A new business aimed at helping customers achieve healthy skin has opened in downtown Ripon.
Skin & Out Facial Bar, located at 129 East Jackson St., is accepting clients by appointment, Wednesday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The business is closed Sundays through Tuesdays.
Skin & Out owner and skin-care therapist Carley Harmon recently moved her business from Columbus, Wis., to Ripon as she lives in Oshkosh and the drive to Columbus was getting to be “a little too much.”
She’s thrilled about the move as Skin & Out is upgrading from a “little, closet-sized room in the back of a salon” to a full storefront in downtown Ripon.
While her storefront is reminiscent of a salon, Harmon doesn’t offer hair services as she specializes in skin care, eyebrows and eyelashes.
She noted the business looks like a salon because she wants it to be a conversational environment with her clients.
“This is a really different environment from a traditional spa,” Harmon said. “Usually, when you get facials, you go into this dark room, there’s like no windows, the lights are off, you have to change into a robe, you climb under blankets in this bed. It’s very intimate, it’s very quiet and a lot of people fall asleep.”
At Skin & Out Facial Bar, however, Harmon talks with her customers through the process, describing herself as a “teacher of skin first and a service provider second.”
“I want it to feel like you’re hanging out with friends just doing face masks, while learning about skin,” she said.
Harmon became interested in skin care at a young age as she “always loved playing with makeup.”
“When you’re a young girl, it’s really easy to feel really uncomfortable in your own skin, especially if you suffer from things like acne or other skin conditions,” she said. “I have a birthmark on my cheek, so I always grew up uncomfortable in my own skin. It always made me want to help other people feel more comfortable.”
In developing the name for her business, Harmon said she wanted to come up with something that was short and to the point.
“I wanted people to see the name and know exactly what I am,” she said. “I focus on skin, but I also do more things with skin. The facial bar aspect comes from I didn’t want to call it a spa, because it doesn’t really have a spa environment and it’s more set up like a salon, like a little bar of facials.”
Although Harmon grew up in the Beaver Dam area, she’s “always loved Ripon” for its small-town charm and historic nature from visiting the community multiple times over the years.
She added that the low vacancy rate downtown also helped fuel her decision because it made her feel like Ripon was a safe community to open a new business in.
“I’ve been keeping my eye on it for the last couple of years and I just couldn’t find anything that was in my price range,” she said. “Nothing felt right, but when this place finally opened up — after three years of searching — I was like, ‘I don’t even need to see it, I’m taking it.’”
Right now, her focus is on getting the business established and becoming part of the local business community. But she eventually hopes to hire more skin care therapists as she is Skin & Out’s only employee.
“I’m marketing. I’m finance. I’m doing the services. I’m dealing with customers face to face. And then I also have a part-time job,” Harmon said. “It’s a lot, but it’ll all work out in the end.”
When Skin & Out eventually expands to hire more employees, she hopes to be a mentor to those who are relatively new to skincare.
“It’s really hard to find good employment in the spa industry; it’s very hard on your body and the pay isn’t good, so I really want to offer people a place to start,” Harmon said. “I want to be the person that I needed first starting out.”