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Hair do's and don'ts

A local salon owner is one of the world's select few hairstyle trend setters.

Boni LaVelle, owner of a' la Mode Salonspa on North Knowles, is a member of Intercoiffure, a prestigious international organization of the best hairdressers and salon owners in the world.

The group aims to improve customer service within the salon industry and figure out the newest style trends.

"This is 'THE' group that sets the standard for fashion and coming trends in America and around the world," she explains. "You're interviewed by their board, and they decide who they want in and don't want in."

There are just five Wisconsin and six Minnesota members in the organization, which touts 250 members nationwide and 2,500 worldwide.

"It's very much based on ethics and how you treat people," LaVelle explained, noting that her salons always seek to pamper clients.

A hairdresser or salon owner with a reputation for quality also has a foot up in the selection process. LaVelle has steadily made a name for herself in the region's salon circles.

LaVelle, who opened her Aveda-concept salon in New Richmond a year ago, owns and operates shops in Hudson and Burnsville, Minn. as well. Her Hudson salon has grown steadily during its seven-year history.

"I've wanted to be in New Richmond since I opened the salon in Hudson," she said. "The people are so nice and I like the community here. I hope to grow with the city."

All of her salons promote special touches beyond just haircuts, such as specialty drinks and mandatory scalp massages.

Her New Richmond business, which employs five stylists with advanced training, includes skin care, nail services, massages, facials, hair extensions and waxing.

For more than 20 years, LaVelle has been working hard to stay at the forefront of her industry. Many people are taking notice.

Salon Today Magazine selected a' la Mode as among the top 200 fastest growing salons in America, an annual honor LaVelle has picked up once before.

"It's a good indicator that you're doing something right," she said. "Everybody in the industry waits for the issue to see who's won."

Though she appreciates her recent success, LaVelle said she isn't resting on her laurels.

Her stylists are each required to graduate from a three-month advanced training program before they begin working on clients. Experienced stylists attend seminars to keep up with new trends and to improve customer service.

Her salons are anything but snooty, LaVelle quickly adds, with reasonable prices and a down-to-earth atmosphere.

"When people come in here, it's just comfortable," she said. "It just kind of feels like home."

LaVelle is gearing up for the spring hair show season and will appear in a platform performance at the Body Miracle Makeover Show in Minneapolis this weekend. Platform shows feature experienced stylists in action as they explain developing trends.

As for her personal predictions related to hairstyle trends, some of which she'll reveal in Minneapolis, LaVelle said blunt lines are on the horizon.

"Asymmetrical cuts are going to be huge," she added, "longer on one side than the other. You'll see the trends on the runways in Paris now ... a few years before you'll see it in the mainstream."

The a' la Mode stylists aren't only about high style, LaVelle emphasized. They also get involved in helping those in need by donating haircuts to anyone wishing to give to the Locks of Love program.

Locks of Love seeks 10 inches or more of quality hair, which will be used to create wigs for young cancer patients who have lost their hair due to treatments.

For more information about the New Richmond salon, call 246-9455.