Diane Marie Dougherty, who has worked at hair salons in the Chestnut Hill area for a quarter century, has just opened her own salon, Eden Spa and Salon, at 627 Bethlehem Pike in Erdenheim. More information at 215-948-3565. (Photo by Barbara Sherf)

By Barbara Sherf

Diane Marie Dougherty was supposed to take a cruise to Greece for her 50th birthday, but instead she invested the money she and her husband, Joseph, had saved for the trip into starting the Eden Spa and Salon in Erdenheim.

Dougherty, who has worked in the beauty industry in and around Chestnut Hill for 25 years, decided to strike out on her own in mid-May.

Upon seeing a “For Rent” sign at the former Chenelle’s Salon and then touring the interior, Dougherty discussed it with her husband and three children. They were very supportive, and she had a colorful sign made, after which Diane opened for business on May 17, one month and one day after her 50th birthday.

“As soon as I saw the space, I had a vision for it.  I knew it was just the right size for me. When I signed the lease, everything just fell into place, including the name. I hope people find it a peaceful, relaxing place.”

Indeed, the Zen Garden light green and Pearl Earrings cream interior with sleek black art deco trim coupled with the Maxfield Parrish paintings produced a serene atmosphere.

“I chose these paintings for the walls because they have a dreamlike, airy quality. That’s how I envision this space,” she explained.

Many of her regular customers at other salons have found Diane, who feels that “this totally feels right and like it was meant to be.”

One of 11 children who grew up in South Philadelphia, her father was a mechanic, and her mother a teacher’s aide. She started working in women’s retail after graduating from West Catholic High School and then enrolled in beauty school. Of note is the fact that her fraternal grandfather, Joseph Schaulleur, owned six salons in the Old City section of Philadelphia.

She and her husband have three children; Joseph, 27, is an electrician; Christina, 23, has an undergraduate degree in Business Marketing and is working on a Masters in Speech Pathology, and the youngest, Roxanne, 19, is studying Environmental Science.

Married for 28 years to a Philadelphia police lieutenant, who is the third generation of his family on the force, the couple have lived in Manayunk for 20 years and are considering relocating closer to the salon.

Dougherty started working in the business at Sherlock’s Salon on Highland Avenue in Chestnut Hill on and off for five years. She took a break while starting her family and then worked for Salon, Salon in Flourtown for another five years. From there she went to the Gerald Paul Salon in Chestnut Hill and enrolled in the Pennsylvania Institute of Massage Therapy in Quakertown. She received her certificate in massage therapy and most recently worked at Spa Elysium in Chestnut Hill, doing both massage therapy and hair styling.

“I’ve worked in a lot of different shops, and I’ve learned from every one of them. I felt like this was the next step, to start my own business. While it was hard to say goodbye to my existing clients, it was something I had to do for myself, although many have followed me here.”

Dougherty always wanted to incorporate herbs and a more holistic approach into her work, and she wouldn’t rule out having her own line of body washes and shampoos one day.

“I feel if you are true to yourself and follow your heart and work hard that it will all work out. I feel like this is a blessing,” she said looking around her 400-square-foot space with its bamboo hardwood floors.

The business is a real family affair. Diane’s youngest daughter has helped her start a Facebook page, and her son-in-law is working on her Web site. Her son has done electrical work, and her husband updated the fixtures and retiled the bathroom floor. Her daughter, Christina, helped her write a business plan and apply for small business loans.

“We sit around and brainstorm ideas to promote the salon,” she said. “It has really brought us all together as a family.” Her friends have given her numerous referrals and she has put in place a referral program to reward anyone who sends business her way.

“I keep it all in this book. When I get three referrals from someone, that person gets a free haircut,” she said, noting that she will also offer massage therapy, including the use of a special massage table for pregnant women. In addition to hair styling, Eden offers hair coloring and waxing and will soon offer manicures and pedicures.

Nestled in the row of shops between Coupe Flowers and Phantastic Phinds at 627 Bethlehem Pike, Eden Spa and Salon is open Monday through Friday, 10-7, and Saturday from 9 to 5. You can follow Eden on Facebook at   www.facebook.com/s.s.eden11 or call 215-948-3565.

Barbara Sherf can be reached at 215-233-8022 or Barb@CommunicationsPro.com.

  • Mcb

    I went to Diane to get my hair cut a few months ago. My roots have already grown back in, she completely chopped my hair at various lengths and gave me bangs that have given my hair a weird calic in the front. NEVER GOING BACK, nor would I recommend her. Also, the prices are a bit much as well, not worth it for the horrible cut!

    • Hanna12

      Your roots grew back because its been a few months since you got ur hair done. Its normal. Lol

    • Mirage

      To McB : I think you mean “cowlick” and it is impossible for your stylist to give you a cowlick! My son has several, which is caused but the hair naturally growing in different directions. Also, as Hanna12 stated, color typically only last a few weeks (4 -6) so your roots would definitely be showing since you stated it has been a few months!

  • Megan H.

    Thank you Diana Marie for making me and my bridesmaids look absolutely beautiful yesterday! You made me feel stunning on my big day and my mother LOVES her hair color! Most hair dressers mess up her blonde, but you got it perfect. She is so happy — thank you!!

  • Heather Gladish-Spector

    Diane has been cutting/hi-lighting my hair for 15 years. She is a total professional, constantly evolving and learning. She understands my hair and knows what will work. When we discuss what she is going to do to my hair before an appointment I often say- you know what I want…and she does!
    Eden is fantastic! The location is convenient, the space is beautiful. I highly recommend Diane Marie and Eden spa. Best of luck!

  • Whipple549

    I’ve followed Diane since she was at Salon Salon. She instinctively
    Knew how to style my hair.
    I get nothing but compliments, especially after this new, out of the box change for me. I trust her judgement and creative talent!!
    Money well spent.
    We’ve also developed a nice friendship along the way. Love her and her whole family.
    Gail W

  • Ldiva

    I have heard of S.S Eden salon through a friend and I am so happy I met Diane! First, her salon is so cute and quiet unlike most salons. She catered to me with coffee and sweets and made me feel like ive been getting my hair done by her forever. I will now only go to Diane now to get my hair done bc she is the only one I trust!

  • pleinairer

    Great colorist! Love, love, love my hair. Thank you, Diane!!!

  • Jenna

    I came all the way from Tennessee to have Diane cut my hair. She did a wonderful job, I was very happy. She understood exactly what I wanted. I will definitely be visiting her again next time I am in town to see family. I just wish she wasn’t so far away so I could be a regular.

  • Mirage

    Diana Marie is such a creative stylist. She thinks out of the “boring cut & color”box and I love that about her! I don’t always go for it every time I visit Salon Eden but I need a push now and again to update my hair style, other wise I would still have the same boring hair cut for ever! The new place is great!

  • Lmelliott22

    Took me years to find someone to do the blonde I wanted. Not kidding! went to top stylist in Philadelphia $300+later and hated it. Diane is the best! My mom and I both go there and I get more compliments on my hair then I ever have before. Love it there

  • Mary B.

    I’m sorry I didn’t find Diane and Eden sooner. Love them both!