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Making the cut: New PHD Styling Studio ready for customers

By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post

With a combined 56 years of experience, you could say that Crystal Vanhoy and Tasha Hall have a Ph. D. in hairstyling.

The duo recently opened PHD Styling Studio, a full-service salon, at 230 Ann St. “PHD” in this case stands for Professional Hair Designers. Crystal, 55, and Tasha, 43, worked together for 13 years at Touch of Class — where Crystal worked 25 years — and decided this spring they were ready to open their own place.

Longtime owner Davey Overcash had decided to sell the business, and assured the women that nothing would change.

“We had said for years that we didn’t care anything about owning our own business,” Tasha says. “But we didn’t want to buy that business, and we didn’t want to work for someone else.”

So they started looking for a new professional home.

“This place was the first and only place we looked at,” Tasha says.

Together, they made the renovations that would turn the 920-square-foot home into a business.

Tasha served as general contractor.

“I don’t want to do that anymore,” she says.

Terry Wilber installed hardwood floors throughout. Oliver and Co. installed custom oak cabinetry. The drawers are neatly divided, containing all the women’s supplies. They chose quartz countertops containing recycled glass from Lowe’s.

They removed the kitchen, and added a wall to create a waiting room. Tasha found a fireplace from the Ice House, and it now graces the main styling area. Older customers are thrilled with the entrance ramp from the parking lot.

Crystal and Tasha laugh when asked about the color scheme of cream and soft blues. The waxing room is painted with a faux finish in a relaxing shade of blue.

“Tasha really liked the Tuscan look,” Crystal explains. “So we applied the stucco part to the walls. When we put the texture on, we liked that, so we left it that way, and started mixing paint.”

“We mix color all the time,” Tasha adds.

The result is a combination of taupe and white paint and glaze, which has a pearl-like sheen, ideal for hiding hairspray.

“It is our blend,” Crystal says. “You cannot purchase it.”

Tasha’s nail room is painted an inviting shade of blue. The waiting room is a gray-green, called Oyster Bay.

“I wanted it to be comfortable, relaxing and peaceful, with a little sparkle,” Crystal says of the studio.

They two think they’ve accomplished just that.

They started work there Dec. 29, and plan an open house this spring.

Along with a new location, Crystal and Tasha have placed an emphasis on organic and natural products.

“People think that organic color may or may not last, or that it’s more expensive,” Crystal says. “That is not the case.”

Some hair color can irritate clients’ scalps, Tasha says. “Organic color makes your hair feel good.”

Crystal has sensitivity to regular hair color.

“With organic hair color, the smell is pleasant, and it mixes real smoothly,” she says.

Organic color removes three major toxins — PPD, ammonia and Resorcinol — and replaces them with safe ingredients and essential oils.

PHD will also offer natural and organic shampoos and conditioners and even nail polish.

“People are looking for organic products and asking for organic products,” Tasha says.

“It’s become a chemical world,” Crystal adds, “and people are on chemical overload.”

The two also plan to clean the salon with all natural products.

Crystal and Tasha are offering some new perks for their customers, including free Wi-Fi access, a TV in the waiting room, and Keurig coffees and teas for $2 per cup.

Also available is brand-new Osaki zero-gravity massage chair for $1 minute. Tasha jokes that the massage chair has its own appointment book. (It really does.)

So far, Crystal and Tasha love their new location.

“We’re only here because of our customers,” Tasha says. “We’re here 12 or 13 hours a day. This is our home away from home.”

“We’re so thankful to Davey for giving us a nice, pleasant place to work for a long time,” Crystal adds.

Still, Crystal says, “change is good. Without change, there would be no butterflies.”

Around her neck is a butterfly necklace, which reminds her of her mom, who died Dec. 11, 2014. Whenever she sees a butterfly, she thinks of her mom. Meanwhile, Crystal searches for “pennies from heaven” from her mom, who died in 1997. She thinks her mom had a small part in the new business.

“After we made the offer, we found out the homeowner’s name was Betty Sue, and my mom was Betty Lou,” she says. “We have had major support from our friends and family. If you start making a list, it’s overwhelming. We are overwhelmed.”

Crystal and her husband, Rick, have two adult daughters, Courtney Garrett and Hillary Absher, and one granddaughter. Tasha and her husband, Neal, have a son Devon, and are also close to their nephew, Daniel.

Crystal and Tasha already have plans to expand the business. They want to add a break area, another bathroom, and a room for spray tanning.

Fore more information about PHD, call 704-870-8199.

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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