Caitlin Iley

Salon in the Spotlight: The Village Retreat, County Durham

By Callie Iley | 18 August 2021 | Feature, Salon & Spas

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In 2018, Ashley Wilson purchased a neglected convenience store to renovate into her own salon, taking on a big job to extend the property and adding walls to create separate rooms.

“I was pregnant with my first baby at the time of purchase, however this didn’t stop me getting involved in the renovation. I loved being hands on and involved in such a special project,” she smiles. “It was a space which craved not only a huge renovation but someone who could show the space the attention and love it longed for.”

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Ashley Wilson

“I first qualified over 10 year ago. To begin with I worked in spas. The training I received and experience I gained during this time was second to none.

“Following this I then worked in a salon – I loved how casual salon work was, and building a rapport with returning clients.”

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“We opened our doors to our first clients June 2019. To begin with it was myself and Aimee, my apprentice at the time who is now fully qualified, and in August 2020 our 3rd therapist Carina joined us. We are extremely close, ensuring the salon has a joyful, yet professional atmosphere.

“We each specialise in our personal favourite treatments. I love gel manicures, and eyebrows. Aimee is our lash lift and pedicure queen, and Carina specialises in massages and facials.”

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“For nails, we use Halo Gel Polish and The Gel Bottle’s Builder in a Bottle. For eyes, we use Nouveau for classic extensions and Elleebanna for lash lift – the results are amazing, it was a game changer for us. For our spa treatments, we primarily use Temple Spa.

“We have a small range of retail items available to purchase in salon, our most popular being NAF Stuff cuticle oil pens and Nouveau lash and brow serum.”

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“With my background in both spas and salons, this reflected massively on the salon decor. My aim was to create a salon, with a spa like feel.”

“Our clients love the ambience of the salon – even if they are just popping in for an eyebrow wax, why not have it under a starlight ceiling surrounded by salt lamps, water features and candles?”

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“When choosing the decor for the salon I found myself in a world of buddhas, candles and a dark colour palette. My aim was to create a warm dark space, filled with spa like decor, cosy lighting and beautiful smells,” Ashely enthuses. “The winter months are my personal favourite in the salon, it just looks so beautiful in there.

“The decor hugely impacts on the atmosphere in the salon, as well as our way of working. Don’t get me wrong. we love a good chat with our clients but everyone – including ourselves – are so chilled when we are in the salon. It’s like a little haven for us all.”


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