By shear fate... Local women create business together
The dreams of three women have come to fruition and combined to create a new business in Detroit Lakes called Shear Grace Salon & Boutique.
Shawna Willson had always wanted to go to school for hair design, but a family tragedy when she was only a senior in high school stopped her from doing so.
Instead, she went down another road that led her to Detroit Lakes.
For the next 12 years she worked other jobs, such as doing billing for a Detroit Lakes dentist.
It might have been fine, except she still had that dream.
"I just kept working until I was able to go back to school," said Willson, who, by that time, was married with two children.
"But I just did it," said Willson, "I went back to school."
Willson went to work for one hair salon in Detroit Lakes, then another, then another. For six years she cut and colored her way into a strong career in hair design.
But when the shop she was working in most recently shut down, she knew it was the perfect time to take her dream to the next level -- her own salon.
Willson rented a space in the Laney's building, located on Highway 59 south, but it was a bit big.
"I thought about opening up a boutique in there, too," said Willson, who says a client of hers changed her mind.
Barb Beug was born with the desire to decorate woven into the fiber of her being.
"I've sewn since I was seven, and I've just always loved to decorate," said Beug, who grew up to become part owner of the Red Willow in Detroit Lakes, as well as a fabric shop.
But personal circumstances took her down a different road as well -- and then she went to go get her hair done ... her hairdresser was Shawna Willson.
Kara Andring remembers as a little girl always asking people if she could braid their hair.
"Or I'd say, 'Can I put your hair in a pony tail?'... I've just always wanted to do hair."
When she graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 2006, she went straight to school for hair design, getting work in her hometown after graduation.
She worked for a couple of local salons, including Studio 59, along with her co-worker -- Shawna Willson. And then it closed.
Willson, Beug and Andring were all at a crossroads at the same time.
But a simple hair appointment and some casual conversation led to more than just a new hairdo for Beug.
"She mentioned that she would love to start up a boutique in town," said Willson, "and she said she had this extra space in this place she was leasing," said Beug.
With Andring looking for a new place to take her talents, the three women decided to build their dreams together.
They painted and remodeled the large space so that it would fit Willson's new salon (part of which Andring leases for her own hairstyling space) and Beug's boutique, which she named "Bitter Sweet Boutique."
"It's just a really fun adventure ... seeing where it goes and where it grows," said Beug, adding that the ladies just opened their businesses three weeks ago.
"I have some vintage finds, some jewelry; I will have hand crafted creations -- there will be something for ourselves, for gifts, or our homes."
Beug says something she's very excited about is her plan to quickly change up inventory, as Bitter Sweet Boutiques holds a lot of one-of-a-kind items.
Meanwhile, Andring and Willson are making Detroit Lakes a little more beautiful ... one head of hair at a time.
"I just love to make people feel better about themselves, whether it's by doing their hair or just by visiting with them," said Willson. "The friendships you can build with your clients can be so rewarding."
"I do love it," said Andring, looking around at the warm, chocolate brown color on the walls and chic décor of the space.
"This has just always been a dream of mine to own a salon, and it's just so nice to see it come true after all these years," said Willson.
The ladies all agree that they seem to be a great addition to each other's businesses, and say there seems to be endless conversation and laughs between them, their customers and clients.
"You know," said Beug, "this is something I've dreamt about, but sometimes you have to go down a different journey before getting there, but now I think we're there."
Shear Grace Salon & Boutique is located at 1034 Highway 59 South, unit 1 and is open Monday through Saturday.