We had the good fortune of connecting with Cindy Koder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cindy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk taking is having the belief and courage to know you have something unique. The notion to be willing to take a chance and stand for a concept that has not fully been mainstream. As a seasoned stylist of 25 years, I have used various haircare and haircolor products. I have always known that the beauty industry contributes to its fair share of toxicity to the environment and ones personal health. They say “its not the .5% of lead in one Christian Dior lipstick that going to make you sick, its the accumulation of every thing we put in and on our bodies” So with that being said, as a stylist that works with color chemicals and hair care daily, I have to be mindful of my health, my stylist and clients. Out of conscious integrity, I choose products and color that is cleaner and more mindful of integrity of ingredients, sustainability, and toxicity. In light of being a risk taker, I have choose to do business and represent a color line called Original Minerals (O&M) that are non toxic green technology. It is PPD, Ammonia, and Resicnol free and conscious of being as non-toxic as possible while still providing a quality hair color with beatiful shades and excellent grey coverage. It is not usual choice for stylist to make the switch to non toxic color. We have been trained in our time on various ammoniated lines and we learn them like the back of our hand so to switch lines is a learning curve and many just want to stick with what they know. The same goes for haircare and treatments. Many lines are mainstream and stylist and clients go with what is popular until they are educated that they can use clean products and and feel good about what they put in their hair and body. Dew Salon is a beautiful 4 chair salon in the heart of the Nurture wellcare market on Federal. I took a chance to create a one of a kind holistic salon that opened right at the start of the pandemic. We opened in May. It was risky to even prior to the shut down. I brought a holistic concept to a high end collaborative and the rent is high. I believed that I was destined to do this and the Universe conspired in every way for an authentic YES!!! I have tried a 4 different times to open a salon in my 25 years. My first in 2000. It was a beautiful Aveda salon. It was a dream but unfortuatley, I had a partner in which we did not see eye to eye and I had to step away and lost it all. I worked for years as an independent contractor and was a lone ranger is my holistic quest for products that supported a cleaner offering. It took some time to find the products of integrity and performance. After making offers on 3 other spaces, Nurture and Dew were the magical alignment that seemed divinely guided. There is alot to share about my journey, but one thing that feels really important is that the funds to start my salon were from my hard working mom Luella Mae who passed away 2 years ago. She was the heart and soul of my inspiration to be a risk taker. Her story is beautiful as well.
What should our readers know about your business?
Dew Salon is a holistic inspired salon in the heart of the Nurture Well-care Market. Dew is a salon that specializes in non-toxic, Clean color and hair care. We offer healing hair treatments for the scalp and hair for both women and men. What sets us apart from other salons is the holistic approach to hair care. In a world where beauty care is essential to how people feel about themselves, we are proud to offer products to enhance their natural beauty from a non toxic concept.. Women have been coloring their hair for decades and it feels in high integrity to use color that does not have ammonia, resinol or PPD’s which over time are toxic to the system. This goes for all the products we choose to put on our bodies. We are excited to be a part of a wellness collective at Nurture amongst wellness practitioners such as massage therapist, acupuncturist, mental health therapist, pilates, IV bar, and many many more. Nest cafe is also a beautiful cafe in our community offering organic and wholesome food. Dew is a featured center piece with in collective of business focused on mind, body, spirit and mental wellness. My journey to creating Dew has been on the horizon for many years. After my first attempt of opening a salon in the early 2000’s it just didn’t work out due to irreconcilable differences and misalignment with a partnership. It was devastating but naturally I learned alot about business, and choosing wisely. I became an independent contractor for 18 years after that experience and my quest as a holistic stylist about 15 years ago. I was inspired by the Aveda philosophy since 1993 when I started at my first salon. I understood the value in natural products and developed a love of mind, body and spirit in my early 20’s as a stylist and yoga teacher. We are so much more than hair stylists. We are confidants, counselors, and life long friends. We connect people to their inner beauty as well as their outer image. I was blessed to be turned on to the likes of Deepak Chopra and Dr. Andrew Weil through Aveda stylist education and it was life changing to my practice. I moved to Denver in 1992 from a small town in Northern Colorado called Platteville to go to Cosmetology school at the ripe age of 21. Denver was a big city compared to the small town life in Northern Colorado and the 90’s were good wild times as a stylist. I began my career in the heart of Capitol hill off 13th and Pennsylvania where mohawks and leather pants were spotted on a regular. Record shops, clubs, and small boutiques were right around the way. It was a creative blast for me and fellow stylist to be in the mix of all of that. I was trained in the Aveda world which turned me on to the concept of natural beauty, wellness, Ayurveda, herbs, and holistic beauty. I was trained by one of the best in Denver and we had a strong Aveda community. I later went on to a hot small salon still in Cap hill in which we rocked the mid 90’s with fashion shows, bands, club scenes as well as business people, artists, and everyday folks. In 2000 I opened my own salon with a partner. off 17th and Clarkson. It was beautiful and had great potential. Unfortunately after a year I I had a major fail in this business as my partner and I ended up not being cut from the same cloth. Without telling all the intense details. I walked from the business and we had a written buy out