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Changes Salon Continues To Change And Improve

08 July 2015 Written by  By Christine Scott
Published in July 2015 Articles

I spoke with Changes Salon owner, Bonnie Waters, and with her longtime salon and spa manager, Cristiana Andersson.

They were both excited at the salon makeover that began last fall. Changes Salon always seemed a lovely place to me, but they really do have a right to be excited and proud of the new look. One attractive improvement is the expanded hair department. The number of stations remains the same, at 18, but the area is more spacious, providing a pleasing ambiance for clients while passing time waiting for an appointment or for their hair-color to process.

The Changes Salon makeover also includes a greatly expanded retail area boutique with a brow bar and a newly introduced high-end makeup line, called Smashbox, which is an editorial line originally designed for stylists preparing subjects for camera work at Smashbox Studios. Bonnie and Cristiana are justifiably proud of offering Central County residents professional-quality products such as foundations, powders, tinted moisturizers, concealers, bronzers, and highlighters used by professional make-up artists and models. Changes makes the experience complete by providing the services of professionals specializing in makeup artistry, including such things as waxing and offering customized color recommendations, resulting in “photo-ready makeup for everyday beauty.”

The Changes spa area has also been expanded to include a pedicure room, which is located in the former second spa reception area. The new room is located behind the 16-foot water wall that forms the east wall of the Aqua-Terra room. People can now get their pedis in perfect comfort while being soothed by the sounds of falling water, basking in the soft rays of indirect lighting, and enjoying the view of the adjoining garden area. The new spa facilities also include an expanded women’s locker  expanded to include a redesigned men’s locker room, steam shower, and a steam room. The facility was open for business on Father’s Day to enable guys to enjoy the self-indulgent pleasures that women have been accustomed to for years. For both genders, Changes Salon provides effective remedies and counter-points to the stresses and pressures of our contemporary high-energy world. It’s a perfect place for renewal and restoration.

The Changes Salon spa services are varied three times a year on a seasonal basis, with Spring, Summer, and Fall/Winter themes and promotions designed to fit in with the changing weather and most appropriate to the current season.

For example, following the conclusion of the winter months, spa customers will enjoy taking special care of dry skin, in particular caring for body surfaces that are now being exposed following months of remaining out-of sight. People who are conscious of style may currently imagine they are coming out of winter hibernation; days are getting longer; the sunlight is getting brighter; spring is a good time for facials. Potential problem areas include the neck, décolleté, elbows, knees, legs, and feet. Professionals have techniques and products to reduce wrinkles, discolorations, blemishes, and dryness, enabling customers to present themselves looking their best even in bright sunshine. This is anappropriate time for full-body hair removal. Spring and summer are also times when professionals at Changes Salon prepare to advise and assist customers in altering their hair color and style to suit the changing light conditions. Spa professionals provide easonal products, such as foundations and bronzers, for people who want to change their skin tone to one that is more fitting to the warmer weather.

During the Changes Fall/Winter seasonal emphasis, on the other hand, days shorten, the quality and quantity of sunlight is reduced. As customers withdraw to more indoor lifestyles, they often wish to repair their skin from whatever sun and weather damage it might have been exposed to. Estheticians renew and refresh the skin through peels. Hair stylists replace the spring and summer highlights in customers’ hair with warmer and richer hues. Makeup professionals create smoky effects around the eyes and deepen the shades of the lips. Massage therapists emphasize hot stones in the fall and recommend exfoliation service add-ons for the summer season.

An Ongoing Evolution in Size and Service Changes Salon opened for business in 1984 and last October celebrated its 30th anniversary. From the beginning, Bonnie and her team have been assisting Central County residents to move towards beauty and wellness. They provide hair and spa services at levels that first time clients often find amazing. I got firsthand experience when a massage therapist, named Jordyn, treated me to the most pampered massage experience of my whole life, beginning with a foot bath and including hot towels, and Jordyn’s miraculous hands. At the end, I was floating above the earth.

The current makeover and upgrade to Changes Salon is only the latest in an ongoing program of continual improvement that has worked to make a good facility even better. Bonnie began the business at the current North Broadway location in a 1,000-square foot space, but over the years it increased by an order of magnitude, expanding into adjoining spaces in the building as they became available until reaching the current size of 10,000 square feet. The team has grown over the years to match the expanding size, beginning with a handful of staff and growing to the current workforce of 65 professionals.

The facility is now large enough to host group affairs such as baby showers, bachelorette events, and corporate team building events, plus demonstrations of beauty products and techniques.

Changes Spa is a happy place to visit, in part, because it is a happy place to work. Turnover is a big problem in the industry but at Changes the staff members are handpicked and then nurtured and cared for. Bonnie said that she looks for people who are technically qualified, but who also take satisfaction from serving others. Each team member actively promotes the official Changes Salon mission: “To be the best; to create a difference; to contribute to others.” Part of the incentive comes from the fact that staff pay packages are based upon salary+bonus+benefits including a paid vacation, 401k, and medical coverage. “There’s a payoff for the company in this,” Bonnie said, “because these things help our team members to feel that they have a career and not just a job.”

Bonnie noted that the Changes Salon makeover is an important part of the Walnut Creek downtown renewal that has been going on for a while. She said that it is exciting to play an important role in something that has been good and getting better.

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