Jenny Luna
Special to the Sun

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December 10, 2013
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Meet Your Merchant | Truckee stylist takes sabbatical, returns to industry grounded, renewed

It wasn’t that she tired of standing on her feet all day, or working long hours on weekends, Melissa Cox’s exhaustion in the hair industry came from watching women constantly berate themselves while in front of a mirror.

“I was so tired of watching women pick themselves apart,” she said. “It has nothing to do with their hair — it comes from inside. I had to step away because it was draining me.”

Melissa said she isn’t sure where women’s self-loathing start, but that at every age there is something women find in themselves deemed not good enough.

“Beauty comes from loving yourself, knowing yourself, and owning it,” she said.

During her sabbatical, Melissa lived in an ashram and completed a yoga teacher training. When she decided to come back to the industry, Melissa said she approached it with a different attitude. She was more grounded and had reevaluated her self worth.

“Before I was afraid of rejection,” she said. “I learned that I know what I am worth.”


To foster a sense of connection, Melissa designed Coupe Sixty-One to be more than a hair studio, but a place of community. Displaying local artwork and providing hair education classes are her way of giving back to the community and expanding her own sense of one.

One Friday a month Melissa moves salon chairs off to the side and gives the floor a sweep before men and women of all ages unroll their colored yoga mats in the center of Coupe Sixty-One. The students center and calm themselves for yoga, a free class offered by Melissa.

Childhood friend and yoga instructor Melissa Martinez-Chauvin teaches the classes, a way, she said, to give back to the community as well.

“Melissa’s idea was to create community and create a way for people to gather and give back,” Martinez-Chauvin said. “Melissa is an entrepreneur. She has the ability to take these ideas and really expand them.”


After working for other people, Melissa opened Coupe Sixty-One earlier this year. She named her hair studio after a revolutionary hairstyle in post World War I Europe. Most of Melissa’s family is in the business — the Bay Area native is a third-generation hairdresser: Her grandparents met in beauty school as did her mother and father, and her aunt and uncle. The combination of family knowledge and hard-earned education enabled Melissa to open her own business. Her centering yoga practice and ample experience, however, aren’t what help her most in being a small business owner.

“Yoga grounded me, but being a mom really helped me open a business,” she said. Being a single mother is Melissa’s other full-time job. She said her love for traveling quickly changed when her son was born, that she is thankful he has helped her “to put down some roots.”

Because the hair stylist believes what she does is art, she decorates her postindustrial style salon with art from other people.

“I feel like what we do is art to some degree and I want to bring in others’ inspirations.” The current pieces are colorful and intriguing installations by Larry Hunt.

Melissa also feels passionate about offering organic and sustainable hair products at Coupe. Because the industry demands only 10 percent of the product to be organic to be deemed as such, Melissa works to find the product lines she feels proud to carry.

Coupe Sixty-One offers tiered pricing as well as a Loyalty Reward Program. The hair studio is open Tuesday through Saturday and is located in near 50/50 Brewery and the Drunken Monkey on Brockway Road.

Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at

“Beauty comes from loving yourself, knowing yourself, and owning it.”
Melissa Cox, owner of Coupe Sixty One Hair Studio

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Sierra Sun Updated Dec 5, 2013 05:31PM Published Dec 10, 2013 12:44PM Copyright 2013 Sierra Sun. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.