agreement and she bailed filing bankruptcy right before she was to pay me. It was horrible. . It was one of the most stressful times of my life. I bounced back and became an independent contractor again in the budding Denver Highlands and found myself quite successful. I went on to have 2 amazing Children in 2003 and 2005 Haven and Zen. They are now 17 and 14 and doing their best to manage home school and social isolation during these covid times. It is not what I hoped and dreamed for them but I have to trust in the bigger picture. It is not easy for any of our kiddos. I began my quest to use non toxic color about 15 years ago and it was quite the journey.. The initial color lines were just not cutting it. It was runny, it didn’t cover grey and I had many re-dos. It just didn’t cut it. I had to give up on it and go back to my good ol standby but I still longed not to breathe in ammonia. Finally, my distributor Simply Organic offered a line called Oway and I gave it a try. It was much better. It smelled delightful and it covered grey. It is a line from Italy and it was so refreshing to offer clean color. It got even better when Original Minerals came out in addition to Oway. I had everything I ever dreamed of in clean color technology. I found that many women love it and in a world where the awareness that hair color can be toxic to the point of cancer causing for both stylist and clients, I felt so much better knowing I was using quality products. Since the close of my 1st salon I was happy to be independent for years but I yearned to create my own space and concept. 2 years ago I began the quest to start over and begin looking at spaces. I made a few offers on some spaces in the Sloans/Slo-hi area but it just wasn’t in the cards, they both just didn’t pan out but they say, things happen for a reason. I had a conversation with Peter Strauss, the owner of Nurture 3 years ago at Red Rocks at a Micheal Franti concert. He shared his vision of a collection of Wellness community under one roof. I told him to keep me in mind as it evolved. As it came to fruition he acquired the former Thatelolco school on Federal and Speer next to Walgreens. My name got dropped by a few people as one of the only stylists in Denver doing Organic clean color. It was a divine fit for me. Dew was born March 2020 right in the beginning of a Pandemic. I had to take pause for 2 months to be at home on “lock down” and work on my business plan and sold color retouches off my front porch for clients struggling with their grey roots. I honestly was thankful for the time to hon in my business but who would have ever thought we would be in a situation like this. We opened our doors in mid May. I opened with 2 lovely stylists Shay and Sonya and we have been blessed ever since. We seem to be keeping pretty busy all things considered but we could still use more business however, we understand that the times and priority is keeping people safe. I have learned that sometimes things come in their own divine timing. I pushed things because I saw the potential and it seemed like it could work out but I did not do my due diligence. I just jumped in faith which has its place but in smart business, it’s ok to take one’s time and negotiate and lay all the facts and agreements on the table first before just jumping in with both feet. I have lost a lot of money, time and heartache by not doing so. This is my hard lesson. When I think of what I want the world to know about me in regard to Dew is that it was made possible because of my mother Luella Mae Koder. She passed away 3 years ago and the money I inherited was from the sale of her home. She was a hard working woman who was an entrepreneur herself. She owned a German restaurant in Greeley, a liquor store, and then a country bar and restaurant in the small town of Kersey. She had pecial place in many people’s hearts and gave the best advice to many. She always wanted me to have a salon again so I opened Dew in her honor. I don’t know that it would have been as graceful had I not had her blessing of investment money to make it happen. Her guidance and creative tenacity resides in my heart daily.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow!! What question. Tonight I have been lementing on how real it is that all of our favorite classics in Denver are no longer. I loved Vesta dipping Grill, El Chapultepec, 17th Avenue Grill and so many places. Remember I am old school in a way and I have watched this city change so much since 1992. I could have planned a whole evening for someone and given them names of people to ask for to get VIP treatment. I guess right now, I really don’t have an grounded creative answer to the question. I guess, I would suggest an nice drive up to the mountains, perhaps a stay in at the hotsprings, hikes, walks around the park and some good take out. This feels really sad to me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thank you for asking. I would say, my creative inspiration as a stylist starting back in my early career as an Aveda stylist. The concept in the 90’s was very much based on the lifestyle of botanical products, the environment, health, wellness, spiritual and emotional growth. I was enlightened by Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil, and many other new though leaders in Aveda Congress festivals. My path has evolved as a budding stylist of 21 in years of a mindful path. I have studied and taught Kundalini yoga, meditation and countless workshops on feminine enrichment. The path of the Peaceful Warrior has been a great inspiration of late but my all time favorite is Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. It was my first insight into new thought paradigm that made sense to me. Brene Brown has been a lovey source of inspiration as well. Connection and understanding another though vulnerability is a heartful way have compassion for one another. I would say though. My mom Lou Koder. has been my greatest source of inspiration. As a single mom, she raised my sister Christina and I to be strong independent woman with creative insight to go for it! She opened 3 businesses in my youth and and I learned alot about blood, sweat and tears along with the blessings of being a good person.
Instagram: Dewsalondenver and Cindy_Koder
Facebook: Dew Salon Denver
Yelp: Dew Salon
Other: I need to refine my linked in.
I am waiting on new salon photos that were taken next week. I will send you as soon as possible. This is not the one I want to use but i needed something to complete the intake