by Kira Bellis
Some salons focus on just hair and nails, but Avant Apres in Erdenheim adds to the atmosphere by showcasing locally made jewelry and accessories. While waiting for your appointment or for your highlights to settle, you can browse numerous necklaces, bracelets, scarves, and housewares all up for sale.
In August of 2004, Claire Hoban, owner and hairstylist, opened Avant Apres Salon in Flourtown.
“I grew up in Mount Airy and have lived in the area since 1981,” Hoban said. “After high school, I went to Willow Beauty Academy, which isn’t open anymore. I have previously worked at a salon in Mount Airy and at Chestnut Hair.”
Since Hoban loves what she does and all the people she works with, she decided to open Avant Apres with other stylists. When the salon opened, in addition to full services, Hoban explained, “We had a few handbags and greeting cards for sale – alls, there was some costume jewelry.”
In 2009, Avant Apres moved to its current location at 821 Bethlehem Pike, behind Erdenheim Cycle. The salon’s stylists can do anything from a basic cut to coloring to elaborate up-dos. Beyond hair, manicurists, pedicurists and masseuses are there for other treatments.
Additionally, Avant Apres offers special occasion parties upon request. Whether you want to grab a couple girlfriends to get head-to-toe makeovers, or celebrate a birthday with a large group, the salon provides it all. You design custom-made packages, selecting which services you want.
Even with the relocation, the salon still hosts local designers’ pieces.
A little more than a year ago, Hoban’s friend Jane Jacquinto opened up her own boutique called Not Just Jane within the salon.
“The setup is beneficial for both of us,” said Jacquinto.
As a resident of Flourtown and Erdenheim all of her life, Jacquinto knows her market.
“My love of shopping for the perfect gift is what inspired me to open Not Just Jane,” Jacquinto said. “Now I can share some of my favorite things with everyone.”
When you walk into the lobby of Avant Apres, off to the left side, Not Just Jane fills the room. Tunic dresses hang on mannequins, tote bags are piled high, and delicately stacked ceramic plates rest on a center table.
Off to the right is the salon’s waiting area. Customers sit on the sofas and chairs, waiting to get their hair done. Meanwhile, they can conveniently browse the overflow of Not Just Jane’s smaller items, such as bangle bracelets, pendant necklaces, and shiny earrings.
Not Just Jane has a wide range of prices from $10 jewelry to more expensive apparel. Bits and pieces of her accessories even come from local craft shows like the Clover Market and Fall for the Arts Festival.
Jacquinto said, “My unique boutique has an assortment of handmade jewelry, housewares, and wedding gifts – also, I have gifts for men, which can be hard to find!” This includes old time razors and golf equipment.
Also, Not Just Jane sells Inspyr Socks, a brand started by a man who lives in Wyndmoor, John Cawley. Selling these socks goes hand in hand with one of Jacquinto’s primary goals: all items be locally made.
“It’s very important to me that eventually all of the boutique’s products are made in the USA,” said Jacquinto.
With a gourmet food line made in the States, locally made accessories, and Inspyr Socks, she’s already part-way to her goal.
Since people see posts on Not Just Jane’s active Facebook page, Hoban said, “we have people coming in just to shop.”
“They’re not even getting their hair done, but they are drawn to Not Just Jane,” she said.
For those who aren’t able to step into the physical boutique, look forward to Not Just Jane’s online store, coming soon to her website. Jacquinto is always looking for suggestions and constantly expanding her boutique.
All in all, Hoban said, “The salon space was a nice way to launch a business.”