Even before she opened her salon in 2005, Mende Naylor knew firsthand about the benefits of the Merle Norman philosophy, “Try before you buy.”
In fact, she launched her business based on that very thinking.
After several years working in a nearby Merle Norman salon, Naylor was inspired to pursue a career as an esthetician. Once she finished school and attended special training at Merle Norman’s headquarters in California, Naylor recruited her sister, Leah, and the two opened their own Merle Norman salon in Navarre.
Naylor, like many women, had tried other cosmetics, but once she discovered Merle Norman, she was hooked.
“I had done what many women do and tried a lot of things,” said Naylor, a licensed esthetician. “What I love about Merle Norman is that it is a collectively great brand. There is a lot to offer and I wanted to share that.”
One glance at the Merle Norman Elite Salon and you might think it’s just another beauty parlor. Step inside and you’ll think otherwise.
The air is marked by a quiet sophistication and the unmistakable fragrance of powders. Ambient lighting accents walls lined with neat rows of beautifully scripted bottles and boxes. Brushes, sponges and wands stand poised in neat containers, ready for their use. It’s hard to imagine Navarre’s busiest thoroughfare, U.S. Highway 98, exists right outside.
“My goal was to create a professional and friendly atmosphere for my customers,” Naylor said. “That way, they can be comfortable trying something new and discovering everything we have to offer.”
In addition to a full line of cosmetics, Naylor also stocks skin cleansers, lotions, moisturizers and sunscreens.
“Merle Norman offers a lot of different products for a lot of different people,” Naylor said. “What I like is that their products are consistently good. In that respect, they sell themselves.”
Currently, Merle Norman has a new Brilliant-C line of skin care, which is an advanced brightening system that uses Vitamin C and other brightening agents to help diminish spots and discoloration, improving skin clarity and luminosity. They also have an Age Defying Serum, a potent vitamin-enriched serum that helps boost skin’s natural defenses from environmental stressors, helping slow down the signs of aging and repair past damage. Naylor said some of the perfect spring or summer foundations they have available are the Sheer Defense Tinted Moisturizer, Purely Mineral Makeup, or new Aqua Balance Makeup. All are lightweight, oil-free, and provide coverage without caking.
More than just makeup, Naylor sells a personal experience.
“I have a personal concern for people’s results,” she said. “I like seeing people’s skin transformed. Seeing these results really builds a trust with my customers.”
Faithful customer Amity Parrish agrees. After years of breakouts and even a prescription from a dermatologist, Parrish had resigned herself to living with problem skin.
“I accidentally stumbled upon the shop,” said Parrish, “and I’m so glad I did. Mende is a skin care guru. She really cares about her customers and it shows.”
Naylor worked with Parrish, providing skin treatments and recommending products, and now Parrish boasts smooth, nearly flawless, skin.
“Mende taught me so many things about my skin,” Parrish said. “She didn’t just take care of me; she taught me how to take care of myself.”
In addition to frequent visits for cosmetics and skin care products, Parrish also goes to the salon to “decompress,” a trait not lost on Naylor.
“I really wanted a space where my customers could relax,” Naylor said. “I’m not here to just sell people things they don’t need. I really care about skin care and with so many great products, I feel like I’m sharing a passion.”
Naylor said her biggest challenge in owning the salon is overcoming the stigma that Merle Norman is geared toward an older generation of women.
“This is not our mother’s or grandmother’s makeup,” Naylor said. “ Many people misinterpret this product. Merle Norman has some of the most up-to-date products out there and they work hard to maintain their high standards.”
In addition to her passion for skin care and cosmetics, Naylor is equally enthusiastic about establishing a special rapport with her customers.
“One of the things I like best about owning a salon in Navarre is that my customers have become my friends,” she said. “In this business, people are key. I know that and I appreciate each of my customers.”
In keeping with her commitment to both her customers and her products, Naylor enforces the “try before you buy” philosophy. She offers each customer a complimentary makeover and skin evaluation and guarantees each product.
“People don’t realize their skin can change over time,” Naylor said. “They may need different products as often as the seasons change. The great thing about Merle Norman is that there really is something for everyone here.”
The salon, situated just a few miles west of the Navarre Beach Bridge, offers a full line of Merle Norman cosmetics, as well as waxing services, customized facials and glycolic treatments, and a full-service hair salon.
To make an appointment, or to find out more about Merle Norman cosmetics and skin care, call Mende Naylor at 936-7006.
Merle Norman Elite Salon
1819 Alpine Ave.
Navarre, FL 32566
9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri.
9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.