Native returns to fulfill dream

Published 8:17 pm Monday, February 2, 2015

NEWS_BARDOT HAIR SALON_150203_WEBA Washington native’s dream has come full circle after returning home to open her own hair salon.

Katie Paul, a Washington High School graduate, opened Bardot hair salon in downtown Washington this past fall. As a young girl, Paul would visit her father’s law offices, adjacent to Millie’s Beauty Shop, where she would hang out with the women in the shop and help out by sweeping up hair, she said.

“I just thought it was the best place on earth,” Paul said. “All these ladies made up, talking and they would let me hang out and sweep up hair. I thought it was like the best place ever, and I always wanted to be a hair dresser.”

After graduating from WHS and attending East Carolina University for a period of time, Mitchell’s Hair Styling Academy and Alexander Paul in Greenville and then working in several salons — some local, one in Augusta, Ga. and one in Asheville — she returned home and talked with her parents about opening up a shop in her hometown, Paul said.

Paul said throughout her journey away from home, she gained a lot of valuable experience, trained with other artists and stylists and took classes to hone skills she learned on the job.

“I worked in all sorts of places and learned how to do anything and everything,” Paul said. “I had learned a ton from people I worked with, and I took classes to learn as much as I could.”

With the opening up of a space in the downtown business community, Paul took advantage of the opening and set up shop, she said. Despite the abundance of hair salons in Washington, she was determined to fulfill her dream, providing a personalized experience. Paul prides herself on customer service, which is one of the most important things in the industry, she said.

“I just make it about the client that’s in here and me,” Paul said. “I provide a full experience from the time they come in until they leave. I always want to deliver a good product. I think it’s in the way you do the job.”

Paul said she offers a full-service salon, taking women, men and children as clients. She is capable of doing hair coloring, hair cuts, facial waxing, highlighting, blowouts and more, with one of her favorite things to do being balayage, a French, free-form, hair-coloring technique. She also does hair styling for weddings and proms with the exception of perms, Paul said. Recently, Paul hosted a workshop at her salon, a testament to her belief in staying current on the newest, popular trends. She invited other stylists from the area to attend the workshop, which featured an educator from Wella International, the oldest hair coloring company in the world. The company sends educators all over the nation to do conduct classes on hair coloring and trend vision, Paul said. The educator highlighted new trends in the color world and hair industry and showcased a range of pastel colors, which are currently popular in hair coloring.

“I try to be really inclusive,” Paul said. “Washington is a small community, and I don’t ever want to exclude myself from any other salons or opportunities. We can learn a lot from each other. It’s your obligation to share it with people. I don’t ever feel like I’ve learned enough that I don’t need to listen to someone else. I think it’s important to maintain good relationships with other people in your field.”

Paul said she is ecstatic to be a part of the downtown community and return to the place where her dream started.

“I think it’s just a way of things coming full circle for me,” Paul said. “There’s this phrase that says, ‘If you get far enough away, you’re on your way back home.’ I wanted to expand my horizons and see what else is out there, and I want to continue to do that and learn more things and see more people. It feels like, ‘Now you’re back and your life is really beginning.’”

Bardot is located at 143 W. Main St. in downtown Washington.