La Jolie owner Tere Villamil stands in her Princeton salon. (Photo by Suzette J. Lucas.)
La Jolie owner Tere Villamil stands in her Princeton salon. (Photo by Suzette J. Lucas.)

Tere Villamil, owner and president of Princeton’s La Jolie Salon & Spa, describes her managerial style as “one hundred percent hands-on.” Upon getting to know Villamil, it’s evident that she cares about her customers and staff.

For Villamil, running a salon and spa is all about helping people feel, look and be their very best. It’s about seeing what is good and unique about a person and bringing those qualities to the forefront.

Everyone counts at La Jolie: every staff member, every customer and every person in the greater Princeton community. Staff members begin their day with a 10-minute “visions and triumphs meeting,” where they share their successes from the previous day and the opportunities they look forward to exploring today.

“We focus on team building and doing things such as giving each other stress relieving shoulder massage, sharing at least one thing we like about each other or sharing messages from inspirational books,” Villamil said.

The current book pick is “Fish!”

When Villamil joined La Jolie in November 2010, the first thing she told her staff was that she wanted to run the company “with the utmost respect for each other and for the customers.”

Each customer is treated as an individual. Staff members take care to listen to the requests and needs expressed by the clients, who are considered guests. Customers return to La Jolie because of the individual attention and respect they receive, and the staff’s level of skills and education.

Villamil says that returning customers have told her more than once, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

In addition to hair care, guests can receive custom facials, aromatherapy massages, wraps, manicures and pedicures, make up consultations, waxing and bridal consultations. The salon also sells organic hair and skin care products so clients can continue their beauty routines at home.

La Jolie offers a variety of spa treatments. Most packages range from two-and-a-half to four hours. Prices range from $180 to $311, although clients can select individual services from the A La Carte offerings.

Villamil values staff education, personal development and experience. Staff members are graduates from top schools such as Vidal Sassoon, L’ANZA and Aveda. They continue their education in U.S. and international programs as well as in-house training from La Jolie’s guest advisors and master stylists. Many of the staff members have been invited to teach programs in the U.S. and abroad.

The salon is a five-time award winner of Salon Today’s Top 200 Salons nationwide, and Villamil is looking forward to receiving another award for being one of the greatest luxury spas in the U.S.

Villamil joined La Jolie with over 18 years of experience in the industry. She has held high level executive positions with Aveda; GM Collins Skin Care; Avanti Salon and Day Spa; and Davexlabs and L’Anza. She continues the salon’s tradition of women ownership, which began with the company’s inception 40 years ago.

Villamil is looking forward to future endeavors, renovating the facility to be even greener than it already is, expanding the spa’s offerings, sponsoring more customer events such as “Girl Time” and more community events to raise awareness and money for nonprofit organizations.

“If you do good for others, they’ll do good for you,” says Villamil. She credits her parents for shaping her positive outlook on life.

Villamil enjoys living and working in Princeton because of its connection with the university, and because it attracts people from all walks of life. In Villamil’s words, “Princeton is a timeless town.”

La Jolie Salon and Spa is located at 4 Hulfish St. in Princeton. Phone: (609) 924-1188. On the Web: