We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Leavell Bransford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
When I was starting as an esthetician working in a Day Spa, I didn’t feel like there was a space that fit me. I didn’t feel like I fit into the typical “spa” space which was either very Zen-with-a-water-feature or very all white and clinical. I also didn’t like the corporate spas that require you to wear a uniform or scrubs and everyone does the same facial like some sort of esthetician robot. No one was doing our services in a boutique setting where you work with brands that are not everywhere (I am looking at you Eminence and Dermalogica) so I set out to design a business and space that was reflective of me and where I can do highly customizable treatments that are geared to results. Luckily there are other people out there in the industry who agree and they flocked to work with me. Now I think what we are doing is much more the industry standard and especially in a Covid world. Being a 3 chair, 2 treatment room salon/spa is ideal. It feels great to heave been on the beginning of that change.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, it’s definitely not been easy. But then I wouldn’t have had the chance to grow my wings if I didn’t have to “climb the mountain” along the way. From the beginning, I have tried to make friends who are also small business owners. When I am having a rough day I have so many people to talk me through the challenges and offer advice. I also consider myself to be a collaborative leader, which means that i have a democratic process with my employees. We talk about what is working and what is not. They know I am approachable to talk to and I listen to their ideas.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, in a Covid era this is a challenging question. I think Atlanta is so great, being a city inside a forest. I love our many outdoor spaces, be it the Beltline or Arabia Mountain or Piedmont Park. I have favorite restaurants, Ticonderoga Club and Miller Union. We’d stop for facials and hair at Aviary of course and stop by my sister studio SparrowHawk Studio.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Well, shoutout to the Director of my esthetic program Jocelyn Ash! She and I still talk once or twice a year to keep each other informed on what’s going on in the Industry. The Acne Answer is required reading for any esthetician who works for me. It was written by Marie Veronique Nadeu and her philosophy really resonates with me. We carry her line at the shop for The Holistic Facial. My Dad, Chuck Leavell left Tuscaloosa, AL in the George Wallace era while he was a teenager to go play on soul records. He was being part of the revolution during the civil rights movement of the 60’s . He has been a noted environmentalist and has a “side gig” playing keyboards for the Rolling Stones and also serves as their musical director. My Mom, Rose Lane Leavell, owned Macon, Georgia’s most fashion forward boutique for my whole life. So I got an intimate experience growing up in a woman owned business and I loved what a bonding experience it was for women who worked or shopped there. She closed it many years ago and people still talk about how great her shop was! My parents let me know by example from a young age that it is ok to color outside the lines, and that you should, in fact try to do things your own way. I was lucky to get them as parents.
All Photos are credit Our Labor of Love