Inspiration fills tiny room

DeWayne Bartels

Navigating the Five Senses Spa and Salon practically requires a map.

Not too far from the front desk just off a peaceful setting for hair services is a small room.

The room may be tiny, but for owner Paola Hinton, it is very special.

This is the wig room, designed to help those with hair loss or thinning hair due to a medical, genetic or hormonal condition.

There were two influential inspirations for the room.

One is professional.

“There was a doctor who I had a conversation with that explained that she is good at providing the care to help an individual overcome illness. She said when a patient asks, ‘When will I lose my hair?’ the doctor is only able to answer the uncertain question with ’14 to 17 days into treatment.’” Hinton said.

“The doctor mentioned  hair loss is not an area that doctors are well-versed in, since it might not be an area of expertise. They can explain that hair loss can be an issue due to the treatments, however they are not familiar with the different options should hair loss be experienced. Five Senses helps fill in the blanks.” 

The other inspiration is very personal.

“My personal inspiration for this room is my nonna (grandmother in Italian) Pina who passed away in 1992. She struggled with ovarian cancer that then spread to different parts of her body,” Hinton said. 

“As a child, I didn’t understand everything that is going on, but knew that grandma was not feeling well.”

After college, Hinton learned her ISU marketing professor Dr. Jill Attaway, whom she had grown close to, was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

“Now a little older than when my nonna was sick, I was more aware of the issues surrounding illnesses. Although I was no longer in a classroom setting, Jill taught me the different ways that people go through their journey,” Hinton said. 

“As time has gone on, I am now witnessing family and friends that are aging and diagnosed with different illnesses and cancers. The emotions that surround the individual and the people close to them is what has me confident in the decision that I have made in creating the private styling station.”

She created the station and filled it with a selection of human and synthetic hair wigs that look realistic and allow the scalp to “breathe.” 

The salon offers complimentary care for their wigs, and we can cut and style them.

“The private styling station was a vision of mine before we opened. The space was specifically designed to create this private setting for services that needed to be discrete,” Hinton said.

Before the salon even opened, Hinton realized how important this room was to her.

She hired a designer to help with the traffic pattern and flow of the business.

Hinton wanted to create a unique experience in the many different areas of the spa and salon.

She wanted a custom-built pedicure throne, adjoining couples spa room, a Vichy shower, a chocolate fountain in the spa waiting room, fiber optic stars in the shampooing area and a private styling station in the salon area.

“Without question, the designer was nodding to all my desires, except for her confused look when I mentioned the private styling station. She commented that it would be so secluded from the rest of the salon that it would probably not be a good business investment,” Hinton said. 

“I smiled and explained the purpose of the room. Without hesitation, she jotted down the idea and helped me create the most rewarding room in our facility.” 

Hinton said she realized rent still has to be collected on the space, regardless if it is used or not.

Hinton said she realized the space still has to be furnished with equipment and tools, and with the limited space for the spa and salon as a whole, it would have been great to make use of the space for another area. 

Still, she moved forward with it.

“We all have the responsibility to make the world a better place,” Hinton said.

“I found my opportunity to help with the private styling station and all the positive feelings that are generated from that room and beyond.”