Truckee woman promotes self-confidence at new Donner Lake salon
TRUCKEE, Calif. — When Heather Gillespie opened Shear Effects Salon and Waxing Studio, she envisioned a salon where parents and children of all ages could build their confidence through self-expression and style.
“It’s so important to teach children self-confidence to be who they are, and to give them the freedom to express themselves,” Gillespie said. “I love being able to help support that and send kids out the door with more self-confidence than they walked in with.’
Located next to Donner Lake’s West End Beach, the family friendly salon opened on June 1 in a chic, yet comfortable space that offers affordable services and products from hair to waxing to manicures and pedicures.
“I wanted a place where parents could come and relax and get pampered, and where their kids could play and get their haircut too,” Gillespie said. “There’s not glass everywhere, there’s safety plugs in the outlets, and all the hazardous materials are out of the way so mom and dad don’t have to worry.”
Growing up in a military family, Gillespie’s family moved several times before settling in Fallon, Nev., where she learned to cut and style hair by practicing on friends and family.
But it wasn’t until she was faced with a difficult crossroads in life that Gillespie relocated to Truckee, where she not only found solace in friends, but a new career path to boot.
“Living in Truckee reminds me so much of the way I grew up in Fallon, in that everyone knows their neighbors and it’s a safe place to raise a child,” Gillespie said. “At first I didn’t think I would stick around for long, but like most people, I fell in love with the area and I’ve never left since.”
As she began to plant roots in Truckee, Gillespie decided to enroll in beauty school in Carson City, which she completed in 2004.
Over the next several years, Gillespie juggled her passion for teaching at the Discovery Preschool in Truckee with her career as a stylist, but it wasn’t until she had a daughter of her own that she began to see a void in local hair salons that catered to families.
That’s when the idea of opening a family-friendly salon started to don on her.
“I probably wouldn’t have thought about opening this business had I not been blessed with my daughter,” Gillespie said. “Being a parent has completely changed my mindset and my overall priorities.”
Changes included owning a business that allowed her to be successful in her professional life as well as her new life as a parent by providing a place where her daughter could come when needed.
“I wanted to teach her self-confidence and I also wanted to show her that you can do something you love while providing opportunities for others as well,” Gillespie said.
She’s since opened her the door to her salon to other stylists who are looking for flexibility in their work environment and schedule, as well as those looking to build their education in hair through supplemental beauty courses and ongoing training.
“One of the reasons I created this space is so that when I run into times where I need to bring my daughter to work, I can,” she said. “Sometimes life happens and we can’t always find daycare or we need to pick our child up from school early, and I wanted other stylists to have the option of bringing their child to work, because as a mother, I can truly understand how important it is to feel supported.”
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.