In a world turned upside down, people searching for ways to control the unexpected have turned to self-care as a necessity in shaping individual narratives.
Along with the self-tanning, teeth whitening and makeup application tutorials that are accessed through various social media platforms these days, hair care stands out as a prominent as scissored bangs.
At the Glamour Lounge in West Melbourne, Glam Squad leaders Julianna Stafford and Taffy Schneider are helping bring back a sense of normalcy to those seeking expression and beauty through hair care, coloring, highlights, low lights and more. “We believe that members of the Melbourne community deserve a safe place to express themselves and experiment with self-expression.” Before Glamour Lounge, Julianna practiced cosmetology in Missouri and also cared for the hair good friend Taffy Schneider and her mother, Carol Schneider.
Stafford moved to Florida in 2015, remaining close friends with the mother/ daughter duo. When Taffy decided to move to Florida to study cosmetology a while later, she found a mentor in Julianna.
The three came back full circle when Carol Schneider, owner of Glamour Lounge, knew a salon would be the perfect creative outlet for the two besties. In 2019, the three ladies opened Glamour Lounge, adding other longtime friends as well as Stafford’s children – both pursuing beauty careers – to the staff.
They call themselves the “Glam Squad,” and they work and live by their “Squad Goals” of kindness, diversity, teamwork, open-mindedness, fun, passion, creativity and respect.
Creativity and fun spark when they create custom-tailored cuts, colors, makeup looks and extensions; kindness and passion show in their care for their clients’ hair and teamwork forms the family environment of Glamour Lounge. As for diversity, open-mindedness and respect, Glamour Lounge is actively anti-racist and recently partnered with The Dresscode Project, a program that educates salons on serving LGBTQ2S+ clientele.
Since joining with Dresscode in July, the Glam Squad has gained a better understanding of diversity and inclusivity practices. Now, they are expanding their staff and working to develop an environment inclusive towards people of all genders, races and identities. “We want everyone to feel glamorous and confident,” Julianna said, “And that means creating a gender-inclusive space where every client feels comfortable to be and express their self.”
From most of March through May, the Lounge closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the glamour never stopped. Glamour Lounge offered online product ordering and curbside pickup. Determined to help each client meet their style goals from a distance, Glamour Lounge also launched curbside color kits tailored to each client’s specific needs. Social media posts continued the glam theme with topics such as a “Social Distancing Hair Care Survival Guide” for all hair types.
In May, the salon reopened for appointments, taking extensive measures to ensure safety for both expression and health. A full list of these measures is available on their website and social media. Meanwhile, curbside pickup remains an option for clients who want to maintain more distance.
Glamour Lounge extends the safety sentiment out to the planet, as well, hoping to help undo some of the damage done in the name of industry.
“For years, this industry has [not been kind] to the environment,” Taffy admitted. “We’re looking to change the way our practice treats our planet. We believe that what you put in your hair matters – for your body and for your environment.”
They start with responsible merchandise, including Kevin Murphy products that are ethically sourced, vegan-friendly and packaged in biodegradable wrap. “Absolutely no testing on animals,” she added. Also, as a Green Circle-certified salon, most of their waste is forwarded to a Green Circle facility where 95% of it is recycled.
Glamour Lounge knows hair is more than just a fashion statement. It’s an expression of the individual, so it’s essential that every person feels safe in their hair salon.
“We get to know every client so we can provide the best cut to reach their style goals,” Julianna said. “They’ve trusted us with their self-expression, and we take that very seriously.”