When asked about what she loves most about her career, Mirror Image Salon and Day Spa owner Tina Jenkins responds with a ready smile and says “making someone look good and feel good is awesome.”
And she must be doing just that because on Jan. 1 she’ll celebrate her 14th year as the owner of the full service salon and day spa located at 1602 Route 12 in Gales Ferry.
“She went from working for someone else to owner of her own business,” said Mary Furey one of Jenkins’ loyal customers. “She has come all he way up the ladder.”
Having graduated in 1983 from Ledyard High School, Jenkins said she tried the college thing for a little while and then was introduced to hairdressing by her high school friend Lori, the master stylist at Fantasia in Mystic. Lori was a big influence on Jenkins and helped her get started at Fantasia, where she ended up working for 13 years.
“We used to ‘foof’ girls’ hair in the bathroom and then I’d give them my business card,” laughed Jenkins. “That was when I was in my 20s.”
Jenkins earned a great reputation and after someone asked, “why don't you open your own shop?" she said she had never thought about it and then, two months later decided to go for it.
She said that with two small children and living in town made it really convenient to open in Gales Ferry and the “best thing is that all my clients followed me.”
“She is always so accommodating for me, she’s a great hairdresser and a great person,” said Mary Furey of Oakdale, as Jenkins painted her hair with color. “She knows her products and styles and colors.”
Furey was one of Jenkins’ first clients and also followed her after her move from Fantasia.
Now, fourteen years later, Jenkins shop has seen some changes. She now has four full-time employees (plus herself) and after expanding to offer tanning and facials she downsized the business as her family grew. Jenkins said she wanted to slow things down a little and “it is nice to have a quaint little shop.”
“Change is good,” said Jenkins. “We like change here.”
In fact, Jenkins said her dream client or request would be someone who comes in and asks for something totally different.
“I think everyone should change something (about their look) every season,” she said. Whether it be a new cut or color Jenkins said she loves to help people transform themselves and make them say “wow.”
Jenkins attends seminars and workshops often because trends and styles change and products and techniques are updated. She said her specialty is color.
As far as trends go, she noticed that kids are definitely getting their hair colored at a younger age. Long layered shags, inverted updated bobs and dimensional coloring is very popular for girls and for guys, the "Adam Levine” look, which is messy on top and short on the sides. Jenkins said that men should know it’s not a typical “girlie salon.”
Other changes she has seen are that products are getting better (and more expensive) although she hasn’t increased her prices in five years.
“The best thing people can do is stay away from bleach, she said. “And condition their hair.”
Mirror Image Salon and Day Spa is open 7-day a week and is a unisex salon. “We accommodate anyone at anytime” and walk-ins are always welcome. They do cuts, styles, up-dos, progressive color, perms, manicures, pedicures and waxing.
Tina is married to John “Erick” Jenkins, a Police Officer with the City of Groton and has two daughters Ericka, a senior and Cassidy, a sophomore at Ledyard High School.