The Elements of style

Did you know? You can't judge a book by its cover
By Paul Viau | Aug 09, 2012
Courtesy of: Donated photo EIGHT IS ENOUGH — The stylists at Elements Salon are all you need to look your very best. Pictured are (from left, back row) Carla Presley, Margaret Williams, Amy Carver, Amber East, Suzanne Messer and (from left, front row) Emma Morris, Jennifer Milner, and Nikki Hyatt. Not pictured is Kellie Goins, receptionist.

There is a classic textbook that has trained, guided and oppressed writers for almost a century. It is mandatory reading in every high school English class and many college “lit” classes, and no doubt adorns the bookshelf of thousands of editors.

I am referring, of course, to Strunk & White’s, “The Elements of Style.”

Did you know? — in 2011, "Time" magazine listed "The Elements of Style" as one of the 100 most influential books written in English since 1923.

It is a tiny, 43-page book, but it so influenced me with “all the rules,” that I sought out a career where one can write freely breaking them — advertising.

In Ad Land you can capitalize any word you want, craft sentences without a subject or a predicate, write in fragments — and even make up words. It is a wonderfully creative place. I’m glad I spent 35 years of my life there.

I’m also pleased that I found a place in WNC that still embraces this kind of freedom and creativity.

No, I’m not referring to The Mountaineer, but the salon where the Viaus get their hair creatively cut and styled — Elements Salon, at 1088 N. Main Street.

Elements, like the name implies, is made up of a number of “basic atomic structures” — all women (with two X-chromosomes) who have worked together for 15-plus years, growing a business that thrives (like hair) on elements like carbon, nitrogen, oxygen — and Redkin.

The chemists at Elements Salon (all local Haywood County ladies) include Amy Carver, Amber East, Nicole Hyatt, Suzanne Messer, Jennifer Milner, Carla Presley, Margaret Williams, Kelly Goins and Emma Morris.

All grew up together, worked at local salons together, and joined forces when Amy Carver set up shop at Elements’ current location in 2007.

Since that time, they have watched their business, their families, and their friendships grow “like hair in the summer.”

My stylist of choice, Jennifer Milner, calls Elements “…one big happy family, where everyone works hard, has fun, and takes care of one another."

And according to Milner, “The backbone of Elements is Amy Carver — a strong woman who keeps everyone happy.”

Carver also sees all Elements’ stylists are well informed.

They keep up on the latest trends and products in hair care. They hold in-house seminars and frequently attend product knowledge classes. As a result, they “really know their stuff.”

For example, my stylist, Jennifer Milner, keeps me looking “trendy” with a Redkin product called Dishevel. And it’s working — now I always look “disheveled.”

This is much better than my brother Rob’s hair, which always looks conspicuously absent.

My wife visits Elements stylist Nikki Hyatt, who has mastered the perfect shade of red to cover Carol’s “various shades of grey.”

All of the Elements stylists are independent contractors, with their own clients, their own hours, and their own style (or way) of cutting and treating hair. But all work overtime (literally) to keep their clients looking their best.

Believe me — in my case, that’s a tall order. And I appreciate the talent that makes my fine, straight, boring hair fashionably disheveled.

So the next time you look in the mirror, only to see as disappointing head of hair, remember Elements Salon. You won’t be disappointed. Call Elements Salon at 456-5133.

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