Mallory Johnston displays the unique artwork in her loft at Mally J’s Salon, 19 W. Victory Way. The business, which Johnston owns, opened two weeks ago and offers hair, tanning and nail services. Though she employs other people, Johnston will also be a stylist once she obtains her cosmetology license in May.

Photo by Brian Smith

Mallory Johnston displays the unique artwork in her loft at Mally J’s Salon, 19 W. Victory Way. The business, which Johnston owns, opened two weeks ago and offers hair, tanning and nail services. Though she employs other people, Johnston will also be a stylist once she obtains her cosmetology license in May.

My Life, My Words: Mallory Johnston — ‘New business, new life’

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“I got licensed for the business about Feb. 28, but I didn’t open for the public until the 28th of March. I’m not a licensed cosmetologist yet. I just own the business for now, until I get my license May 21. Then I’ll be a full-time stylist here.

“Business has been good. We’ve been getting a lot of people for the tanning bed because it’s tanning season. Tan season around here is really big, and right before spring break it’s really busy. My dad had asked me where to get a tanning package, and so I thought I’d just open one myself. There’s been more tanning traffic.

“My mom (Susan Johnston) is my main stylist right now, and I have one nail tech. We’ve been doing a lot of pedicures and manicures.

“I graduated (from Moffat County High School) in 2002, and then I went to college off and on. I went to hair school in 2002, and didn’t like it at that time. I came home, had my first little girl, got in some trouble, then went back to school, and now I own the salon.

“My daughter’s 6 years old, she’s in kindergarten. Her name’s Amy Drea. She has really, really long hair. I cut it all the time. She’s not interested in cutting hair, she wants to be a ballerina. I wasn’t interested in it either. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a brain surgeon.

“I came back to town in 2010. Before that I was in Denver in prison in 2009. I got in some trouble, and it wasn’t a good time for anybody. I didn’t have my daughter the whole time I was there, and she needed me. I’m also pregnant right now, and I’ve got a boyfriend and fiancé, so it all just turned around quick.

“I’m seven months along. I’m having a little boy. I’m going to bring him to work with me, and my daughter will be here with me. My loft is all for kids. My boyfriend is an artist and a lot of my friends do artwork, and so instead of just having somebody paint some nice colors or whatever, I decided to just keep it bright and have my daughter and my son’s names painted up there.

“The artist that I had do it went off and did whatever else he wanted. He made a little comb monster and there’s a My Little Pony coloring book up there that he went off of. It turned out amazing because it’s bright and colorful. The kids love it, there’s chalkboard walls up there and they can go up there and draw and do whatever. They don’t ever want to leave, so it’s kind of noisy at times, but it’s good.

“No salon in Craig has a place for kids. They might have little coloring books or something, but nothing where they can play. That’s one of the reasons I opened up the salon because having day care for two kids is hard, especially all summer. My daughter doesn’t want to go to the Boys & Girls Club every day. She will when they go swimming or something, but not every day.

“I’m bilingual in Spanish and English. I don’t think there’s any other licensed cosmetologist in a salon here who can say that.”

— Interview by Andy Bockelman

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