The Times West Virginian

November 10, 2013

Bellini Beauty Bar wants to lift women

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Bellini Beauty Bar wants to lift women up and help them realize that they deserve to feel beautiful.

Hollee Schwartz Temple and her husband John Temple, both professors at West Virginia University, are co-owners of this new Morgantown business. The store, located at 3484 University Avenue, celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 5.

The idea for the shop originated when the couple was on a five and a half month sabbatical last winter and decided to go to Southern California with their two sons, Gideon and Hank.

In February, a place called Bellini Beauty Bar opened down the street from the cottage they had rented in La Jolla in San Diego. Hollee walked into the store during its first day of business and met the owners, Staci Paris and Monica Malosky, who are professional beach volleyball players.

Hank, now 9, wanted to start a lemonade stand as a way to meet people, and the owners invited him to set up his operations in front of Bellini Beauty Bar. This is how the Temple family became friends with Staci and Monica.

Hollee, who is in her 11th year as a professor at the WVU College of Law, said Bellini Beauty Bar in La Jolla was unlike any other salon or spa she had ever visited.

“They had such an emphasis on it being a gathering spot, and sort of a place for women to bond and nurture and support each other,” she said.

Hollee wrote a book called “Good Enough Is the New Perfect,” published in April 2011, which is about modern motherhood and balancing work and life. Since then, she has spoken about these themes at conferences and events across the country.

She said a lot of women feel like they’re being selfish if they take time for themselves.

“They say, ‘I’m already working a full-time job. When I get home I need to be 100 percent dedicated to my family,’” Hollee said. “What I tried to point out to them is that if you’re completely depleted of energy, of all the things that we need in our life, how can you be any good for anyone else?”

After seeing the store in California, she wondered if she could create a space where women could embody the themes of “Good Enough Is the New Perfect.” She wanted to establish a spot where women could take care of themselves and take a step back from the chaotic pace they keep, which is how Bellini Beauty Bar in Morgantown was born.

Hollee’s husband John, who has worked at the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism for 12 years, has been in charge of the construction. They moved into the University Avenue location, which had previously housed a spa and salon, on Sept. 1, and spent the next month remodeling the space.

“We’re trying to bring the feeling of Southern California back here,” Hollee said.

The biggest project was the construction of the unique multipurpose bar for doing both hair and nails. John designed and developed the bar from scratch with the help of son Gideon, who is 11.

The building’s former nail room has been transformed into a Pedicure Parlor with a Pinterest board-type theme. The Bellini Boutique is located at the front of the store and features a variety of apparel, pajamas, jewelry, scarves and other accessories that make everyone feel beautiful, Hollee said.

The store also has a spa side, which is still being spruced up and will feature new hardwood floors.

Bellini Beauty Bar refers to the people who walk through its door as guests.

“We really want them to feel like they’re walking into somebody’s home and that they’re treated like a guest,” Hollee said.

The business also strives to be a supportive and nurturing place for its staff, and chooses team members who exemplify the idea of “really supporting women,” she said. Bellini Beauty Bar currently has about 10 staff members and is growing.

In terms of hair services, the business is primarily a blowout bar, which Hollee said is a big trend in California. People can come into the shop to have their hair washed and styled however they want.

They can choose from several different styles named after drinks, such as “The Cosmopolitan” for a straight and sleek look or “The Shirley Temple” option for little girls. To get completely glammed up, women can also add a quick makeup application.

“The smiles you see from the guests when they’re done is amazing,” Hollee said.

In addition to the blowout and makeup services, the shop provides hair cut and color services for women, men and kids. The offerings also include manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, spray tans, massages and more. Plus, Bellini Beauty Bar will soon be offering eyelash extensions.

Hollee said she’s trying to offer affordable prices in order to encourage people to give the services a try and keep them coming back for more.

All hair and nail services come with a complimentary Bellini, which is the champagne and peach juice drink reflected in the business’ name. Hollee said the name is a “a nod to feeling bubbly.”

Ladies have been stopping by Bellini Beauty Bar to get ready to go out for the evening or for special events.

The business is booking a lot of events, including girls nights out and birthday, bachelorette and wedding parties. Hollee wants ladies to come into the store together and experience the relaxing and fun atmosphere.

She said the response from the public has been incredible, and the shop is staying busy.

“We’re just really delighted that the community around Morgantown has given us such a warm response,” she said. “I think it’s because we’re doing something really different here. We’re so committed to the idea that every guest who walks through our door is our girlfriend.”

And people could see Bellini Beauty Bar get even bigger in the future. Hollee and John are currently working with Staci and Monica from California to create a corporate infrastructure and eventually open more locations.

For more information, call Bellini Beauty Bar in Morgantown at 304-598-9200. The salon offers online booking through its website, www.bellinibeautybar.com, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bellinibeautybarmorgantown.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.