All of the hairstylists at Artistry Hair Studio and Spa, including owner Gail McDougall, are now at new locations.

"It was my decision (to close) and it was time and really, kind of it was an answer too," McDougall said about closing her salon. "Like 'Gail, you've been leading too long.'"

McDougall opened the salon 10 years ago after being laid off after 31 years from the corporate offices of Regis hair salon.

After taking a year away from the industry, she returned to her life-long career.

"Hair's my love," she said, explaining why she came back and opened Artistry. "It's not that I wanted to own a salon, it's just that after being with corporate all those years, and then all of a sudden not ... I thought 'I don't know if I want to work for anyone.'"

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At the end of 2019, the financial cost of running her own business, as well as the extra responsibilities, led McDougall to change her career path again as she decided to close the salon.

She couldn't retire yet though, as she "loves doing hair and I love people so I can't just sit at home," she said. She has been doing hair for over 42 years, starting in just second grade.

"I used to play beauty shop in second grade in our bathroom. I'd take (my mom's) rollers or her little dryer, all the stuff she had and then the scissors ... And then I'd say 'OK' to my younger sister, 'go get the neighbor girls, I'm open,'" McDougall said. "And then the next day my mom would get a call and I knew it ... that I was in trouble."

McDougall decided to join Styles on Willow as a hairstylist, and is really enjoying her new position and new salon, she said.

"I really think I picked the right place," McDougall said. "I went with my gut."

All new paths

The other stylists at Artistry have also moved onto new opportunities.

Deanna Walen retired. Reanna Gerving moved to Hair Style Studio in Frazee.

Lindsey Cooksey opened her own salon, Liv N Dye. Natalie Pirtle joined her there, carrying over her Bombshell Studio.

"My goal is to have the biggest and best salon in this town," said Lindsey Cooksey, owner of Liv N Dye, the new salon in Washington Square Mall. "I want it to be that very fun environment, I want everyone to feel welcome." (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)
"My goal is to have the biggest and best salon in this town," said Lindsey Cooksey, owner of Liv N Dye, the new salon in Washington Square Mall. "I want it to be that very fun environment, I want everyone to feel welcome." (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)

"(McDougall) knew I was kind of looking for my own," Cooksey said, explaining that her opening Liv N Dye just as Artistry Hair Studio and Spa closed was coincidental timing. "I had already told her in the summer."

Cooksey had been wanting to own her own salon since she was 5 years old, but there were always setbacks when she tried. But after working with McDougall for six years, Cooksey received an offer to start up at Washington Square Mall.

"I'm spiritual and I go with my intuition," Cooksey said. "Everything felt right, even though it was scary."

In September, just one week after giving birth to her baby boy, she signed the paper on her new space.

"It took 60 days for them to do the plumbing and I had 30 days to open this place up," Cooksey said.

Since she was still working full-time at Artistry, Cooksey and her husband spent just about all their spare weekend time working on the salon. On Thursday, Jan. 2, she opened Liv N Dye's doors to the public for the first time, with Pirtle at her side.

"We were renting at the same place and then she asked if I would come with her," Pirtle said, explaining how they ended up working together again.

Although Pirtle operates out of Liv N Dye, she has her separate salon entity, called Bombshell Studio.

"I've always loved doing hair and I love the creative aspect of it," she said, adding that extensions are her specialty.

Liv N Dye will have a grand opening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 28, with prizes and food catered by La Barista.

Contact information

  • Gail McDougall, now at Styles on Willow, 106 Willow St.: Call 218-849-2485, or Styles on Willow at 218-847-2299.
  • Lindsey Cooksey, now at Liv N Dye Salon in Washington Square Mall: Call 701-541-4155 or search "Liv N Dye Hair" on Facebook. Cooksey is not taking new clients, but if she has a cancellation anyone can take it.
  • Natalie Pirtle, now inside Liv N Dye Salon: Call 701-429-0739 or online at www.facebook.com/bombshellstudiomn.
  • Reanna Gerving, now at Hair Style Studio, 109 N. Lake St. in Frazee: Call 218-334-2665.