Nikki Schmidt always knew that she wanted to be a hairstylist. After completing the cosmetology program at Century College, Schmidt was certified by age 19. In 2001, at just 24 years old, she opened Salon Elite in Woodbury. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, Schmidt reflects fondly on her years in the business. “There were hurdles and lots of turnover, as it is in this business,” she says, “but looking back, it all had to happen to be where we are today.” Stylists Kathy Palodichuk and Jen Zepczyk have been with Schmidt from the beginning; the stylist team currently numbers 12.
To stay competitive in the community, Schmidt and her husband Jeff gave the salon what she refers to as “necessary face-lift” in 2014. Salon Elite became a Bumble and Bumble Network Salon, which allows for extensive training and education along with high-quality professional products from the brand. Schmidt has gathered a loyal following of clients who keep the atmosphere at Salon Elite warm and inviting.
Melissa Larson became a client in 2006 and hasn’t looked back since. “[My daughter] spoke so highly of it, I decided to go and loved it,” she says. She believes the atmosphere is what makes Salon Elite unique. “Ultimately it was Nikki,” Larson says. “She’s turned into a great friend. It’s both performance and personality, and I really appreciate that.” Schmidt hopes to one day turn Salon Elite into Salon Elite and Day Spa, which would offer additional services to clients.