Cincinnati Enquirer – March 19, 2013
At 30, Mitchell’s now a local beauty tradition.

Deborah Mitchell Schmidt started with a vision of the perfect hair salon: a place of luxury and relaxation, where stylists understand current trends and clients feel like the most important people in the world.

Thirty years later, Schmidt sees this: Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa, a $24 million-a-year business with five Cincinnati locations and two spinoffs called Pump Salon. The iconic Cincinnati salon is celebrating three decades in business with 350 employees, including 143 hair stylists and 140 massage, skin and nail specialists.

The business has come a long way from its start in a house in Montgomery in 1983. Today, Mitchell’s often is named top salon in the city and is featured in popular fashion and bridal magazines.

“I always tell people I did this because I had really bad hair,” Schmidt, 63, says from the study of her Indian Hill home. “I never had a great experience in a salon. I thought it could be done better.”

As an executive for a hair products company in the 1970’s, Schmidt saw many salons in her travels across the country. Leaders such as Vidal Sassoon were introducing the idea of “luxury” salons, where stylists worked in semi-private spaces and receptionists greeted guests and took appointments in well-appointed lobbies.

Schmidt says it was a far cry from the beauty parlors used by most women of the time. Often they were small rooms in private homes or strip shopping malls, where stylists cut hair while answering phones and then cleaning the floors.

“It was usually loud and smelly,” she recalls. “You couldn’t talk to your hairdresser without the person next to you hearing everything. You want to have the latest look, but you’re in this place where nothing is pretty.”

Having visited upscale salons in New York City and elsewhere, Schmidt decided to recreate that experience for customers here.

Schmidt pioneered the idea of the “day spa” with facials, massage and tanning beds – now standard for most salons. She also was among the first to offer longer hours and weekend appointments, and to advertise with high-fashion images.

“She’s a visionary for creating an oasis where you can come and relax,” says Helayne Angelus of Indian Hill, a Mitchell’s customer for more than 25 years. “I usually see the same person, but if I switch I’m not worried. The stylists are all well trained.”

Schmidt remains president of Mitchell’s. Daughter Logan Schmidt, 26, is marketing director, and Michael Batchelor is vice president and runs daily operations.

Growth has been steady throughout Mitchell’s history, but since the recession, Schmidt says it has slowed to about 3 or 4 percent per year.

She created Pump to appeal to younger customers, with video screens and upbeat music at locations at Rookwood Commons and Kenwood Towne Centre. Spa services aren’t offered, and prices are slightly lower.

“The whole industry has had a wonderful increase in the feel of the experience,” Schmidt says. “I’m glad we could be a part of it.”

Our stylists donated their time in partnership with UC’s Beautiful Lengths program aiding in the fight against cancer in an unusual way – by cutting their hair.

The News Record – Sunday, March 10, 2013 University of Cincinnati students came together Sunday to fight cancer in an unusual way — by cutting their hair. The UC Beautiful Lengths Campaign, a facet of Pantene Beautiful Lengths — a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society — teamed up with Mitchell’s Salon to host the event where students can donate their hair.

Irini Sfyris, a second-year biomedical engineering student and president of UC Beautiful lengths, donated 8 inches of hair during the event.

“I am asking a lot of others by asking them to donate their hair and I felt I needed to lead by example,” Sfyris said. “The hair we donate today will help empower the women who receive these wigs. Cancer attacks their self-esteem and many feel they lose their identity when they lose their hair.”

Sara Gaugler, a second-year secondary education student and vice president of UC Beautiful lengths, donated 9 inches of hair during the event.

“I have a personal connection with cancer,” Gaugler said. “[Donating hair] is worth it just to make cancer patients feel good again. I’ve seen cancer take so much from a person, not just physically, but in their personality and self-esteem. Having their hair taken from them unwillingly can hurt a person. I want to help in any way I can.”

Between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., registered students came in and donated their hair.

The students first had their hair braided by friends, family or volunteers, and the braids were later cut for donation.

Volunteer stylists from Mitchell’s Salon later cut students’ hair.

“Not enough people donate their hair and it’s wonderful to see all these people here today doing something great,” said Cecily Greenfield, a volunteer Mitchell’s Salon stylist. “There is so much we can give by donating hair to someone who doesn’t have any.”

After students had their hair cut, they could fill out an information form to receive a thank-you card. Rictoria Schaad, a first-year biomedical engineering student, donated 9 inches of hair.

“I felt like I could make someone’s dream come true by donating my hair,” Schaad said. “I don’t personally have family with cancer, but if I did, I would want someone to be there to give them the possibility of having hair again.”

Many students felt those with cancer deserved the hair more than they did.

Meredith Schulz, a third-year biomedical engineering student, donated 8 inches of hair.

“My hair is not significant to me, but it is to people with cancer,” Schulz said.

Caroline Cooper, a first-year early childhood education student, donated 8 inches of hair.

“It is a good feeling — better than cutting my hair for nothing,” Cooper said.

Those who donated their hair received a Pantene Beautiful Lengths T-shirt, headbands and free sample products. Participants also received two service hours.

Last year 30 people came to the event, but this year more than 40 people attended.

Sarah Gillespie, a fourth-year piano performance student, donated 13 inches of hair.

“A lot of women don’t want to go through with chemotherapy because they will lose their hair,” Gillespie said. “It’s a worthwhile cause to do something that will give them an incentive to go through with a treatment that might help them defeat their cancer.”

Cincinnati, Ohio (1/23/13) — Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa is pleased to announce they have been selected as a 2013 ­­winner in The Knot Best of Weddings, a special section featured on the number-one wedding destination, most trusted by brides.

The Knot Best of Weddings 2013 provides a “by brides, for brides” guide to the top wedding professionals across the country, and is a must-have when it comes to selecting the best-of-the-best wedding resources. Whether they’re trying to find the wedding dress salon with the best service in Philadelphia, the most creative wedding photographers in Los Angeles, New York’s top cake bakers or Miami’s hottest reception sites, engaged couples across the country want the inside scoop on the best from real brides.