Body works
Inuvik woman opens new salon to pamper Delta women

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Inuvik ( May 26/00) - Inuvik's newest salon owner said she started her old job again "by accident," but this time around it is a refreshing change.

Esthetician Thea Salkeld and her salon The Whole Shabang celebrated their grand opening today in Inuvik.

The salon offers complete aesthetic services, and carries a full line of natural cosmetics, hair- and skin-care products and gift certificates.

"That includes hair styling, manicures, pedicures, body waxing, ear piercing and make-up artistry," Salkeld said.

A single mom of two, Salkeld said she started the new business by chance and necessity.

"Being out of a job and not wanting to work for anyone else, I just kind of remembered I had this trade," she laughed. "That's why I call it an accident."

Salkeld did some work at home for friends and then friends of friends until she sought bigger digs. She's leased some space in the back of Inuvik Sports.

"In this business it's only logical to start your own shop," she said. "Even small, renting out of a salon and the progression comes naturally."

"I've had so many ladies come up to me almost upset and say, 'You do this and you've been here how long?'"

She opened her first salon in 1985, just outside Edmonton, Alta. While the money was always good, she didn't always enjoy her work as much as she does here.

"I owned a salon in Spruce Grove by the same name," Salkeld said. "I had that for three or four years and it did really well, but I was catering to women with nothing to do and too much time on their hands and I totally lost interest in it," she said.

"I just felt like I was doing the same old meaningless bullshit everyday. It's different here and now for me, because the clients I have now are women who work hard and just want to treat themselves," Salkeld said.

"There are a lot of really incredible women up here. Finally getting to meet them and visiting for an hour with them really made me wish I had done this a year ago."

"It definitely makes a nice gift, it's not inexpensive and it's hard for women to justify the time and money to spend for no other reason than to feel good," she said. When she's more established, Salkeld plans to add more permanent body adornment to the salon's repertoire.

"Once we're all settled, I intend on bringing people up to do tattooing and body piercing -- just have someone come up for two weeks at a time. There's not enough business up here to make it feasible for someone to relocate."

And if things go as planned at the Whole Shebang, Salkeld wants to hire another stylist and a masseuse to further pamper her clientele.

"I'd like it to become more like a spa than a salon, although hair and nails are going to be a major part of our business income. I just want this little hideaway spot that's just got absolutely everything you want."

Salkeld said she has such a good time "visiting" with her clients that she often feels guilty about getting paid.

"It's just fun, and we're doing something that makes people feel good -- you can't make 10 people feel good in a day and not feel good yourself."