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Where School is in Style

Making the cut at Vogue Beauty College

Published online: Nov 21, 2017 Articles, East Idaho Business, Social, Videos
Viewed 1492 time(s)

It had been several years since business owner Vicki Ellis fired up her vintage “Vogue Beauty College & Salon” signage at 247 Cliff Street. When she finally decided to turn it on again earlier this fall, the neon light came to life without a hitch.

That pleasant surprise has served as a reminder that some things are destined to last.

Vicki, herself a former student at the Vogue, bought the college in 1973 when she was just 28 years old. In the following decades, she and her team transformed it into an award-winning beauty school.

State government rules now restrict schools and working salons from occupying the same building, but in a unique twist for the Vogue, the business was grandfathered in to serve its dual role for students and patrons. (The salon features a full suite of professional services including top-caliber haircuts, coloring, styling, permanent make-up, eyelash extensions and more.)

Now on the brink of retirement, Vicki says the intensity of running a school and a full-service salon has been taxing at times, but always fulfilling.

“I've never had a day that I've not liked my job,” Vicki said. “You know the old saying, that if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life? For me, it's so true, and I think my daughter feels the same way.”

The common ground is good news, considering that Vicki's daughter – Hallie Kane – is now poised to take the management reins of the Vogue while Vicki stays on to serve her existing clientele.

“It's time,” Vicki said. “I haven't had one moment of anxiety, and I haven't wanted to tell Hallie anything she needs to do. I think she's extremely competent, and everything she's done, I've liked.”

Hallie earned her stripes at the Vogue straight out of high school, and has been an integral part of the business ever since. Hallie's own daughter is now a student, making it a third-generation enterprise.

“You may come in as a client, but once here, you're just like family,” Hallie said. “We've got customers who have been coming here for 40 years.”

The key to that kind of long-term customer retention is surprisingly simple for the Vogue and its dual role as a school and a salon.

“Our goal is to keep it fun, comfortable and affordable for patrons as well as students,” Hallie said. “We want to have graduating students' debts paid off, and have them ready to roll into their profession right out of school. We also have an extensive business class that we teach, as well as scholarships and a high school program. We have some students who are licensed just two months after graduation.”

Salon pricing is extremely affordable, and the resulting large customer base allows for students to get practical experience working with the public, rather than just on doll heads.

“We have clients that tell us they are actually more comfortable sitting in those chairs because they have instructors right there observing, and the students are asking questions to make sure the service is just perfect,” Hallie said.

“It's just an incredibly fun, rewarding way to make a living,” she added. “We've been here a while, and we're here to stay. We're getting bigger and better all the time.”

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