A few months ago, our Memphis editor tried an Intraceuticals oxygen facial and after reading about it, I immediately sought out a local provider to try it myself. My search led to a conversation with Amy Leavell Bransford, aesthetician and founder of Aviary {organic beauty collective}, an appointment for a facial and, ultimately, an introduction to one of the coolest salons in town.

Perched in the far corner of the Studioplex development, Aviary [organic beauty collective} brings together beauty professionals focused on natural products and techniques.

In the far corner of the Studioplex development, Aviary {organic beauty collective} is the roost for beauty professionals focused on natural products and techniques.

Right in the heart of the Old 4th Ward, the inspiring Studioplex facility is an old cotton warehouse that was converted into workspaces, all sporting an industrial feel while still drenched in natural light beaming in from the center courtyard. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to come to work here everyday? There’s a powerful meld of past and present, brimming with character and echoing the history of our Phoenix city for the artists and entrepreneurs who use this space to build the future.

Roots & Wings: Amy Leavell Bransford started out as a publicist in the music industry, but followed her passion for holistic  beauty and wellness.

Roots and Wings: Amy Leavell Bransford started out as a publicist in the music industry, but followed her passion for holistic beauty and wellness.

As she started my facial, Amy chatted with me about her career shift into skin care. She spent many years in the music industry as a successful PR professional, but started to consider a shift around the time she married. Amy loved her work as a publicist, always enjoying pulling the story out and helping artists promote themselves. But, she wanted to change her pace professionally, and had long harbored a passion for holistic health and beauty. So she took her personal leap of faith, enrolled in Atlanta Institute for Aesthetics for training and, once she graduated, started following her bliss. After Amy’s first child arrived, she established New Moon Skin Care, treating clients from a home studio, and word got around quickly about her talent and the incredible quality of her services. Her schedule filled up, other local moms learned of her natural approach and a Daily Candy article shot her name out of the publicity cannon. New Moon Skin Care waxed forward to it’s next cycle.

New Moon Skincare practices gentle services from a tranquil treatment room.

New Moon Skincare practices gentle services from a tranquil treatment room.

Vintage touches add character to the comfy corner for Talk To The Hand Massage.

Vintage touches add character to the comfy corner for Talk To The Hand Massage.

Shhh, don't be an ass, keep the mood calm in here so clients can enjoy their relaxation.

Shhh, don’t be an ass; keep the mood calm in here so clients can enjoy their relaxation.

During all those years in the music business, Amy admired the way musicians and bands developed relationships in the studio setting. Now, she wanted to foster that type of collaborative environment, drawing together other stylists and professionals with a similar philosophy. She envisioned the relationships between these artisans as symbiotic, abandoning the typical salon construction of chair/booth rentals or commission structure. As she searched for a new location, Amy remembers sitting in that light-bathed courtyard of Studioplex, pregnant with her second child, thinking about her next step in creating a work space. A bird swooped past her and she thought of how much this building seemed like an aviary. When that word, aviary, came to her mind, she solidified the concept as a place where “birds of a feather could flock together” — in this case an organic beauty collective, preening clients to an awareness of their own natural gifts.

Natural textures and soft light add to the comforting atmosphere inside Aviary {organic beauty collective}. (Image: Aviary)

Natural textures and soft light add to the comforting atmosphere inside Aviary {organic beauty collective}. (Image: Aviary)

Salon Vagabond, part of the collective, uses organic haircare and color systems for the healthiest results.

Salon Vagabond, part of the collective, uses organic haircare and color systems for the healthiest results.

Rows of organic hair color await the skilled hands of Salon Vagabond professionals.

Rows of organic hair color await the skilled hands of Salon Vagabond professionals.

Aviary searches for just the right products for their devoted clientele.

Aviary searches for just the right products for their devoted clientele.

The latest addition to the Aviary offerings, Triumph & Disaster men's skincare products from New Zealand blend indigenous ingredients from Australia to Polynesia.

The latest addition to the Aviary offerings, Triumph & Disaster men’s skincare products from New Zealand blend indigenous ingredients from Australia and Polynesia.

Summertime's in full swing, and here's a friendly reminder from aesthetician Amy to use high-quality organic sunscreen everyday!

Summertime’s in full swing, and here’s a friendly reminder from aesthetician Amy to use high-quality organic sunscreen everyday.

Once the concept took flight, Amy believes the fulfillment of her vision to be a true example of karma and the universal laws of attraction. Aviary chirps with the hair artistry of Salon Vagabond and the soothing touch of Talk To The Hand massage, as well as Amy’s New Moon Skin Care. Clients embrace the boutique element and personal attention, as well as validation from these professionals. Amy feels the full-circle connection between her PR roots and the soaring wings of this venture; she’s now guiding clients as they pull out their own best story, playing up strong attributes, surrendering to their own vulnerability and finding their inner glow. Amy says that she’s learned that as beauty professionals they achieve the best results by “enhancing  who you are, where you are,” celebrating the authentic self and not attempting to turn someone into a one-dimensional image torn from a magazine. In our crazy world of twisted body image and photo-shopped icons, those pure notes are sweet music.

Birds of a feather flock together in the window of Aviary {organic beauty collective}.

Birds of a feather flock together in the window of Aviary {organic beauty collective}.

Rejuvenated completely by the facial, I stared into the hand mirror in disbelief. Amy explained that while most facials focus on taking stuff off your face — cleaning, toning, exfoliation, extraction, Intraceuticals uses a specialized wand, a tiny airbrush-like device, to infuse the skin with an all-natural serum, pushing it via oxygen bubbles. These bubbles plump the skin instantly, causing an immediate change in appearance and texture, showing the healthy boost from within, perfectly aligning with the Aviary focus. No wonder Amy decided to incorporate this into her service list!

Fresh as a daisy, the Intraceuticals facial gave my skin a spectacular glow.

Fresh as a daisy, the Intraceuticals facial gave my skin a spectacular glow.

Aviary {organic beauty collective} combines New Moon Skin Care, Salon Vagabond, and Talk To The Hand Massage in one tranquil studio. Visit www.aviarybeauty.com for a full list of services.