Sitting poolside one weekend, Amanda Galmiche started daydreaming of her own salon and asking "What if?" Luckily, her friend and co-worker Rachel Korman got serious, and together, they opened Mane Stay Hair Studio in St. Petersburg in January.
Both Galmiche, originally from Detroit, and Korman, of Palmetto, have Aveda educations and apprenticed at Arrojo Studio in New York City. But their paths didn't cross until they shared the same station at a St. Pete salon. After breaking out on their own, the women are growing their business slowly.
"We're taking our time and doing this right," said Korman, 31, a mother of two. They have six chairs, potentially more soon, as well as a few apprentices who help with clients.
Galmiche, 32, with her bubbly personality and purple hair, travels across the country teaching hair-coloring classes. She has more than 40,000 followers on Instagram (@thehaircolorexpert) who get to see before-and-after transformations, hair process videos and her beauty tips. She and Rachel (@trustyourhairdresser) stay up-to-date with trends and are excited to now offer hair extensions, Korman said. "Our client is California meets Brooklyn girl," Galmiche said.
Recently, we chatted over coffee with the Mane Stay owners about business, beauty and why rose gold hair isn't for everyone.
What's your beauty secret?
Rachel: Anything that doesn't look like I did a whole lot. I want to look effortless. I've got lash extensions that take all the work away. But lately, my secret has been my denim jeans. After having my second kid, they're the most comfortable way to look put together.
Amanda: Anything that's going to be permanent, sort of. I just got microblading done on my eyebrows, and I have lash extensions. Lipsense is the best lipstick that stays on for hours. I love beauty hacks like that for long-lasting looks, that make it look liked you tried.
What hair trends do you love and hate?
Amanda: I love extensions. All kinds. I hate silver-gray ombres on people with previously colored hair. Pastel color takes hours and usually doesn't give the client the look she wants.
Rachel: I love sombre, a softer version of ombre, and babylighted rooty blonds. Like Amanda, I hate pastels and rose golds. It's just not for the average client.
But pastel colors are huge right now. Tell me more about the process. What's the cost?
Rachel: Pastel color is basically a softer version of its sister color. (The dye) must go on a blank canvas of hair, which is hair that has been bleached to a nearly white tone. Not everyone is a candidate for this pure, nearly white tone. That's where everyone gets themselves in trouble. If any color-correcting is needed or if getting the hair super bright is detrimental to the hair shaft, we straight up do not recommend it. Nothing is worse than a trashed cuticle. Achieving a pastel color can take a few hours. Initial cost ranges from $200 to $400, and regular maintenance appointments range from three to six weeks and they cost $80 to $150.
Amanda: They can be one of the most labor-intensive colors to achieve and are not possible for everyone, depending on their previous hair color services. If someone's hair is already a light blond color when they come to us, it may be fairly easy to achieve.
Rachel: If this isn't for you, we have pastel tape-in extensions. We can add as little or as much as you want. There's no bleaching and no damage.
EVE EDELHEIT | Times
What are some common mistakes or pet peeves you see in other hair salons?
Rachel: Nobody cares enough about the client. They're also paying for comfort, and the whole experience. Lots of hairdressers are really self-involved.
Amanda: Like Rachel's saying, there's a lack of professionalism. And not enough raising the bar. We want you guys to feel like we're waiting for you. You're the guest of honor.
What are some common mistakes your clients make?
Amanda: Boxed color. Coloring your own hair is a mistake.
Rachel: Definitely. And many aren't patient enough. They want the look now, and their way.
Amanda: Yeah, be realistic and stick close to what your hair really is. Don't push your hair to platinum if it's black. Really, just trust us. We will try to do the best thing for you.
Rachel: We want you to be creative with your hair, but also find something that works for you. Bring in pictures from Pinterest to show us what you want, but also be realistic that it may not come out exactly like the picture.
Amanda: And most importantly, stop flat-ironing.
Is flat-ironing worse than curling irons and wands?
Amanda: Just think about it. It's two hot plates flattening your hair. At least when you curl your hair, it's loose. But, yeah, heat isn't that great for your hair in general. Just look at your hair. (Amanda reaches for my hair to show my ends.) See those white ends? That's from flat-ironing.
Do you recommend any heat tips/protection?
Rachel: Actually, the best heat protection you can do is to not use heat at all. But that's not always possible, right? That does mean paying much closer attention to how often you're heat styling. Blow drying is the smallest offender, curling is in the middle, and flat-ironing causes the most amount of damage, in our opinion. You should definitely shift into a hairstyle that air-dries better. (At the salon) we use a five-step moisture treatment that everyone is going nuts over.
Amanda: (The treatment) makes the hair feel like silk. The best part is that it comes with a month's worth of take-home treatments.
What products do you guys use at home?
Amanda: I can't live without the Davines Oi shampoo and conditioner and Oi All-in-One prep spray. They are my go-to products that I use every day.
Stranded on a desert island with paparazzi, what three beauty items do you need ...?
Amanda: Tinted moisturizer, lash extensions, Lipsense. In this shade I'm wearing now, Aussie Rose. And can I have a fourth? Argan oil. It's amazing. You can use it for anything.
Courtesy of Amanda Galmiche
Do you have any tips to take a good selfie?
Amanda: It's all about the lighting. Make sure you have natural lighting, and you're facing straight on. Not off to the side, and backlit. And always angle the camera up. Take a lot, too.
Rachel: Yeah, you have to have options. But make sure to erase the bad ones.
Amanda: Don't weigh down your phone with subpar selfies. Keep only the best.
You guys are pretty awesome on social media, mostly Instagram. Who do you follow?
Amanda: Dominick Serna (@DomDomhair), a hairstylist in Beverly Hills. And @ninezeroone salon in L.A. They are the trendsetters and speak to our brand. We're very West Coast inspired. Not hair-related, I love Khloe denim collection, Good American (@goodamerican). And of course Andy Cohen from Bravo
(@bravoandy). He's hilarious.
This Q&A has been edited for clarity. Know someone in the Tampa Bay beauty industry we should interview for this feature? We'd love to talk trends, tips and business. Email Brittany Volk at [email protected]
Mane Stay Hair Studio
2059 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (269) 599-5824; manestayhairstudio.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Cost: Haircuts $60 and up; highlights and ombres $150 and up; color correction $200 and up; extensions $200 and up. Consultations are free and encouraged when making a big change.