You may have seen Lynn Wilkinson’s lighted sign at 3099 Williston Road in South Burlington after dark. The sign advertises her salon, The Mane House & Boutique, which she opened in December, 2012.
A graduate of Obrien’s School of Cosmetology, she has been cutting, coloring, perming and styling hair since 1990. The Mane House is the second time she has started her own salon, and the first time she has done it solo.
“I got into this because all of the hairdressers I knew growing up were so beautiful,” Lynn said.
She quickly transferred from stylist to manager in her first job at Hair Cuts for Less and then partnered with another stylist while her children were young. Together they opened their own salon.
“I was missing out on my kids’ childhoods,” Lynn said. Having a partner allowed her the flexibility of being a mom and a business owner.
Last summer, with her children mostly grown up, Lynn decided to go out entirely on her own. She sought a location in South Burlington and found her current location on Williston Road.
Her friend and client, Markey Read of Career Networks, described Lynn’s reasons for going it alone:
“Lynn’s old shop was too big and she was burned out from holding up the overhead and trying to keep other stylists on staff. The Mane House is completely different. All of her energy and style get expressed there. The whole place is always evolving – she gets new unique items—furniture, jewelry, artwork, and other decorative items—into the shop every week.”
Lynn is renting chairs in her current location and already has one rented to Danielle Michael, a stylist who has always wanted to do hair. “I have a passion of doing things for people,” Danielle said.
When she walked into Mane House for the first time, Danielle developed an immediate good feeling bout Lynn. “We’re meant to be,” she said, referring to her working relationship with Lynn.
Lynn is an intuitive stylist. “I use face shape a bit, but I also look into my clients’ eyes to see their personality—who they are,” she said. She asks people about their hair habits—how much time do they spend styling it and how much product they use?
“My haircuts come to me in my dreams,” Lynn said. “I have had to reschedule appointments because I hadn’t yet had a dream about that person’s hair style.” That may sound odd, but Lynn’s clients love her creative expression. And Lynn loves it “When my customers tell me to do what I think will look good.”
Identifying the former home where Mane House now resides was easy. Mane House shares sign space with Vermont Auto Detail Center. An acrylic sign panel was removed and a new one inserted. On it is text, a line drawing of a man, a woman, and sexy hair. The sign is internally lit, so passers-by can read it at night and on cloudy days.
“I love the sign,” Lynn said. “And I love what I do. Who doesn’t want sexy hair?”