I discovered Leissa’s Hair Studio and Day Spa on my first trip to Menomonie, Wisconsin a few weeks ago. Menomonie is a quaint college town only about an hour from the Twin Cities. When I walked into the Hair Studio I felt welcomed right away by the atmosphere, the little boutique and the staff who were working there. It is a Day Spa that invites you in from the street. I don’t always feel that when I am walking by a spa/salon. Leissa Berenschot, the owner, wasn’t there that day so I didn’t get to meet her until later. I fell in love with the wild animal motifs painted on the bathroom walls.
I left with a brochure of all of the services from the salon which are extensive and worth the drive.
From the Hair Studio website:
Everyone is talking about Leissa’s Hair Studio and Day Spa…
A Beautiful Experience
Upon arriving at Leissa’s, you will step into a café and margarita bistro. As you stroll into the reception area, you will be surrounded by an array of unique hand painted art from local artists. Your experience begins! From the time that you check in until the time you depart you will have had an experience like no other.
While in our studio, enjoy shopping in our unique boutique. Here you will find tantalizing fragrances, stylish shoes and apparel, knockout hand bags, and trendy jewelry. It’s a great place to just be a girl!’
I wanted to interview Leissa, not just because of the beautiful place she has created but because she has overcome a lot of obstacles to make it happen.
I took a drive back to the Hair Studio on a sunny day in June to meet with Leissa and talk with her. When I arrived, Leissa wasn’t there yet, and her daughter made me feel comfortable by making me a cup of cappuccino. I sat in the bistro and sipped my cappuccino while I waited.
When Leissa arrived she had her Pomeranian puppy in a carrying pouch on her belly and a pan of brownies she had made for our meeting in her hand. Like I said it is a welcoming place!
We had talked over the phone a week earlier and both felt an immediate connection. I had recalled reading somewhere either in the brochure I picked up or on the website about Leissa’s spiritual philosophy but when I went to look for it to refresh my memory I couldn’t find it. Leissa said it was never there, but we agreed that I must have picked it up somehow in a different way.
We talked about spirituality because it was a place we connected right away. Leissa told me that her first spiritual experience happened when she was only three years old. She had fallen into an open hole filled with water. She said she started seeing all different colors, which I have read is common to people who are drowning. Than she felt what she described as a presence and she was lifted out of the hole to safe ground.
She feel there has been a presence with her ever since. Liessa has had numerous experiences where she feels there is something spiritual happening. One thing that happens all of the time is feathers show up in unexpected places. She often finds them around the Hair Studio, especially if she has asked for guidance on something. She feels, and I concur that it is an angelic presence. For example, she recently lost one of her dogs and a few days later her husband was mowing the lawn and found an eagle feather on the dogs grave. I know how hard eagle feathers are to find because I have always hope to find one, so this seem like more than a coincidence.
I am always curious about how someone gets on the path to being an entrepreneur. Leissa told me it was always in her family. Her father owned a drive in restaurant and all the children worked there. He had a strong work ethic and she picked it up and it is with her today, even though she is sick much of the time. She is also very creative which is apparent throughout the Studio. Her mother, who Leissa describes as very beautiful, was a top Mary Kay consultant. She was also involved in the fashion industry and that had an influence on her as well.
When Leissa was a young girl she was teased because of a scar on her lip. She feels this is one of the things that pushed her in the direction of beauty because she understood on a deep level the importance of feeling good about yourself, and what it feels like when you don’t. She loved to experiment with different clothing styles and make-up and people started coming to her for advice. Leissa left home at 16 with a baby and put herself through beauty school with a $100 from her boyfriend. That was almost 27 years ago.
Leissa’s journey has not always been easy and she has over come a lot of obstacles to keep this dream alive. Fifteen years ago she was diagnosed with Chronic fatigue Immune dysfunction, which is not like Chronic fatigue. It attacks the immune system so she suffers from pain in her joints, muscles and nerve endings and is allergic to most everything. She loves what she does but her health keeps her from being able to go to the studio much of the time and she feels guilt because she feels she should be there. She is often unable to get out of bed for weeks at a time because of the fatigue. At one point she found she was no longer able to stand and cut and style hair. Not wanting to give up on her passion she went to massage school so she could incorporate that into the business and do that instead. This is the kind of tenacity Leissa has and passion for what she does. With all she has been through with this illness, she still has a positive attitude and told me,” Mishaps turn into Miracles all of the time!”
The Hair Studio and Day Spa has all the services you would expect such as hair care, massage, facials, make-up, manicures and pedicures, with an added twist. Leissa describes what they do at the Studio and Day Spa as Image Crafting. She defines this as helping a person define the look they want to have for personal development and joyful living. There is a skill to this because you have to be part therapist, part diplomat and have an eye for what would look good on someone. She said they listen to where a person is in their life and help them come up with a look that will serve them best. The diplomat comes in when you have to tell someone who they don’t really look good in the hairstyle they have had all of their lives or that the way they are applying make-up doesn’t look good on them. You have to create a connection that allows for honest feedback that doesn’t offend. Leissa does that with her positive attitude, her honesty and her understanding of current styles. Leissa feels it is important for a person to come into their studio and have a total experience. They want to help clients move forward with their goals by leaving there with the confidence that they can do what ever they dream they can do.
Leissa says the salon has gone through many transformations to get the point it is right now. It started in a space in back of another shop and now it fills the whole space. There are different cozy areas including a boutique, bistro, salon, nail and foot area, and spa area, each with their own personality but also part of the whole ambiance of the Studio.
Speaking of the spiritual, it is clear to me that the warm, welcoming, nurturing environment that has been created at Leissa’s Hair Studio and Day Spa was a highly intuitive, creative process, with help from the angels. I could feel a spiritual presence there. There are 13 people on staff and Leissa said they are always hugging each other, which I saw while I was there. Every where you look is another example of comfort and coziness, as you can see in the photos.
Leissa is very generous, she made me brownies even though she didn’t even know me. She is involved in fundraisers for various charities, through fashion shows and also has gone to high schools to talk to pregnant teens about what their future might be like. She is generous in the Spa as well. She talked about a women coming in three weeks ago that was almost homeless. She gave her a free cut and color and picked out some outfits from the boutique and gave them to her. You wouldn’t think that would be the best way to support someone who is homeless but to help someone feel better about themselves is more helpful than you would think.
Here is an example of Leissa’s intuitive and generous spirit. While we were sitting there chatting, a mom came in with a couple of young children and a daughter who looked like she was in her early twenties. They were raving about the salon and how beautiful it was. Mom said that her daughter was a hair stylist in Dubuque Iowa and they had looked in Leissa’s windows over the weekend and she wanted to come in and look at it. Leissa said ” we have an opening, you should come and work for us’ as she got up to go to where the girl was standing. The younger woman said ” I wasn’t planning on looking for a job” and Leissa said ” things happen for a reason. Before they were done the young woman was thinking about talking with her boyfriend about moving and Leissa was giving her private contact information. Mind you I knew that she wasn’t feeling great and it would have been just as easy to do nothing. She told me she felt a connection right away with the young woman and would love to have her work in the Studio.
Leissa’s Hair Studio and Day Spa is not just another salon, it is a destination. A walk through doors that lead to an experience that is nurturing and nourishing to the soul. You will leave feeling like a king or a queen, with a new spring in your step, because of the royal treatment you have received. Don’t be surprised if you find a feather on your path after your visit.
226 Main Street
Menomonie, WI 54751
Monday 9am-8pm -NEW HOURS Boutique and Salon open for shopping daily
Tuesday- Wednesday -Thursday 9am-8pm
Saturday 8am-2pm Sundays by chance