By Ginger DeShaney
For Erin Ghella and Marty Horn, one blessing came out of the COVID-19 pandemic: their new hair boutique, Feather & Waves.
During the state shutdown, Marty was laid off from her job and Erin’s hours were drastically cut.
Marty called Erin and asked: “Do you want to open a salon with me? I’m serious. It needs to happen.”
“We held hands and said, ‘Let’s go,’ ” said Erin. “We’re Laverne and Shirley over here.”
“It’s one good thing that came out of COVID,” Marty said. “I never thought I’d actually do it. But we had no choice. No one was hiring.”
Located at 653 E. Broadway, Feather & Waves Hair Boutique has been open for about two months.
Marty, 30, and Erin, 39, met five years ago while working in a downtown Boston hair boutique. They were basically managing that salon.
“When we first worked together, we talked about doing our own thing,” Erin said. “We wanted a final destination. We have a different perspective now being owners.”
Erin and Marty, who worked at other salons before coming together again for Feather & Waves, have been jaded by their experiences at larger salons. They have vowed to make sure their salon is unique.
“We wanted to stand out and be different,” Marty said. “It’s up to us to create a salon where the customer isn’t just a number.”
The women pride themselves on the one-on-one attention they give to customers. They provide an experience that is custom to each client’s wants and needs. “We want them to feel amazing when they leave,” Erin said.
In other salons, one stylist may be working on three people at once, Marty said. That will never happen at Feather & Waves, which boasts just two bays (situated more than 6 feet apart).
“The setting is intimate, relaxing,” Marty said. “We take our time. A good day for me is two colors.”
Added Erin, “We don’t want people to feel rushed. We want people to come in here and feel at home. We want them to have a great experience with hair.”
The boutique has a definite family feel. “People open up to us,” Marty said. “Erin brings out the good sides of people. She makes people open up.”
Marty is like a little sister to Erin. “Her work ethic is immaculate. She’s super strong, independent,” Erin said.
“We work all day together. It flows,” said Marty. Added Erin, “It just works. We complement each other.”
Marty found the building — which was the “Something Special” shop in a past life — on Craig’s List. It needed some work, but they both envisioned how it would look in the end.
It’s soft, natural, and inviting. It’s clean, simple, and uncluttered.
The duo took out no loans for the shop. They started it up with their savings.
“We had the help of awesome people who donated their hours, time, and work to us,” said Erin, noting that most of the helpers were from Southie and many of the items in the salon are recycled.
“People were reaching out; do you need an electrician?” Marty said.
Erin grew up in Southie and used to shop at “Something Special.” And Marty’s boyfriend’s grandmother had a shop at that location.
“It feels like it was meant to be,” Erin said. “Karma came full circle,” Marty added.
The salon caters to women, men, and kids.
Erin loves cutting hair and creating updos. Marty’s expertise is in balayage, or hand painting color onto hair.
The name Feather & Waves harkens to the duo’s boho and natural style. “We didn’t want it to sound corporate,” Erin said. “We wanted the name to stick in people’s heads.”
Erin and Marty are happy to be in the heart of Southe, where everyone looks out for each other. “We’re new to the neighborhood,” said Erin. “We’ve gotten words of encouragement. We’re hearing from other stylists. We’ve gotten so much support.”
In turn, Marty and Erin refer clients to other stylists and barbers in the area. They are also looking for ways to give back to the community. Cancer, domestic violence, and animal causes are near and dear to them, but they are also seeking suggestions for other charitable causes.
“We want people to come in. Everyone is welcome,” Erin said, noting the salon strictly follows COVID-19 guidelines, taking people’s temperatures upon coming into the building and requiring masks.
“Stop by and say hi,” Marty added.
“It’s been such a cool process,” Erin said. “It’s teaching us a lot. We’re growing. I’m so happy Marty asked me to do this. We’re both learning. This is our baby.”
Follow Feather & Waves on Instagram (@Feather_and_Waves) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Feather-and-Waves-Hair-Boutique-109527417596466). The website is https://www.vagaro.com/featherandwaveshairboutique/.