PEPPERELL -- When Erin Sullivan and Liz Gendreau opened up their own business, The Edge Hair and Nail Salon, in October, the two knew they wanted to use the opportunity to do something for the community.
Now, a mere three months after opening their doors, the women are seeing their plans become a reality. The salon is holding their first bridal makeover competition. The winner will receive $500 in free services, including the initial consultation, wedding day hair-styling, trial-run hair-styling before the wedding day, makeup application, a manicure, hair color and highlights, a haircut and facial waxing.
"Whatever they need done beforehand," said Gendreau.
Contestants can nominate themselves or their friends. In order to enter, contestants can "like" The Edge's Facebook page and fill out an entry form available on the contest entry form tab. Entries must include a photo and a brief description of the need for a makeover. All entries need to be submitted by Feb. 7. Gendreau said the team is not looking for any particular criteria.
"I don't know if we'll know until we hear what people have to say," she said.
The salon owners will narrow down the contestants to three. Then, the community will then have the opportunity to vote online for the winner. The winner will be announced Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine Day.
The idea for a wedding makeover came to the women when Gendreau's brother had recently gotten engaged, but the friends began ruminating on the concept years ago, before they had ever begun the process of opening The Edge. The two were employed at the same salon for seven years, becoming extremely close friends in the process. Meanwhile, they always discussed the "what-ifs" of opening their own business.
"It's just something we'd always kind of talked about hypothetically, like 'If we had our own salon, we would do this differently, or we could this,'" said Sullivan.
Even when they worked at the previous salon, the two had wanted to organize community makeovers. Ideas ranged from Mother's Day makeovers to ambush makeovers.
"We always wanted to do something like that but the idea never got going," said Gendreau.
The two women walk in the Relay for Life every year. They have also volunteered services for Ayva's Ride, a race for to benefit children with cancer. Gendreau put in hair extensions and Sullivan gave manicures. All the proceeds were donated to St. Jude's Hospital.
"It's just a really positive thing," said Sullivan.
So when the two saw the space at 20 Townsend St. for rent, they saw all of their ideas come within arm's reach. The entire process was spontaneous, said Sullivan.
"The opportunity just hit us right in face," she said. "Liz called me one morning. I was actually sleeping and she said, 'Alright there's a salon for rent. I think we should check it out.' I rushed down here and we literally just fell in love with it."
"We just really liked what it looked like, what we could do with it," said Gendreau.
After asking for advice from both sets of their parents, the friends signed the lease.
"Literally, my mom's words were 'You'd be stupid not to,'" said Sullivan.
The entire process was a whirlwind, from when they rented the property to when they opened only a couple of months later, including decorating the two-station space to echo their personal style.
"Our salon now has character. It reminds people of us. People aren't surprised what it looks like. We were able to put our personalities into it and make it more cozy," said Gendreau. "It feels good when you come in there."
The two named their salon after Gendreau's father's band.
Originally, they had wanted to host a cut-a-thon in the fall for the Look Good, Feel Better Foundation, which helps women with cancer; their previous salon had held similar events in the past in conjunction with Sexy Hair products, but at the time The Edge was still waiting on a license.
Now that they're open, though, they're ready to go with the bridal makeover, something that they hope to turn into an annual event if it goes over well. They are also considering holding a similar event next October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They are also open to helping out with other community fundraising efforts, from providing gift certificates to product baskets to services. They can be contacted at 978-433-6146.
"People like nice things," said Gendreau.