Son’s disorder inspires holistic salon business SanTan Sun News

Son’s disorder inspires holistic salon business

Son’s disorder inspires holistic salon business
Business
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By COLLEEN SPARKS

Contributor

A longtime hairstylist says her son’s genetic disorder prompted her to learn more about healthy beauty products and open her own salon.

Stephanie Schmidt and husband Kevin opened Verde Salon, a non-toxic business that uses holistic hair, skin, nails and body products, at 1900 W. Germann Road in 2011 and another location at 950 E. Riggs Road in 2017.

Their son, Christian, 19, has hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, a disorder that “means he has minimal sweat glands,” Stephanie said.

“He’s really the impetus for Verde,” she said. “I wanted to move our world into a more organic lifestyle. The largest organ of his body isn’t expelling any toxins. I knew I was going to be more careful with him. We’ve really tried to live in a non-toxic environment.”

A hairstylist since 1991, Stephanie said her son is okay when the weather is cool but when it is hot outside, she and her family members take precautions to keep him cool.

“In the summer he lives in the cool,” she said. “We autostart our cars. We can’t park long distances out and walk. We have to emulate sweating. We’ve got cooling vests. He gets hot. He gets fatigued very quickly. We don’t just walk outside and do things casually. We have to prep and think in advance. We always have water on board.”

While Christian could not play any outdoor sports due to his disorder, he did not have to miss much school.

He graduated from Tri-City Christian Academy and is starting classes at Grand Canyon University in the fall. The family had an “amazing pediatrician” to help them while they were living in Texas when Christian started showing symptoms of the disorder when he was about 2, Stephanie said.

In 2006, inspired by creating a healthy environment for her son, family and clients, Stephanie ordered an organic line of hair color called Organic Colour Systems to use on her customers.

She was working by herself, renting space in a Gilbert salon. The response from her clients was good and doctors, who heard about the organic color treatments, also liked it.

The doctors started referring cancer patients and anyone dealing with hair loss, thyroid issues and gluten allergies to her.

“Our homeopathic doctor began sending his patients to me,” Stephanie said. “Pretty soon I just got really busy with cancer patients and people suffering from hair loss. I decided I needed to do something on a larger scale.”

She was working with hair stylist Marianne Altieri at the time and Altieri had her own issues. When she was using other hair products on clients, Altieri would break out in hives on her head.

Since using the healthier products, Altieri has been doing well and not having reactions to beauty treatments, Stephanie said.

Altieri now works for Stephanie at the Germann location of Verde Salon, as do hair stylists Brittany Piracci and Jenna Reichwein, who have been at Verde since it opened there in 2011.

When she opened her salon, not many hairstylists were willing to use organic products, Stephanie said.

“It was unusual that these stylists would be willing to jump on board when holistic, green, organic was not so common,” she said. “They were really in there with me, helping to build this and get the word out.”

Verde Salon carries Oway, an organic, ammonia-free hair color and skincare line, as well as Eminence Organic Skincare.

Stephanie is a certified educator for Oway, which means she trains stylists in using its products. She even flew to Oway’s farm in Italy about five years ago.

“The greatest comment that I get, (is) people sitting under a dryer and tell me, ‘my eyes aren’t burning and it doesn’t itch,’” Stephanie said. “Clients come to us with things they’re looking for. They know our products are beautiful.”

Stephanie’s son uses Eminence skincare products. When he was a boy, he suffered from eczema but he has not had that skin issue since using the healthier skincare line, she said.

Eminence is used for facials at Verde Salon and an esthetician assesses every client’s unique skincare needs.

“It’s pretty old school,” Stephanie said. “Eminence is fun because they have about 400 different products. We carry all their products. It is just amazing.”

Verde also uses the non-toxic, gluten-free Innersense Organic Beauty hair products geared toward treating curly hair.

“I did not have any help when I was a 14-year-old kid with this crazy, curly hair,” Stephanie said. “Everyone wanted to blow it out straight. I’m passionate about helping, especially young girls, to love their hair.”

Scalp treatments at Verde Salon are also a great way to help clients with various issues, including hair loss and dry, flaky scalps, she said. Her employees evaluate people’s scalps and custom-blend herbs to provide the best scalp treatments.

A smoothing, purifying or rebalancing scalp treatment costs $50.

“If you’re dealing with a flaky scalp, maybe you need base with rice to exfoliate your scalp,” Stephanie said.

A hair loss treatment at Verde Salon costs $50 and it is recommended clients get 12 treatments to “really see a difference” in hair growing back, she said.

Verde Salon uses the non-toxic, Jane Iredale makeup line. It is free of parabens, talc and GMO ingredients and its products are dermatologist and allergy-tested, according to its website.

Paige Clark, 25, of Gilbert has been going to Verde Salon at both locations for about two years and she appreciates the natural, healthy products Stephanie and her team use.

She gets haircuts on a regular basis, occasionally has her hair colored and she has received facials and manicures at the salon.

“I like that everyone there is just amazing,” Clark said. “I’ve only seen Stephanie (for services); she’s an amazing person. I just love how they really care about what they’re using on their clients and the product that they’re using. If you go to other salons they’re usually using whatever products (are) the latest and greatest and trendiest.”

She said prior to going to Verde Salon, she used a product for her curly hair that caused sores and scabs to form on her scalp. Now she feels better and has not had any negative reactions on her head since using the products at Verde Salon.

“When you have curly hair, you have to be more particular about what products you use on your hair,” Clark said. “Certain products react negatively with your type of texture.”

She also suffers from rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels in the face. The Eminence skincare products Verde Salon uses are helping her skin, reducing the redness and calming it.

“I like being there and I like their environment,” Clark said. “Everyone’s so great. I’ve converted so many people. My former co-workers go there. My husband’s aunt and his cousin all go there now.”

Stephanie is thrilled to be running her salons.

“I love the business,” she said. “I can’t imagine being at a desk all day. We play Christian radio…we laugh a lot. I love the women I work with and I love what I do. We just kept doing what we do. Now we have this incredible, loyal following. You have beautiful results.”

She said while her son, Christian, does not talk much about it, she knows he is proud of her for opening successful salons.

Stephanie and her husband’s daughter, Rebecca Schmidt, 21, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Grand Canyon University next year and she will become a full-time bookkeeper for both Verde Salon locations.

“It’s really a family affair,” Stephanie said. “Ultimately it comes down to the golden rule. Christian….he was my blessing. God is using him to help others and he sees that. That has been maturing for him as well.”

Information: verdesalonaz.com

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