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ISSUE 117 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/19/2004

New Twin Cities salon makes 'Mink' money

By Ian Anderson
Executive Editor

Friday, March 19, 2004

Everyone wants to be a rock star -- at least, I do. Already possessing the amazing chiseled features of a rock Adonis, all I lack is the look, the attitude& the hair. However, Northfield really isn't the "hotbed" of progressive hair fashion that I'm looking for; I need a hairstylist who thinks -- nay, looks -- like a rock star yet still lives in the Twin Cities. Hark, a new salon that may provide for all of my egocentric hair product needs has recently opened in St. Paul: the Mink Hair Salon.

"What can I do for you?" Mark Anthony, co-owner and chief stylist of the salon, asked me as I walked in the big glass doors at front of the salon.

"Can you make me look cool?" I asked as he got up to greet me.

His wife, Christie-Anne, smiled widely from behind the front reception desk, which was an altar in its former life. Mark offered me a seat as Christie-Anne offered me a glass of water. David Bowie's "Changes" played quietly over the salon's speakers.

The salon is beautiful. It is a huge open space occupied by 12 hairstyling stations, six shampooing stations, two manicure thrones (yes, thrones) and two German-imported, computerized hair-care processors. Large bay windows line the outer wall facing the street, opening up the room to the city. Simply furnished, the salon has no product displays cluttering up its windows and no banners of beautiful models draped on its walls. Walking into Mink is comparable to walking into one's own living room.

I sat down in front of a full-length mirror with an elaborate frame composed of oxidized copper and gold. Mark twirled me around in my chair. The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" replaced David Bowie on the sound system.

Having just opened this past Valentine's Day, Mink is still getting started. With aggressive marketing plans and new stylists frequently coming in, this modest salon will not remain unknown for long. "We wanted to get out on our own, so we could focus on the customer," Mark said. Christi-Anne continued. "We want to bring in the best for our clients & [our products] may cost us more," but it's worth it.

Mink is definitely worth the cost (haircuts range from $35-$75). They carry products from such makers as Schwartzkopf -- a German product line Christi-Anne called "the Rolls Royce of hair color and hair products." Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the salon is that they are the first  and the only salon to ever carry Versacé products. Currently, Versacé is the top makeup and skin-care product line in the world. The makeup is very natural and beautiful, Christie-Anne said.

The couple's product and publicity connections have developed over years of experience in the hair styling and makeup industries. Mark was formerly creative director at Jon English, co-owned the Moxie hair salon in Minneapolis and has been featured in Allure Magazine. Christie-Anne coordinated the Tribute to Versacé show in Washington D.C. not long after Gianni Versacés death and designed the makeup look to go with his final clothing line. She also applied glitter in her makeup style for the tribute, she claims to have started the trend.

After a moment of deliberation, Mark decided what he wanted to do with my messy mop and motioned me over to a row of chairs lining a row of sinks. He took my glasses from me as I sat down, and simultaneously, the chair reclined as a footrest ascended from under it. My head automatically lowered into the sink behind my styling chair.

I heard the smattering of shampoo and running water as Mark performed Shiatzu on my head and neck. "It's relaxing and relieves headaches, Mark said. I wasn't the only lucky recipient of the quality massaging -- every hair stylist at Mink is trained in Shiatzu for pressure point shampooing. All customers receive the massages at no extra charge.

While I received my (potentially) cool haircut, Mark explained to me the excitement and hard work involved in getting Mink up and running.

"It's harder than I thought," he said. "I think my life is crazy now, but I can't imagine what it will be like in a few weeks."

Mark gave me a conclusive nod as he showed me my new "do." Christie-Anne smiled and commented on a job well done. As I left the salon, I half-expected a crowd of screaming girls to rush over and beg for my autograph& but no, not one lousy request. I'm guessing it's not my haircut that's the problem.

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