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Exploring Life & Business with Aaron Murphy and Emily Scruggs of Miya Salon & Spa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aaron Murphy and Emily Scruggs.  Them and their team share their story with us below:

Miya Salon & Spa is a joint venture by Denver couple Aaron Murphy and Emily Scruggs. Miya is a combination of Emily’s passion for the beauty industry and Aaron’s passion for business. Although both originated from Michigan, Aaron & Emily met in 2015 in Chicago and have been inseparable ever since.

After graduating from the Aveda institute in Michigan, Emily craved more action and culture and headed to the Windy City. She spent 15 years as a hairstylist at high-end salons in Chicago and loved making people look and feel good on a daily basis. As much as she enjoyed her salon career she always believed she could create an even more special salon space of her own.

However, as an artist at heart, the task of taking on all the stresses of being a small business owner while also continuing to do her passion behind the chair seemed impossible. She was also getting very tired of the long gray winters of Chicago. Upon graduating from Michigan State University with a business management degree Aaron moved to Chicago to start his career and take in all the amazing city life of Chicago.

He spent his career in sales and management at a Fortune 500 logistics company in Chicago. Although he learned a lot working for a large global company for 12 years, he was an entrepreneur at heart and the corporate grind was killing his spirit. Aaron was very sick of the grind of the big city and the lack of nature/outdoor access.

In 2018 Aaron proposed the idea of quitting their jobs and moving to Denver and long story short, they did it. They took the summer off together and then Emily went to work at a salon in Denver and Aaron spent more time working on his next business idea or job path.

Each night Emily would come home and tell Aaron about her salon here and how the owners were overworking and underappreciating their employees, which was causing a high turnover. At first, Aaron would joke that maybe they should just open a salon for them both to work at. Over time, Aaron’s entrepreneurial spirit clicked in and he started drafting business plans on how to make their vision of the salon work.

After briefly exploring the idea of opening a salon from scratch, they instead decided to purchase an existing salon and put their own stamp on it. That method would allow them to accelerate their path with no construction needed, a client base already in the network, and an amazing location.

So they purchased Miya Salon & Spa on Tennyson Street in Northwest Denver in March of 2020 and the rest is history. In their free time, you’ll likely see them at a concert, local restaurant, traveling abroad, or up in the mountains.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
When we took over the existing salon from the previous owners in March 2020 we were excited (and nervous) about the new business and life endeavor. We were salon owners for less than a week before the Covid-19 lockdown shuttered our doors and business.

That time was filled with uncertainty, but we knew that whenever the salon did reopen we would be more ready than ever and it allowed extra time to put our own stamp on the space.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Miya Salon & Spa?
The Vibe:

Miya Salon & Spa is a unique space that offers high-end hair services in an approachable neighborhood space. We are a proud member of Denver’s Tennyson Street District and have banded with other local businesses to support one another.

Going to the salon should be a fun social endeavor and not like going to the doctor or dentist, so we strive to create a positive, fun, and unpretentious environment. The space is adorned with a variety of plants, massaging shampoo bowls, and even a flamingo or five.

The Family (aka Staff):

Our salon is focused on creating a space where our artists can thrive. We compensate them well above average and we allow them full control of their schedule. This allows them to create a schedule that works for their work/life balance as they see it. They can add or remove time on their schedule for personal conflicts, lunch breaks, or life changes, and no vacation request is ever denied. Miya also offers ongoing education so that stylists can grow and nurture their talents and never feel stagnant.

The Friends (aka Clients):

Every client is welcomed into the space and we want them to feel comfortable and at home. We also want to make sure they look and feel amazing when they leave. The stylists cater each service to the client while being transparent about price, maintenance, and what is possible while still maintaining the integrity of the hair.

Additionally, we do not double book clients, so each stylist is with one client at a time, which allows for a better experience and result. It sounds simple, but we essentially just treat every client how we would want to be treated.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
We like that Denver still offers the culture and atmosphere of a big city while only being steps from amazing outdoor adventures. We love the sunshine, weather, and friendliness of the people here. We miss the vast array of authentic ethnic food in Chicago. We would love to see more authentic mom-and-pop eateries and fewer corporate restaurants.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tatiana Alexandra

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