Krystal Davidson, owner of Cortex and Company hair salon, stands behind the front desk of her salon at 1910 Deacon St. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Krystal Davidson built her salon, Cortex and Company, with her own two hands … literally. Her salon at 1910 Deacon St., directly behind Aspen Copies and El Parasol, is sleek with contemporary finishes; most of which she and her wife constructed.
Davidson said when they first walked into the space, it was carpeted and featured old office fixtures. They purchased materials from ACE Hardware in town and got to work. Davidson said she and her spouse sanded everything, stained everything and even constructed the huge wooden wall panel that decorates the waiting area.
Looking at the finished product, it is easy to see Davidson put a lot of care and work into her salon. She applies the same drive and care into the services she offers.
Davidson moved from Texas to Los Alamos a year ago.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” she said. “I did work in town for five months before I realized there is still a need for customer service-oriented salons in town.”
Davidson added that locals wanted a hair salon that was open late and operated on weekends. The decision of what Davidson should do, therefore, came easy. In fact, her own business took form in a mere weekend.
“We just made it happen,” Davidson said. “It all kind of unfolded in a matter of a few days.”
The salon officially opened its doors in July. Davidson does bring extensive experience to the table. She explained when she was fresh out of high school and planning to go into the U.S. Air Force, she was diagnosed with meningitis. Unable to join the Air Force, Davidson took a job cleaning a salon. She moved up from cleaning the salon to working at the front desk.
“Basically, I fell in love with the industry,” Davidson said.
She moved on to work at one of the best salons in Austin, Texas. Her education in the industry continued when Davidson enrolled in the Sasson Academy in Texas.
“I feel in love with the science and structure of hair,” she said.
When her wife got a job at Los Alamos National Laboratory, they moved to Los Alamos. Even though Davidson said she is used to big cities, “Los Alamos reminded me of the little town I grew up in. We plan to be here for awhile.”
Davidson praised the community for being so vested in small businesses. She was able to reach out to a local realtor who put her in contact with a landlord to rent a commercial space. She added that the public also has strongly supported her business.
“The community has definitely responded. We’ve been very successful in the few months we’ve been open.” Plus, she said her customers are understanding and supportive of when she needs to close to take time off. “It’s been very rewarding to have people respond to my brand and my vision.”
Davidson works with both men’s and women’s hair. She also works with children. Her speciality is color but she is trained in cutting hair styles that can be maintained. She also provides bridal hair and makeup services as well as formal makeup. “My passions are color and makeup,” she said.
Additionally, “I really dive deep into consultation” to make sure every cut is customized for each customer. “I find comfort in a professional telling me what I need (and) what is going to be suitable for you,” she said.
Besides promoting a good haircut, Davidson also promotes environmentally-friendly business practices. “We continuously account for our waste whenever possible,” she said. In fact, the hair products Davidson sells as her salon, Kevin Murphy, are ethically sourced and organic. Plus, the company gives to charity. “I didn’t want anything I didn’t believe in in the salon,” she said.
Although the salon has only been open for two months, Davidson already has plans to expand. She has an apprentice on the floor and plans to host community events in the future including fashion shows and fundraisers.
“Anyway we can give back … that is what we look forward to,” she said.
Still, she doesn’t want to go too crazy. “The goal is not to outgrow myself; I would rather have a small, consistent brand.” She added, while it may seem hard to justify operating a salon in a community so small, “I wouldn’t imagine it any other way.”
Cortex and Company is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Occasionally the salon is open on Mondays. Appointments can be made online at www.cotexandco.com. The website also offers links to the salon’s Facebook page and Instagram. Cortex and Company can also be reached at 505.500.4789.