Hairstylist Bethanie Brewer has had a penchant for being a beautician practically since she can hold a pair of scissors. A 4 year old girl, she cut, braided and washed the hair of her barbie dolls, and when her grandfather took an afternoon nap, she braided the hair of her arms while he slept.
Brewer, who grew up in Augusta, followed the hairdressing path and the long haul has taken her to nationally renowned events like Miami Swim Week and New York Fashion Week where she worked with teams – alongside other hairdressers honing their talents. They also learned how to do model photo shoots. Paris Hilton was on the catwalk, representing Berlin clothing line Namila in New York. Among the celebrities in attendance were Serena Williams, Ryan Seacrest and Lady Gaga.
As much as she loved her hometown, Brewer hasn’t lived in Augusta for 34 years. Her eyes were on the bigger world, and after graduating from Augusta High School in 1987, she was gone. She graduated from the Vernon School of Cosmetology, worked briefly for a Turkish barber, then opened her own salon and has been an independent business owner ever since.
For the past 25 years, Brewer has owned and operated the Bethanie Brewer Salon in Fort. Worth, Texas. Now it is getting bigger. Remember that scene from the 1989 movie, Steel Magnolias, where salon owner / hairstylist Truvy Jones, played by Dolly Parton, opens a second salon and says, “I’m a chain”? Well, Brewer has opened a second salon.
“I want to bring them the New York side, Californian bohemian and European elegance, even if it’s only for an hour of their day,” Brewer said. “Let there be an escape, for laughs and fun. Beauty will be the end result.
Brewer purchased the JP Lounge, located at 703 E. Belmont, from Joey Patterson, who has owned and operated the store for 11 years. Patterson and her fellow stylists Melia Bane and Adrienne Tanas will continue to work in the salon.
Brewer, who currently has 700 clients, will split his time between his Ft. Worth and Augusta Salons.
COVID has presented challenges to Brewer and his business over the past two years. She had to go out of business for a while. Ashley Dooley, a pi. Worth, Texas recalled how Brewer sent hair coloring supplies to clients, directed them to hair coloring videos and took phone calls, guiding clients through the steps.
In a live Facebook post to her customers at the time, Brewer asked them to be courteous and patient with her.
“Know that I don’t just have your best hair care needs in mind,” she said in the video. “I have your experience in mind too, so trust me with your hair. Trust me with that decision.”
Brewer kept telling himself that conflict comes before success in the dictionary. She spent days in her backyard thinking about ways to care for clients so they would look great in zoom meetings and ‘essential’ jobs.
“I firmly believe in taking care of those who take care of you,” Brewer said.
Brewer now thinks it’s a good time to bring his corporate and salon style to his hometown. She already has a lot of fans.
Ashley Dooley, a pi. Worth customer, has been going to Brewer for their hair for about 10 years. Dooley said she liked the atmosphere in the living room.
“I feel like I can relax and breathe,” Dooley said. “We can talk about anything or we don’t have to talk. It is very welcoming and warm. She is very nice. She has become like a friend. We laugh, we cry, we comb our hair, we talk about hair. I love it.”
The COVID pandemic has created difficulties for Brewer. Brewer said she wanted to provide customers with “the service that makes them glamorous,” which makes them feel comfortable when they are seated in the chair and confident when they step out of the salon.
“It’s definitely an art form for her,” Dooley said. “She is very talented. She has talent for what she does. She has a gift.
Carrie Ankrom, a hairdresser from Brush, Colorado, recalled teaming up with Brewer at the Interntional Hairdressing Awards in Madrid, Spain.
“It was a big situation to walk into,” Ankrom said. “It’s like the first day of school. You don’t know who your people are.
Ankrom was on a team with Brewer and found their skills to match and it was easy to talk to her. “She’s so bubbly,” Ankrom said. “His personality is there. She’s just a good girl and I’m happy for her.
Shannon Martinez grew up with Brewer in Augusta. While visiting her and friends’ home in Kansas, she cut and colored Martinez and her daughter, Tanner’s hair three or four times.
“I always gave her carte blanche to do whatever she wanted (cut, color, style), and the result was amazing every time,” said Martinez. “Beth is fun, friendly and fantastic, and I am delighted that she is coming back to Augusta.”
Brewer said: “I have always been proud of my hometown. I feel like it helped me become who I am, but I wanted to get away, see the world, grow, and step out of my comfort zone.
I think I had something to prove, mainly to myself. I was able to find my true self and learned to stop worrying about what other people think. I used to think my hometown was too small to spend my life there. Now when I come back it hangs up on me. Things go a little slower, people stop and chat. How nice.”
We’ve been a long way since 1987 … and then that’s not the case. Like a flash flame from a DeLorean, Brewer is back. She was into hairstyle from the 80s with red hair and bright colors all the way through to the 90s, mauve, “grass green” and platinum silver hair coloring and beyond. She saw it all disappear and come back.
“Every style comes back as a piece of clothing, but with a little difference,” she said.
Brewer hopes to give his customers a glimpse of a world they may never get the chance to see. She wants them to leave her living room with the glamor and self-confidence to “go big in life”.
“Beauty will be the result,” she said.