By Sue Moore
Hairitage Salon owner, Kemi Laing, has a long history as a stylist in Vicksburg, starting thirty years ago at the Beauty Fountain with Gay Lyn Willis and Kay Jensen. It then became Classic Hair with Laing as a part owner and now she owns Hairitage Salon, which opened a year ago near Stubby’s on Davis St. The name is a play on the word heritage, which is important for Laing as her family ties in Vicksburg date back over 100 years.
“Early décor was all ‘girly’ with pink wallpaper and women would become nervous, exclaiming ‘oh gosh, there’s a man in the house’ and the man would feel just as awkward,” Laing remembered with a bit of a giggle. “My grandpa Smink was an early converter, in that he wanted me to cut his hair. He felt comfortable as did more and more men, when we changed the colors to neutral and became a hair salon. Now our male clients are near 40 percent and growing,” Laing surmises. “We offer them a piece of chocolate, coffee and cookies, even stock guys’ magazines for them to read if they are waiting for their wives.”
The new salon uses warm colors, enough bright light to do hair, where the stylists are happy, love to laugh and don’t gossip. “It is a safe place where people can talk about themselves, their faith, and receive true compassion in the chair. We all love God but it’s not a churchie salon, as we get to know our customers and become genuine friends,” Laing says.
“Today for young women, the trend is a much more casual. They want a simple haircut where we wash it and go, pretty much. They wear their hair straight and only want it done up for prom and weddings,” Laing says.
Their three-chair salon business operates as a ‘booth-rental’ where Sarah Fiengo, Tammy Bailey and Lynn Gage are all self-employed. They offer nail, skin care and massage, buy their own supplies and sell their own retail products. They can work as much as they want to, with each one a good fit for her business, Laing claims.