By Dave Warner

Timeless Salon & Bridal Studio has opened up on the 4th Floor of the Stone Mill building in Canal Place.

Renee Dugan, owner of the business, said that when she was five years old, she was doing her own hair, putting curlers in it, and going to bed. “I just loved hair, and I loved styling. I loved what hair can do.”

She said she was good in math and college-bound, but it was cosmetology when her guidance counselor asked her what she wanted to do.

He said, “Look at your grades. You’re college material. So, the second thing I wanted to be was an architect. I couldn’t decide, so I took a year off.”

In that year, she decided to go for it. She said the class started out with 54 students, and she loved it. The teacher was excellent, but very strict and good at what she did. The class size started to shrink and went down to about 30.

“They had a regional contest in my second year, so I went to that and won. I studied to do the state competition, and it blew me away. I couldn’t believe what these girls were doing with hair because I had only learned the basics, and they were doing so many awesome things,” she said. “I didn’t win that one, but came back and told the teacher that I wanted to learn more.”

She continued with her training and started attending Herkimer College for a business degree. Her first job with hair was renting a booth in Herkimer. “I started building up my clientele, and after about two years, I was able to open a salon in Herkimer called ‘Heads are Turning.'”

She had three other girls working with her, and she said it was great. She eventually sold the business, and today, it’s located in Ilion.

Dugan moved to West Winfield with her husband and opened up Designs Hair Studio and Day Spa, which was the first day spa in all of Upstate Central New York.

“Everybody said, no, no, that’s not going to work in dinky little West Winfield, and I said watch,” she said.

They used a part of the house that they’d purchased and converted it into a business. “When we opened, it was like a revolving door. It was great for the first 3-4 years, and then others started popping up, and it leveled out.”

Dugan got a divorce and had to start again. “I had a contest for the name, and one of my clients said, ‘How about Timeless,’ and I told her I loved the name. Back then, it was Timeless Spa and Salon.”

Little by little, the day spa portion ended up shrinking to a point where it wasn’t profitable. “One day, I had a bride in my chair from New York City doing her hair, and she was getting married in Cooperstown and was nervous about getting back in time, being 30 minutes away.”

Dugan asked why she didn’t bring her hair stylist up from the City and was told that just the travel would be $500. “My mind went ding, ding, so I quickly pivoted out of the spa into on-location bridal hair and makeup. I took my portfolio of work to the hotels. I went to every one.”

Back then, she was doing both the hair and makeup. “I couldn’t do the big parties, but it was amazing. Little by little, we started getting awards from Wedding Wire and reviews, and I wanted to get a team together and do the big parties.”

She ended up bringing a team of three girls together. “My daughter’s on the team, and she does makeup.”

Last year, Dugan had been thinking about expanding – doing retreats and micro-weddings and had been on the fateful bicycle ride with Tina Malony from Ilion to Little Falls when they bumped into Katy Tomei.

“She said, why don’t you look at the fourth floor? When I saw it, my wheels went, oh yeah – and my head just started spinning. I thought, I can do micro-weddings, I can do retreats, I can have an all-in-one bridal suite up here…this is amazing.”

Dugan met with Neil Rosenbaum, and things just clicked. “So we bounced ideas back and forth because I knew how I wanted the rooms and everything to look like. So, he let me work with the architects.”

“It all turned out great,” she said.

Now that she’s open, she will focus on micro-weddings and retreats.

You can get hair, makeup, facials, brow lamination, and other services at the new location in Little Falls. To find out more, visit timelesssalonandbridalstudio.com.

The staff of Timeless Salon & Bridal Studio at their new location, 410 Canal Place, 4th Floor, Little Falls, New York.