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Lovely Locks    

Emma Justine Color & Extension Lounge Has Become a Top Salon Destination

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography Provided

Emma JustineAfter graduating from hair school in 2009, Amie Migirova dreamt of opening up her own salon – but not just your average, run-of-the-mill salon. She and her husband, Nison Migirov, wanted to create a place that would offer clients something special, in a welcoming atmosphere that shined. She didnt have great past experiences working in salons. Therefore, she was intent on establishing a positive workplace culture for both guests and employees.

Its common for stylists to either get burnt out from working long hours, or dread coming to work because they dont have supportive management, co-workers or mentors,” Amie says.

Amie and Nison wanted to put down roots in the right location. Five years ago they came across a property in the heart of Middletown on historic Main Street. After working through some red tape and tackling extensive renovations to the property, the couple celebrated the grand opening of Emma Justine Color & Extension Lounge in October of 2018, complete with a cocktail party, an open bar, ice sculptures and a deejay. This past October they celebrated four years in business.

Following their inaugural year in business, they won Salon Today’s Salon of the Year award in 2019. They also received the Phorest Client Experience Award for providing exceptional guest experiences, based on ratings and comments by clientele. In addition, in June of 2022 the business was named to Inc.’s annual Best Workplaces list.

After collecting data from thousands of submissions, Inc. selected 475 honorees this year. The list is the result of a comprehensive measurement of American companies that have excelled in creating exceptional workplaces and company culture. Its no wonder that Emma Justine made the list. Amie and Nison are extremely selective about the individuals they hire to join their team. They focus not only on existing skill sets, but also on each individual’s aptitude towards learning, and on overall personality and attitude. 

This is because they want to maintain a salon team that doesn’t compete with one another, but rather motivates one another. This means that if a stylist is busy, overwhelmed or running behind, another stylist will step in to help. This type of team structure is not typical of a standard salon, and guests regularly comment on how nice it is that everyone works together.

Emma Justine

The beauty industry as a whole has a reputation for being catty and full of drama,” Amie says. “Thats not us. We want to make sure that both our guests and our team members are taken care of.”

This is why bringing the right people on board is key. The team has to have a desire to help one another in order for that vibe to come across and be authentic. Nison and Amie interviewed a team member who was so miserable in her previous styling job that she was on the verge of changing careers. Getting hired by Amie and Nison changed the trajectory of her life.

In keeping with the focus on taking care of her team, Amie came up with a unique idea in January of 2021 – one that everyone initially thought was crazy.

The salon is closed three Saturdays a month so that the team doesnt have to work every weekend,” says Amie, who, at one point in her life, worked every single night and weekend. I wanted a healthy work-life balance for the team because people are happier when they get to spend time with their families.”

Years ago when Amie and Nison were dating, Nisons grandmother, who didnt speak any English, thought early on that Amies name was Emma, and they never corrected her. She has since passed away, and the couple decided to honor her by naming the salon Emma (rather than Amie) Justine.

When it comes to financially investing in their teams continued education, the owners raise the standard by investing tens of thousands of dollars every year into education. This includes an in-depth apprentice program, monthly in-house trainings, in-salon guest-led trainings, as well as out-of-state trainings, seminars and certification programs.

As the name of the business suggests, the team specializes in hair extensions, blonding and complex coloring services. They hold 11 different extensions certifications, leading the Louisville area in the extension service category.

Thats something we pride ourselves in – always having an extensive selection of luxury hair extensions in stock, from the brightest blonde to the darkest black, with different length options,” Nison says. “This is not something that salons typical invest in. When you walk into our salon, youll see long racks of beautiful, flowing hair extensions on the wall. Its our statement piece. This is how we truly signify what we specialize in.”

When people think of extensions, they might envision clip-ins, and while there are different kinds of extension methods, at Emma Justine they specialize in semipermanent, hand-tied extensions that are colored and customized for each guest, to create a seamless blend.

You can take a shower with this hair, go to sleep with this hair, go to the beach with this hair, put it in a ponytail,” Amie says. They are virtually invisible.”

Emma JustineSome guests suffer hair loss as a result of chemotherapy or other medical issue. Others may simply want to add thickness or length to their locks. Regardless of circumstance, hair is often tied to ones self-esteem.

If someone previously had thick, natural hair and is now experiencing hair loss or suffering from alopecia, thats a big blow to their self-confidence,” Amie says. Were not only creating confidence, but giving it back to them. We make them feel the way they felt before experiencing hair loss, and its life-changing.”

Guests have shared that they began to shy away from activities they once enjoyed because they were self-conscious of their hair loss. Ive had women tell me that they literally werent leaving their house anymore because they didnt want to be seen,” Amie says. “They no longer felt pretty, feminine or confident. One of my guests actually quit her job because of her hair loss.”

Some of these women are able to benefit from crown extensions and, as a result, their hair and their lives have been transformed. One guest told me that when she first had her consultation about crown extensions, she felt it was pricey, but after receiving the service she indicated it was worth every penny,” Amie says.

This is why the salons motto is, Feel bold. Feel beautiful. Feel confident.” Their mission statement is,To create a one-of-a-kind salon experience that is led by a team with exceptional talent.”

We are very proud of each of the team members and their successes,” Amie says. We wouldnt be here without them. But most importantly, we are grateful that we can provide this transformative experience to guests that truly need it, whether its due to hair loss or just to boost ones self-esteem.”

Emma Justine Color & Extension Lounge is located at 11511 Main Street in Louisville. For more information, call 502-384-5561 or visit emmajustinesalon.com. To see some transformations, check out emmajustinesalon on Instagram.

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