We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Villwock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I opened my salon, Citrine Hair Lounge, I wanted to host a safe and inclusive environment for all my clients. Connecting with them is by far the best part of my job, so that’s what I honed in on.
We get to come in every day to a space where it is intentional and cozy. A lot of salons are geared at lots of foot traffic, fun music, loud chatter, and talking all the new and latest with your clients. Although I believe salons like this are necessary and fun, I wanted to go deeper and dive further in the connections I’ve built within my community.
I now get to educate my clients on new projects and needs within our city. An example is a drop-in resource program called Iridian Moon that I started back in April for LGBTQ+ high schoolers, held at The Artemystic. Here we host healthy relationship classes, safe space to do homework and connect, and organized garbage pick-ups in our neighborhood. We maintain a space without judgement or shame.
By opening my own small business I’ve been able to connect groups in my community to resources that serve them, without having to take away from my passion as a hairstylist.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art and passion is hairstyling. It’s not just looking at pictures and creating fun new styles (although that part is great), it’s the added tier of taking the time to find out what gets your client out of bed, what matters to them in choosing what products they use on their hair, what problems are they trying to fix in society, what are they trying to break out of, and how can we best create a look to combine all these needs.
I’ve been in the industry over twelve years, and you learn everyone has their ideas of what they think looks good, and what they think would look good on *them*. The latter is a drastically shorter list. As an artist in this craft it is important to have new ideas they maybe never thought of trying. In creating this trust, the art of the haircut can be even transformative for them in their work and personal lives.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned behind the chair is that there are still so many more people out there to meet who deserve to receive our compassion and connection. They have stories, laughs, and struggles to share, and that expression is the true art.
In opening my salon a lot of intention went into what products I would carry to help define my brand. I chose Color Space for haircolor and for products carry Cult + King and Organic Chemistry Products. All are cruelty-free, eco conscious with stunning packaging, are intentional businesses here in the United States, and inclusive in the groups they serve. Hair doesn’t have a gender, so why do our products? The feedback from clients is incredible and these companies have helped me build deeper trust with everyone who sits in my chair.
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?
In Green Bay there are so many hidden gems! For coffee, The Attic Coffeehouse has delicious pastries and the absolute coziest vibes. Their tea selection is insane and they have the cutest selection of custom lattes. For a drink before dinner my absolutely favorite place is Aardvark Wine Lounge located right across from an historic newly updated hotel called The Northland. Aardvark has a self-serve wine wall (yes, wall), twinkle lights, range of various charcuterie boards, and an openly LGBTQ+ friendly staff.
For dinner in the Midwest you’ve got to have a fish fry. Beer battered perch and fried cheese curds from one of our local supper clubs is a definite on a Friday night here. Pair it with an Old Fashion cocktail, and you’ll get the full experience.
For entertainment I love showing off our Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, complete with wolves, deer, and bobcats. They rehabilitate them, and you can enjoy a scenic and free walk through the grounds. There are tons of community theaters here as well, I just took the teens to UWGB’s production of “Fun Home” and it was so well done! The Healing Arts District is growing in this area too, so a Sunday morning sound bath at The Artemystic is a wonderful weekend recharge before returning back to your regular schedules.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My fellow small business owner friends and mentors, Valerie Steinken of The Holistic Mystic & Jessica Bradley of VICI Collective have both been pillars on this new journey for me. From teaching me hardware tips to accounting apps I need to have, their help is unparalleled!
Also, as mental health is something we are all now more than ever seeing the importance of, my therapist Liz deserves a huge shoutout too! Having a therapist that can encourage you to keep chasing your dreams while honoring your need to set boundaries is pivotal as I navigate these new territories.
Facebook: Citrine Hair Lounge
Jessica Sun Bradley Photography