INA, Ill. – Julie Rushing, one of the earliest graduates from Rend Lake College’s Studio RLC, is back in Southern Illinois with her own salon and is looking to make a difference in her industry. As the owner of Clique Hair Design in Marion, Rushing said her success started almost a decade ago in the classrooms at the RLC MarketPlace.
Rushing is a native of Royalton who graduated from Zeigler-Royalton High School in 1999 and Studio RLC in July 2005. She and her husband Alex, who works for Professional Salon Concepts out of Joliet, have a 10-year-old son, Clay. Post-graduation, Rushing worked in a number of salons in Carbondale and St. Louis before returning to her roots in 2011 to open her own salon with the help of her parents.
“Owning and creating a business was never a dream of mine, especially opening a salon. When I was living in St. Louis, I found myself missing my family back in Southern Illinois,” said Rushing. “My clients in St. Louis were great, but they didn't compare to the ones I had at home.”
Her parents, Jack and Rhonda Bartlow, are the owners of Jack’s Roofing, Siding, and Windows in Royalton. With 30 years of business expertise, Rushing said she looked to her parents for advice when she first started the salon three years ago.
“My mom was the first to give me the idea to open a salon in Marion,” she said. “They gave me their support and told me they would help teach me the details of running a business if I decided to move back. I eventually decided that opening a business would be my next adventure. I moved back and opened Clique in March 2011.”
Since opening, Rushing and her team have moved the salon toward becoming a better community business by eliminating approximately 500 pounds of waste from landfills every year. Some of the products, such as the hair color, are purchased from Rushing’s husband’s company, Professional Salon Concepts.
“Clique Hair Design is the first salon in Southern Illinois to recycle 95 percent of all of its waste, including our color tubes, used hair products, foils, hair and other products,” said Rushing. “I want to continue in this environmental, eco-friendly, and sustainable direction. We use color lines and products that support this vision, also. Who knows, maybe one day we will be the first solar-powered salon in Southern Illinois.”
The salon also participates in a community service project monthly, including cutting hair for underprivileged and homeless families at The Promise in Marion. The Promise in is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization that supplies clothing, food, toiletries, and more for homeless and needy families.
“I hope to continue this beautiful relationship we have with the founders of The Promise as well as get involved in more community service and volunteer projects,” said Rushing. “I also hope to see more photo shoots and creative work in Clique's future. Currently, we team up with Isis magazine, a quarterly magazine from the Southern Illinoisan, to style the model's hair and makeup for each magazine cover, and help with other various shoots around the area.”
It was at Studio RLC where Rushing got her first practical experience in cosmetology, and where she learned skills she still uses today in her own salon, she said.
“Attending the Rend Lake College Cosmetology program definitely helped prepare me for my career. Just three weeks in, I was already obtaining hands-on education, unlike most cosmetology programs, where hands-on learning isn't given until at least three or four months into the program,” she said. “The RLC Cosmetology program continually keeps up to date with trends and teaches students how to sell product and create a repeat guest, not only the foundations of hair styling.”
Through it all, Rushing said she wants to thank her clients most of all for being the support that drives her to work hard every day in the industry she loves.
“My clients in Southern Illinois make me feel special, and the unique relationships are created each day. I knew that if I didn't try and didn't take the risk of opening my own salon, then I never would know if I would be successful. I thought about and prayed about it while living and working in St. Louis, and realized, it is better to try and fail, than to not try at all,” said Rushing. “And now here we are, going on our fourth year. I take it one day at a time and know this wouldn't be possible without the grace of God, the support of my salon team, family and the help of Professional Salon Concepts.”
For more information about Clique Hair Design, call 618-998-0066, visit them online at www.cliquehairdesign.com or find them on Facebook by searching “Clique Hair Design.”