the products she uses and carries are from the Farouk line.
“I always said, ‘One day when I have my own salon, this will be the product line I use,’” Nguyen notes. “I highly recommend Farouk products to everyone—hairdressers and clients at home and at the salon. Try it and you’ll love it!”
Wanting to help her clients to achieve full-body health, Nguyen designed her business to include spa services, offering spa manipedis, facials, body massage and eyelash extensions. On staff is a nail tech, massage therapist and receptionist. Although she hopes to hire another stylist. Nguyen currently does all the hair herself. She is particular about who she will hire to work in her ammonia-free salon, which is unique to her area. She has the highest standards for her salon, including excellent customer service and a commitment to use safe and high-quality products.
Yearning to Learn
Another thing Nguyen has in common with Farouk is her devotion to education. Nguyen has taken up Farouk on an offer for free in-salon training, welcoming an educator into her salon three times. In addition, she travels to shows where she can see the company’s artists demonstrate the latest styles and products. She also helps fund similar trips for her staff and most recently she had the honor of attending Farouk Systems’ International Conference in Cancun, Mexico.
Nguyen’s favorite moments at VIVO Salon are watching the smile on each client’s face as the service is completed. “I can always tell if a client isn’t quite satisfied,” she says, and in that case she sits the client back down. “I never, ever let a client leave without a happy face. Never!”
Still, her work is only part of her life. “I have a great family,” Nguyen says. “I’m raising two handsome boys and have full support from my husband. I put a lot of effort into my salon, and I’m confident it will pay off.”