The start of another week, you look at your calendar or To-Do list, and you’re trying to figure out how to fit in the things you need to do… but also seem frivolous at times in the grand scheme of things.
That feeling. That emotion.
It’s what brought me out of my house recently long before the sun was rising.
By 4:45 a.m I was in a parking lot 15 minutes from my house. The earliest I’d been up in three months. There I was…. outside this massive spa in Dublin, lit up in the pre-dawn sky, ready to go inside and watch what has become a coveted set of appointments for women and men alike.
There are about to be four clients sitting in salon chairs with soft but upbeat music coming from hidden speakers. There are little details all around that subtly sparkle and soothe.
The Spa at River Ridge offers this unusual time slot for service because its’ owner has a perspective that I’ve never quite seen before– Peigi Fisher-Hanson is known for her care and consideration of families and the tough time slots we’re up against.
In a world that demands more and more from us, it’s harder to get in an extra hour or two for haircuts, manicures, pedicures and anything in that self-care category. Too many times, it’s a rush and we feel guilty about spending the time away from family! The last thing it seems to be is relaxing. (Ladies, I KNOW you know what I’m talking about here. One of my sisters and I JUST talked about this on FaceTime last week.)
Peigi (which is pronounced Peggy– it’s Gaelic and the original speling) started her early hours nearly 26 years ago, when she began working in the industry at a Charles Penzone salon. Her husband, an engineer at Honda in Marysville, would drop her off early in the morning at work. Peigi decided to open up her books at that early hour to see what would happen. It didn’t take long– the concept started to catch on with clients.
“A lot of my early morning clientele started with Honda employees. A lot of second and third shift [workers] that would come in at weird hours. People think it’s really odd, but when they think about it they say: Wow, that’s great! You come in, your hair is done for the day. People come in their pajamas and they leave, instead of trying to rush out of work at the end of the day,” Peigi’s tells me as we sip on coffee together.
Twenty years ago, Peigi decided to open up the Spa at River Ridge in Dublin and continued her early-morning work plan. She hasn’t diverted from it since. The good news for you: you get in early AND there’s a coffee bar right next to the hair dryer.
“It’s unheard of, you’re lucky to find a hairdresser that will come in at 7 a.m. and start their day. We do have a niche in the market now and people are more aware,” Peigi shares with me.
To capture the essence of the environment there that early in the morning, I recorded the Periscope video you see below on the day I visited.
This morning structure is part of who Peigi is, and truly started long before she became a business-owner.
“A lot of my strange sleep habits came from my dad. I’m the youngest of eight kids and he owned an auto-body wrecking and towing service. He would get up in the middle of the night and do wrecker calls and a lot of times I would go out with him, it was my time with my dad. I don’t need a lot of sleep.”
Kori Choi takes full advantage of this early morning time slot. She has four children and also works full-time. I should mention two of those children are only four months old! Emmaline and Everley are in with Choi the morning I’m there.
“Having four kids and a fulltime job, to be able to get something done in the morning that doesn’t interfere with work time or family time is paramount to us. There’s no way I could do it after work now or on the weekends. It would just cut into the time I spend with my kids.”
As I mentioned, on this particular morning, her four-month-olds are with her in the spa… so cute I couldn’t even handle it. They were so quiet while she was getting styled, just looking on and enjoying the early morning.
“The girls are here with me just in case I need to nurse them. The atmosphere is completely open. It’s awesome to be able to bring my babies with me and to sit here. There’s no stigma. No one is saying “Crying babies not allowed.” No one is even going to bat an eye if somebody needs some milk.”
Choi gets color (she’s brightening the back of her hair today), a cut, and she’s out the door ready for the day without even having to touch a brush. She asked for a classic “mom style” that she can just put in a ponytail– if she wants to do that on any given day. The morning I’m in, she’s done by 5:30 a.m.
“What mom wouldn’t want to do this? I can’t imagine. Peigi’s clients are busy moms that want to spend time with their families and also want to look beautiful. We’re all here in the morning before the sun is up and it works out best for us. I appreciate it– that Peigi doesn’t sleep,” Choi says laughing.
Moms are a large part of the early-morning clientele, Jody (below) was in and out in under an hour before she went home to see her children.
BUT theses two moms I’m highlighting for this article aren’t the only ones that have discovered these early morning services.
“A lot of them are stay-at-home moms that can come in and not get child care. Then it’s done for the day, they don’t have to get a babysitter. But we also have a lot of professionals, doctors and dentists that come in during the morning or people who travel out of town and have a flight to catch.”
Right now, Peigi has a nail tech that is there at 5:30 a.m. and some aestheticians and other hair designers start at 7 a.m. It giver her staff the flexibility for their families and to be home with their kids later in the day, if they choose the early morning schedule.
For Peigi, it’s a win for every person who walks in the door earlier in the morning.
“I think it’s awesome. To have this one-on-one time in a quiet, soft environment… to be able to start their day like that– the joke is always: I’m so tired! I always say, it’s alright. I’ve got you covered. I’m awake. That’s all that matters.”
Full Disclosure: This post contains sponsored links from The Spa at River Ridge.
All opinions are my own.