By Frank Comstock
Bonnie Cook has brought 15 years of training and experience to her still relatively new endeavor as owner and operator of The Beauty Room in Bordentown.
Open for almost a year now, The Beauty Room is a full-service salon with several team members specializing in something special to them. Joining Cook are five other stylists and two “rising stars,” some of whom have worked together and with Cook at other salons.
By bringing in staff she has worked with before, Cook has quickly created a cohesive team in the Bordentown location on Route 206. The Beauty Room emphasizes training, ensuring all stylists have an opportunity to learn the latest techniques.
Cook is proud of her training at Vidal Sassoon, Toni and Guy Academy, L’Oréal and continuous training at Paul Mitchell. Approaching training as a necessity in running a business, Cook said.
“The Beauty Room has designed a program which ensures each stylist develops skills to meet their max potential. We have various training sessions where our team gets to learn and improve hands on,” she said.
The courses are sometimes taught by master stylists within the salon but Cook does not limit training to in-house staff. “We have different Paul Mitchell educators come into the salon for more creative classes so that we are always on top of the newest trends and can learn new techniques,” she said.
Aiming to be a go-to salon for brides on their special day, Cook wants The Beauty Room to make the bridal party experience a party in the true sense of the word.
“We specialize in bridal parties in-house as well as on location. No distance is too far,” she said. “We pride ourselves in customer service, not only professionally, but personally as well. We want you to feel as beautiful on the inside as we make you look on the outside.”
As the owner and as a master stylist, Cook specializes in bridal styles and Keratin treatments, in addition to making the salon a fun place to work. Master stylist Cassie Abraham is a blonding and extension specialist, while her fellow master stylist Annette Schwartz specializes in precision classic haircuts and styles, as well as classic and modern perms.
Master makeup artist Beverly Paz provides all the makeup services at the salon. Senior stylist Christopher Stillwell is proud of his abilities with formal upstyles, for both proms and bridal parties, as well as creative cutting. Stylist Christina Russo is the salon’s balayage specialist and enjoys creative coloring and barbering.
“Rising stars” Sarah Capps and Rachel Calderone “are still exploring their creative talent and are eager to learn,” Cook says as she returns to a favorite topic: training. Capps and Calderone will go through a minimum of 6 to 12 months of training before taking on clients themselves.
Cook herself started her training at the Mercer County Vocation School. After two years there, she earned her cosmetology license. After that, she said, is where the learning really began.
In addition to the Sassoon, L’Oréal and Toni and Guy Academy training, Cook attended specialized training, mostly in New York City, with Keratin, Andis, Oster, and others.
“My true passion is with Paul Mitchell,” she said. “I believe as a salon it is nice to have one company to work with and know them inside and out. Paul Mitchell provides us with monthly training in the salon, as well as many classes we can attend all over the world.”
With a staff large enough to have specialists in many areas, yet small enough to know their customers and be able to interact with each other, The Beauty Room hopes to encompass the best of both worlds. After working together at other salons, Cook notes, “We’ve been through a lot with one another and that has created a beautiful bond that makes us a family.”
Pricing is tiered to the experience of the stylists, with master stylists charging the most based on additional experience and training. Master stylists work by appointment only and have many years of experience and additional training. A senior stylist at The Beauty Room generally has at least four years of experience at that level to earn the senior title and at least 250 additional hours of training. Stylists have at least two years of experience.
The Beauty Room, 650 Route 206, Suite E, Bordentown. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: (609) 298-0959. On the web: thebeautyroomnj.com.