Snowmass salon starts cosmetology school |

Snowmass salon starts cosmetology school

Nicole McKenna, left, owner Mya Cote and Maria Sanchez will all teach students in the Snowmass Village Salon's cosmetology school.
Jill Beathard/Snowmass Sun |

After 20 years in business, the Snowmass Village Salon is adding something to its offerings: a cosmetology school.

The idea sprouted from salon employee Nicole McKenna, who wants to share her experience and knowledge, something that she says “feeds her soul.” It took several months of review, curriculum building and preparation, but the state has licensed the salon to open the school, which hopes to recruit two students who can start this offseason.

McKenna, a Rifle resident, would be the head instructor. The school will allow her to continue working in Snowmass during the offseason, but she and salon owner Mya Cote are also hoping it will fill a niche currently missing in the valley. There is a beauty school in Glenwood, and courses can be taken at some Aspen salons, but Cote wants her students to become fully licensed in a small setting where they will graduate prepared for the demands of upvalley salons.

The salon is looking for students who want to earn their full cosmetology licenses but also would take students who just want to focus on manicuring and esthetician services, Cote said.

As students become ready to work for clients, they would work in the salon, and Cote, McKenna and Maria Sanchez, with decades of experience between them, would be there to check their work. Services by students would be offered at half price.

“We won’t have them work on clients until we say, ‘Yes, you know what you’re doing,” Cote said.

The school is definitely for students who are serious about doing this for a living: To get a full cosmetology license, the salon plans to charge $24,000, financed over a 12-month period.

“It sounds like a lot of money,” Cote acknowledged. But she compared it to going to college or another technical school.

“They could basically work another job if they had to, but we really want people who want to do it and not do it over five years,” said Cote, who knows the value of being licensed in everything. She first learned how to do nail services when she moved to Snowmass from California but eventually became certified in hair and skin, as well, which allows her to do what she does now as the owner of a full-service salon.

“They can come in here and learn it and either stay with us or move on, depending on how it works out,” she said.

Students should be at least 18, and the salon would prefer they have a high school diploma, as well. The salon hopes students will start in the next three weeks.

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