This week we’re interviewing an amazing mom of four from Beverly: Corey Fealtman. Corey is the owner of Michelle James Salon, a beautiful, bright space, located in Manchester-by-the-Sea. We were inspired with Corey’s story and how she balances business ownership and motherhood (hint: she’s super passionate about both and super organized!). We also loved learning that the salon is named after Corey (Michelle is her middle name) along with her husband and daughter. James is her husband’s first name, and her daughter’s middle name. Two and half years after opening, she also named her son James. So in many ways the salon is truly a family business. We hope you enjoy Corey’s interview!
Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
I am originally from Easton, Massachusetts, and now live in Beverly.
How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
I have 4 wonderful children ages seven, six, four and two.
What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore?
I love Family Farm Day at Appleton Farms and I secretly love the Topsfield Fair. Fall is my favorite season so you will see me participating in anything that has to do with pumpkins and cider donuts.
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore?
My favorite place to eat is Hale Street Tavern. We live nearby and have grown to love the staff and the neighborly feel. The sushi is to die for.
You’re the owner of Michelle James Salon in Manchester-by-the-Sea. Tell us a little bit about your background and why you decided to open the salon.
I’ve always had a passion for hair. I styled all my friends hair for their proms and all the school dances. After college and cosmetology school, I started my career on Newbury Street and ended up training under one of the top colorists in Boston. Her mentorship brought me to the North Shore and I fell in love with it.
I grew my clientele in Hamilton for twelve years and ventured on my own in 2014. With a love for making people and spaces pretty, I created Michelle James Salon. A beautiful little spot, in a gorgeous little town, for you to get pampered and unwind. Every woman needs a space they can come to relax!
What are some of the services you specialize in at Michelle James Salon?
I specialize in natural hair color. Many clients bring photos of themselves when they were younger or of their daughters or sons and they want that sun-kissed, natural look. With me that is what you’ll get. I also love doing finish work to complete the look. That moment when you see yourself in the mirror once you’re colored, blown out and styled is why I love my job. There’s a certain air of confidence that shines from my clients and that’s empowering.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am obsessed with vampires. My friends still make fun of me because in our 20s, when we would be out and about, I’d start going on about what if I were a vampire right now. But shhh…because only my besties know that.
Any tips for balancing work & motherhood?
The only way my worlds work is by being organized. After dinner, I make four school lunches and then we all go upstairs and pick out their clothes for the next school day. My three girls are picky about their clothes and I like to honor their desire for self expression.
I maintain individual binders for all our kid’s appointments, schoolwork, etc. I enjoy the old-fashioned written calendar, but also rely on technology for reminders and a calendar on the go. Between owning a salon and having four children, a husband and a dog, the ball moves quickly. Being organized at home helps me to be able to focus solely on work when I’m at the salon. Thankfully I have a great team at the salon that helps keep me sane.
What is the best piece of mom advice you ever received?
I always felt guilty for having my nanny come to help out on one of my days off from work each week–financially and the fact that it meant I was away from my kids even more. My best friend, who is also my financial advisor, said to me, “You need her for your sanity.”
I think as women we feel we have to give, give, give. And if we work the guilt is multiplied. When I’m at the salon I never sit down. When I’m at home there is always a child on my body. One gets off, the next is right there waiting to jump on. We need a few hours a week to do something for ourselves. Go get your nails done, go sit in your car at West Beach and stare at the ocean or go lay in bed for a half hour if that’s what you need. You deserve it mama.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me” time?
My favorite thing to do is read. I used to read all the time, book after book. I find now with work and kids that my only time to read is before I go to bed. When I attempt this I fall asleep after one page. So when I do have some time during the day, I go down to the beach and read. In my car or on a beach chair–it’s heaven to me. I also love a good manicure to make me feel like a human being again.