Pretty as a Peacock

Story: John Sotomayor

The motif is evident with just one look.  Whether you glance at the peacock statuettes that adorn the storefront windows or the peacock feather tattooed on the left arm of the proud owner of The Plumage Hair Company – Ellen Cuddy. The business and all who work there or patrons the place are proud as peacocks – with good reason. The service and ambiance are fabulous. And you feel fabulous being and leaving there.

Decorated with masterfully arranged vases with teal roses, Calla lilies, orchids, hibiscus and hydrangea, peacock statues on the marble floor or countertop, teal curtains and a sprawling mural of a peacock feather designed by local tattoo artist Joe Reformato behind an ornate reception desk and wrought iron chandelier, the symbolism says it all – you deserve and will get the very best.

To Ellen, who hails from New York City and has honed and cherished her career for four decades, all hairdressers “are peacocks in people suits.” As such, they want to help others connect with their inner peacock. To Ellen, a peacock represents brilliance, flamboyance and glamour. The best way a peacock can truly be itself is to break out of uniformity and express itself individually.

To accomplish that, Ellen devised a business model that allowed her team – Sherry, Emily, Jennifer, Rachel and Ellen’s daughter Kiera – to be themselves. Many have honed their skills from all over the country but were limited by the corporate structure of their previous employers. Ellen included.

“There are so many rules – some of them ridiculous – and I think when you are talking about creative personalities, it stifles them,” said Ellen. Ellen rebelled against it.

The result is The Plumage Hair Company, a full service, reasonably priced, upscale hair salon with made up of a team of diverse, eclectic stylists that bring talent, skill and expertise to Ocala from all over the country.

“The whole idea is we want the rest of the world to be beautiful as well – just like us!” said Ellen. “In corporate, the emphasis is placed on selling product and treat customers like an assembly line – get them in, get them out.”

Instead, Ellen prefers to create an environment that is more conducive to the creative spirit. She also emphasizes the importance of establishing a place where people want to come in and socialize – like the good ol’ days.

“Unfortunately, many of the shops aren’t like that anymore,” said Ellen then asked rhetorically, “Don’t you want to come in and relax? Enjoy yourself while you are getting done up or a haircut?”

To Ellen, running her own business would not be worth doing unless it was fun. With specialty names like The Gleaming, Feature Duo, and The Strut, it is easy to see why this new salon is as fun as it is friendly.

Salon hours are 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Mon, Fri and Sat. On Tues, Wed and Thurs the salon is open to 8 p.m., closed on Sundays.  For appointments call 352.867.7776. Walk-ins are welcomed.

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