You may have read about Monica and Josiah Groth in the Healthy Hairdresser section of the March 2014 issue of MODERN SALON, but we wanted to feature the Groths in our e-letter as well, because there’s so much more to tell you about their wellness-centered approach to life and salon work. Monica is a cosmetologist, and Josiah is a massage therapist. Their “fume-free” salon, Back to Bliss, has locations in Colby and Marshfield, WI, and recently the salon became a state-licensed teaching facility. New cosmetology school graduates can apprentice in a fume-free environment at Back to Bliss before taking the state exam.
With a yoga background, Monica and Josiah have established an Ayurveda-based salon culture. They hold fitness classes and promote proper nutrition.
“We train our staff in treating clients in an Ayurveda way, which teaches them how to treat themselves, too,” Monica says. “It’s a subtle ‘this is what Back to Bliss is about.’ After they’re here for a while, they start taking home videos on Ayurveda, or they’ll take my yoga class, sign up for a fitness class or ask me questions about nutrition.”
Monica and Josiah married before they were 21. Now in their mid-30s with three young daughters, they live the lifestyle they promote. The family eats no meat or high fructose corn syrup; sugar and artificial colors and flavors are limited. When Monica was forced to stop doing hair for six years because of allergic reactions, they heavily researched organic and natural hair products.
“The ammonia was killing me,” Monica recalls. “I thought I’d never do hair again.” But once she learned how to create a non-toxic lifestyle and work environment, she returned to her passion. You might not expect to find this natural, chemical-shunning approach in religious, small-town Wisconsin, but that’s where the couple wanted to launch their salon.
“We were advised by businesspeople not to open in such a small town,” Monica says. “But for us this has never been about getting rich. It’s about helping people understand what they’re putting on their body and in their body. If I can empower people to research what they’re using and how it’s affecting them, I will have done my job.
”Those business advisors were wrong—the community has embraced the Groths’ philosophy, and the salon business is thriving. For people who already valued organic formulas, the salon has been a bit of a miracle.
“They’re so appreciative that they have this right in their backyard,” Monica reports.Monica says the couple’s last name, pronounced “Growth,” coincidentally sounds like everything they stand for. They’re proud of their team and never mind when team members feel confident enough to strike out and launch their own salons.
“I’ve trained two of my competitors!” Monica jokes. “They left and started another natural salon. Competition is good—it makes you stay on your game and strive to be better.”