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A Cut Above 

Hair experts and owners Janie Koger-LaPrairie and husband, Ken LaPrairie, are the motivating force, as well as the J, K, and L behind JKL, a Colourcutting Salon.

For 11 years, husband-and-wife team Ken LaPrairie and Janie Koger-LaPrairie, owners of JKL A Colourcutting Salon (3300 Severn Ave., Suite. B, Metairie, 885-8999), have helped clients look their best in a competitive, image-conscious world.

"Everyone wants to look their best," says Koger-LaPrairie, who like her husband has been in the business for more than 20 years. "We have a wide range of clients from 15 to 60 (years old) -- from current savvy baby boomers who need a convenient lifestyle to people who are competing in the work world and need to have updated images." The salon also serves a significant number of men and handles ample bookings for special events like proms and weddings, for which they make on-site calls.

Whoever the customer, LaPrairie says the JKL experience is designed to take both individual lifestyles and trends into account. "Our guests can expect to walk in and have a thorough consultation to meet their needs as well as a stylist or colorist giving input on current trends," he says. "They can expect to achieve what they came in for."

Five years ago, JKL began marketing itself as a "colourcutting salon," emphasizing its hair color services; in that time, the shop has made a name for itself as a top color salon with a loyal following. This year, it was nominated as one of the top three color salons in North America. "Good hair colorists are worth their weight in gold," says Koger-LaPrairie. "People are more loyal to them than their stylists. Color is not easy."

To ensure a high level of skill, the salon recruits employees directly from beauty school and requires them to undergo at least six months of advanced training under the JKL curriculum, specializing in either cut or color. The salon also brings in hands-on educational demonstrations from such companies as Bumble & Bumble and Redken. "We feel it accelerates the quality and image of our salon," LaPrairie says of the approach.

In addition to providing the latest hair cutting and coloring techniques, JKL offers makeup artistry and sells professional product lines by Bumble & Bumble, Redken and MOP (Modern Organic Products). As the lines of demarcation between beauty services offered by spas and salons and cosmetic procedures performed at doctor's offices have blurred and blended, the salon has kept up with that trend as well, expanding its services to include facials, microdermabrasion, and eyelash and eyebrow tinting.

"People love the idea that they can get it all done right here," says Koger-LaPrairie. "They can come on a Saturday or on their day off and get it all done in one place. Convenience is incredibly important."

Avid interest in getting it all done in one place, in fact, is the motivation behind the JKL Makeover, a contest that can be entered until July 14. "Everyone loves a makeover," says Koger-LaPrairie, pointing out the popularity of such television makeover shows as E!'s Fashion Emergency and Rosie O'Donnell's weekly "Makeover Monday" segment. "Everyone wants to know if they can look better; they love seeing what they can be."

Contestants can enter by selecting one of three categories -- ages 15 to 25, 26 to 36, and 37 and up -- then writing a brief paragraph about why they want a makeover and mailing it to the salon. The grand prize winner in each category will receive a complete color change, a makeup update, a facial or microdermabrasion, a fashion photo shoot with Romney Photography and local makeup artist Glenn Mosley, a $100 gift certificate to United Apparel Liquidators, and dinner for two at La Madeleine. Before-and-after makeover pictures of the winners will be published in a JKL ad in Gambit Weekly. The runner up in each category will win a haircut, color and a facial.

"We've had a tremendous response," Koger-LaPrairie says of the contest, which began earlier this month. "It's amazing how many people are entering."

On the younger end of the spectrum, the team says a makeover can provide a boost to everyone from teenagers who are just beginning to date to high school graduates preparing themselves for college, to college graduates making the transition into the workplace. They also can be beneficial to those already involved in careers and to the 37-and-over age range, many of whom are starting to encounter physical changes that come with age. "People can afford hair cuts and color," says Koger-LaPrairie. "They can't always afford a facelift. Maintenance facials once a month can help them feel like they're competing in a younger world.

"Or for the teen whose self-esteem isn't where it needs to be, you'd be surprised what a few highlights can do to make them feel pretty at an important time in their life. We want people to know they can be their best and we can help them."

The salon also wants the makeover experience to be a fun one. Winners will be able to live the fantasy of working in front of the camera in a photo session with a fashion photographer, helped along by hair, makeup and wardrobe specialists. Most of all, the JKL team wants clients, whether they're having a full makeover or a single service, to be happy with the results. "We want people to feel good about themselves," says LaPrairie. "Your service is only as good as (a customer's) last visit. Clients have a choice of coming to see us or going around the corner." -->

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