Deneen Upton’s vegetarian lifestyle and Andi Clark’s stylist background have found a home together at Terra Salon & Day Spa in St. John. The business partners launched the venture in August 2012 to provide hair, nail, skin care, massage, waxing and make-up services on an organic and cruelty-free platform.
“I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and Andi and I have both done animal rescue in the past,” Upton said. “We are a full-service organic and cruelty-free salon and day spa. We specialize in fragile hair, cancer recovery and alopecia. “We feel that testing is absolutely unnecessary plus the harsh chemicals on our clients’ hair definitely have an impact. So we wanted to use products that were better for them and for our stylists because there are long-term effects with the chemical exposure. It’s a lot safer product, it’s better for you and the results are extraordinary.”
The co-owners connected on a client-stylist level at first. “My background is in business and marketing and Andi’s been a stylist for over 20 years – I was actually one of Andi’s clients,” Upton said. “We decided it was time to do something new and different in the area and go into business together. “It’s kind of a peanut-and-jelly partnership. We play off of each other very well and complement each other with our skills.”
The team has worked with NW-ISBDC business advisor Bill Gregory, receiving guidance on securing funding for the business. “We couldn’t have done it without the SBDC. When we first went in and met with Bill he wasn’t aware of what our niche – being a cruelty-free and organic salon – was all about. So there was an educational process along with it,” Upton said. “He absolutely had us prepared to go and meet with the banks to get funding. He was 100 percent behind us. He was basically our angel – our SBDC angel.” Upton said persistence is an important component of the entrepreneurial process.
“If you believe in what you do, you will be successful. Don’t take no for an answer. Never stop marketing and never give up.”
For more information, visit the Terra Salon & Day Spa website.