There’s something to be said for having control of your own destiny. At least that’s how Kate McNeely feels about her new gig – as co-owner of Trim Salon, formerly Social Agenda on Mitchell Avenue. For a stylist and makeup artist who has had a decade-long career, McNeely, 31, has found a home in Fondren.
Partners in the venture – and in life with Christie O’Bryant, the duo acts in tandem, McNeely taking the creative reigns and O’Bryant handling the business end of things. Think right brain meets left.
O’Bryant, 39, a supervisor with United Parcel Service, tried doing hair at one time and was licensed, but it was never her style. Buying a business was something the two had talked about for a while and O’Bryant said the timing has “worked out the way it was supposed to.”
McNeely worked for a salon in Flowood that sold, and so she started looking for “next.” That’s when she posed a question to her future self: “Why not own the business you do?” She calls Trim her retirement. “I’ve worked for many people,” she says, “and you learn what you do and don’t like. I have what I think is a cool environment.”
That environment, they believe, will be conducive to their six year-old son, Finley, who they call the ‘salon mascot.’ “Having a child,” O’Bryant adds, “we want to set our ‘where’ and ‘how’ we work.”
The couple’s purchase of Social Agenda just happened earlier this month, but already, they’re settling in to a neighborhood they have a fondness for. “My grandfather had a business here in the 50’s,” McNeely says, “and we want to be a part of the resurgence of Fondren, helping give it the feel it had back then.” But don’t let the throwback vibe fool you: stylists here range from the ‘shave one side and dye the other green’ variety to what McNeely calls the ‘coiffed, sexy lady hair’ look.
Incorporating the community into their salon was a must. Locally made coffee tables, chairs and shelving come from D+P in Midtown, photos dress the walls from Sharon Coker and their coffee comes from McNeely’s mom’s church. And they don’t take a cut of any work sold, providing a showcase of sorts, a way for the pair to say thanks. “We just want people to put their stuff in here,” McNeely says. “It’s like giving back because so many have helped us.”
McNeely recounts moving in earlier this month and two generous neighbors. “My mom and I were unloading furniture and two guys who live on Mitchell stopped and helped us. People who live around here have come in to see what’s happening and they’re excited.”
And they’re not the only ones enthused with the change. Heather Mixon, Social Agenda’s owner for sixteen years, is still on board, offering manicure and pedicure services. “She’s great at her job,” O’Bryant says. “I can’t let her go!” McNeely adds it’s a compliment that Mixon, who wants to spend more time for herself and with her kids, has remained after the transition.
Trim will offer cuts, color, makeup, nails, waxing and other traditional salon services – and some non-traditional ones, too. “We’ll tell a few jokes and sometimes we turn up the music and dance,” O’Bryant says. “Sometimes a brown haired boy is running around, talking to everyone.” Says McNeely: “We think it’s going to be a place for everyone, even my 86 year-old grandmother; she’ll enjoy being here, too.”
Find Trim on Facebook or call 601.982.5575.