Today we’d like to introduce you to Doreen Morneault.
Doreen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My passion for hair started as child, my dolls all had beautiful hairdos and my mom would say, “honey their hair is beautiful but don’t you think you should put some clothes on them?” One day my mom asked me to put rollers in her hair! I was so excited I jumped at the chance. My mom disliked sitting at the hairdressers for 2 to 3 hours on a Saturday, such a waste of valuable time she’d say. I was 9 years old, with her placement guidance for sure I was the weekly hairstylist and once a month she went to the salon and had her hair colored.
After I graduated from Haverhill High School in 1973, I was accepted into Cosmetology School at Essex Agricultural Institute in Hawthorne, MA located near Danvers, MA.
After graduation from the Aggie I worked in a mall atmosphere, Howlands, Methuen Mall and then they became Jordan Marsh at the Methuen Mall, Methuen, MA. During this time, I had 2 children and returned to work 6 weeks after child birth. After my second child, I was asked to join Hair Designs, South Lawrence, MA where I worked with a team of stylists and barbers. From there my talents grew. I was selected by Hair Designs to cut and style the “Lady Di” hairstyle, named after Princess Diana, on one our clients for an article in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune.
I opened my first dream hair salon, Salon Savoir Faire, (translation: salon of know how) or (to know how to make) on Broadway, the very busy Rte. 97, in Haverhill, MA in September of 1986 with 1 receptionist, and myself, a hairstylist of 12 years.
With only 3 styling chairs, I grew to 4 stylists in a period of 2 years. Even my first receptionist went to school to be a hairstylist. I then purchased an old house built in 1888 across the street from my existing salon. My husband I had a vision for this 2000 square foot home to be the new Salon Savoir Faire. I grew my salon to 8 stylists, 5 styling stations, and retail/ waiting area on the first floor. On the second floor, we had a 2 person manicurist and gift shop. Then as the manicurist business retired, I then rented to a privately owned, very successful Therapeutic Sports Massage business. I have now celebrated my 31st year as a salon owner, and 40 years as a stylist/owner/Certified Master Colorist.
I taught my staff to give back to the community once a year by joining me in an annual 4 hour event in November in which we would perform wet cuts only for a donation to help brighten a child’s Christmas. I hired clowns and they made balloon animals and I had some young girls do face painting on the kids while they waited their turn for a haircut.
We performed at least 75 cuts a year for this event for 25 years successfully reaching $1500 to $2000 each time for a donation to Ozzie’s Kids in Haverhill, MA. Osmond “Ozzie” Hardy started Ozzie’s Kids 27 years ago while serving as the juvenile officer for the Haverhill Police Department. As he went to the schools in an effort to form better bonds with them, he said he noticed that some didn’t have jackets. No better organization to help than this. You can read more about Ozzie’s Kids on the web.
In March of 2015, a young married mother of 2 children, owner of Salon Nikol and Spa approached me to lease my building in its entirety to build her dream salon.
When they opened their doors in June 2015, all my employees were able to maintain their positions in the new establishment. And after 29 years as a salon owner, I am now an Independent Master Colorist/Stylist, with a booth at the new Salon within my building.
Now I get to work with a great group on stylists, massage therapists, estheticians, and a laser technician. Even after 40 years in the business, one can never stop learning our craft.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would have to say that my biggest challenges along the way were to continually try to create inspiration and drive in my stylists. In salon and off-site education for the stylists was rewarding in itself but I would have to set up the classes to accommodate each stylist’s schedule. It was not always easy but I managed to pull it together.
Another challenge was pushing them to learn more, educating them in the art of coloring.
Customer service was a constant in the salon, “speak to the clients the way you would like to be spoken to” was my mantra. “Every client should be greeted 3 times by 3 different people when entering the salon”, was another phrase of mine. This makes the client aware that she or he is seen entering our salon and doesn’t go un-noticed. As in any business there are always challenges with hiring, education, and scheduling but in the end, we all grow from our experiences.
There were always plenty of laughs along the way to bring the spirits up!
Please tell us about Salon Savoir Faire.
We are currently a 6 stylist salon, 2 manicurists, 2 massage therapists, 2 receptionists and an Elite Laser Center.
We have a staff of multi bilingual stylists, including Greek, Armenian, Spanish and English.
We are known for our color correction and finish work such as foils and specialized coloring.
We have a team that caters to wedding parties, on and off site.
We have many customers who have come to the salon for over 30+ years.
Because we merged 2 salons together, Salon Savoir Faire and Salon Nikol and Spa, we are now able to be more diverse and can offer all types of services to clients, young and old.
I adopted a ‘Shoe’ representing the Haverhill Shoe Industry and this was painted by a local area artist. “If the Shoe Fits, Fly It” is what Susan Blim, the artist, named it.
It has now become the most visual attraction in front my building that draws attention near and far. Great for business! My purchase of the shoe benefited greater education for the less fortunate local children.
ABCH, American Board Certified Hair colorist, is what sets me apart from the others.
I have worked with 8 different color companies throughout my journey, I am a nationally recognized American Board Certified Colorist, where the training is based in California.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory is Lake Ossipee, a small camp that my father purchased so he could take his family on vacation. My father worked 3 jobs so that he could purchase a vacation camp. This small camp is still our favorite place to go. Here I learned how to water ski and that is my favorite memory. We could swim, water ski, snow ski, and hike the White Mountains. For this camp, he had to rent it out for 10 years so that he could have it paid off and we would be payment free for our vacations. Very rustic and on the water, we love traveling to this camp whenever we can.
This camp is still in our family today and will remain there forever, passed down to our children and theirs.
- Website: salonsavoirfaire.com
- Phone: 978-374-4311 Doreen: 978-618-7752
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.
September 19, 2017 at 12:49 am
So proud to say Doreen is my neighbor and friend! Great story of a great girl!!!! And now I know the rest of the story!!!!
September 21, 2017 at 10:31 pm
Thank you so much for your kind words Debbie! Wonderful to have you as a friend!
September 20, 2017 at 2:26 pm
When total strangers stop to ask “who does your hair?” – you know you’ve got a winner! Doreen is a real gem, as a stylist, business associate, and friend. Great article, and not a surprising story given the skill and passion she shows for her craft.
September 28, 2017 at 1:25 am
Chris! Thank you so much for your inspiring words, it’s great to have you as my client, friend and business associate to help me along my journey!