The following words come to mind when we think of Paige Simmons: down to earth, resourceful, fun loving and talented. Paige opened Paige Simmons Salon in July of 2011 when she realized it was time to take the plunge and put her name on the front door. Located in a charming bungalow just off West End Avenue, Paige Simmons Salon exudes the same Southern warmth and charm as the owner herself and is a happy gathering place for her clients. Paige is one of Nashville’s most talented artists and it is with great pleasure that we introduce you to her today.
Where were you born and how did you make it to Nashville?
I was born and raised in Nashville. I’ve never lived anywhere else, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot and I’ve been to places I think I could live, but in the end Nashville is my home.
Tell us about why you wanted to start your own salon?
I started doing hair or assisting when I was 16. I took a class in high school that allowed me to leave early everyday and I could get credits for working, and I started at a salon on Music Row. I assisted on photo shoots and videos, plus working in the salon from 11:00 am till close and on Saturdays. When I graduated, I started cutting and coloring and would still go do photo shoots and videos, but this time I wasn’t assisting anymore. Most of my friends went to college, but I chose to stay and work. It was definitely my calling. I started to travel all around the world. For me it’s been the best experience I could ask for. I’m now in my 26th year and I still have a lot of clients that I’ve had since I was 18.
I always said I would never own my own salon. Ha. Famous last words. When I left the salon where I started (where I worked for 19 years), I left to go to a larger salon, so I could travel more with clients and only do hair in the salon 3 days a week. Sometimes I would be gone for weeks at a time. I call this my college years. 5 years into this, a little voice started telling me to open my own salon. It was time. One day I walked in from work and told my husband I want to open my own salon. The next day we went and looked at several available properties. Four months later I opened the salon. It was a lot of work, but I knew I was on the right path. You get to a point and it’s sink or swim.
How does your salon reflect your personality?
My salon is in a 100 year old house, so it has tons of character. When you walk in you feel like you’re at a friend’s house. It’s has an eclectic feel, it’s a place where you can come relax and be yourself. Everybody working there is loving and caring, and that also sets the tone. I only have veterans of the business–everybody truly wants to help one another and succeed. That kind of respect shows to the clients as well. I hear all the time “this place has such a good feel to it.” I love that!
It seems like making people more beautiful may come with as many stresses as joys, is this a calling for you?
Making people beautiful is the best part of what I do, I love when someone sits up a little straighter because they feel more confident. This far into my career, I don’t really have a lot of stresses anymore. It’s a physical job, though, so sometimes my body is stressed. This is a calling for me on many levels: to be creative, to make people smile and feel good … The relationship side? That is right up there with the creative part. I have a true fascination with people and their life experiences.
Do you have a mentor or adviser?
I don’t have a mentor or adviser per say. I get the best advice through my clients. So many are successful and have great business minds–either they are giving me advice or I bounce stuff off them. People share a lot with me, whether it’s about business or their lives. Hearing their advice and stories sharpens your mind and makes it easier to see certain life situations for what they are. You couldn’t pay for that kind of knowledge, really. Between that and my intuition, it’s a powerful thing.
Is there a piece of advice you’ve received that stuck with you?
I’ve been given a lot of advice over the years. Probably one of the top pieces would be not to worry about how other people are running their lives or business; stay focused on your path. Sometimes it’s easy to compare yourself to others’ success or failure, and that will make you second guess how you’re doing things. Eyes forward, head up. A few other favorites:
- Best predictor of future behavior is past behavior
- Proof is in the pudding
- If you’re going to dream, dream big
- What you allow will continue
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Nashville?
I have a lot of restaurants I want to try, which I’m sure would make this list.
To support my neighborhood: Park Café and Café Nonna
- Chain: J. Alexander’s on West End
- Pizza: City House or my Kitchen
- Burger and fries: blvd
- Sushi: Virago
Do you have any irrational fears?
Something along these lines:
- Public restrooms
- Walt Disney World
Do you have a favorite musical artist?
Depends on my mood. Today it’s David Gray, Damien Rice, Tom Waites, John Prine, and Blue Mother Tupelo. My best friend is a musical artist, so if you’re reading this, you are my favorite.
Is there something about you that people would be surprised to know?
When I was younger, my brothers and I traveled with a carnival for several summers in a row.
What books are on your bedside table?
Anything to do with Architecture and Interior design, I have an app on my Ipad called Houzz, I lose myself in that for hours before bed.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Rosemary Beach and London.
Is there an event coming up in Nashville that you are looking forward to?
I don’t have any events coming up, but a date on a Saturday night? Now that would be an event I would look forward to.
Name 3 things you can’t live without (excluding God, family and friends).
Well being Southern woman I can’t choose 3, but here’s what I came up with. Wine and my boxer dog, Stevie Ray Nicks, fall somewhere between God, family and friends, which leaves me this:
- My intuition, no way I could have taken the chances in life without it.
- My sense of humor, if you can’t laugh about it, you’re missing out.
- Clorox wet wipes, you just have to know me, refer to my irrational fears.
Thank you, Paige! To find out more about Paige and her charming salon, click here:
And thank you Ashley Hylbert for today’s beautiful photographs. You can see more of Ashley’s work here: www.ashleyhylbert.com