Not a salon: Beauty bar opens on Main Street in Kennebunk –

KENNEBUNK, Maine – You might be looking at that headline and wondering: what is a beauty bar?
Chanel Hillman can tell you. She opened one this month at 22 Main St. in Kennebunk.
The place is called Chanel Frances & Co., and it offers treatments for skincare, lash extensions, body waxing and brow enhancement.
There are no hair services — no cutting or coloring, Hillman said — so that eliminates calling her shop a salon. And you can’t call it a spa either because the services are not luxury-based — you’re not going to be “putting on a robe to get a facial,” Hillman said.
“We’ll do quick treatments,” Hillman added. “It’s the female version of a man’s barber shop.”
Hillman has been a licensed aesthetician for a decade now and continues to train and educate herself about her field, according to a press release from the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce. Chamber representatives were on hand to ceremoniously snip the ribbon April 30 on Hillman’s new venture. The next day, the beauty bar was open for business.
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A resident of Cumberland, Hillman said she found this space in Kennebunk, sat down at her dining room table with her partner, Rusty, and began sketching ideas for what her bar could look like. They discussed what she wanted the “vibe” of the place to be: an open concept, despite the small and narrow space, and an easygoing and comforting place where people notice it’s clean and friendly.
The bar features two treatment stations, complete with adjustable aesthetician beds and separated by half-walls and tall, black curtains that enclose each space for privacy. The walls are painted bright white, a departure from the blue and peach colors of the jewelry shop that occupied the space before.
“I was going for a medical aesthetic – very clean and simple,” Hillman said.
For Hillman, the beauty bar makes her first business venture. Previously, she worked out of booths she rented at other salons. She learned the basics of running one’s own place by watching the business operations around her.
Hillman said some people have been stopping by her bar, checking out the new place as they walk by. She also said her Facebook and Instagram accounts have been gaining traction. She added that she’s hoping the coming wedding season and the expected summer tourists will provide a boost.
Walk-ins are welcome, and clients can book appointments online, as well, according to Hillman. Customers can enter through doors on Main Street or Garden Street – the latter of which provides free, more ample parking, she noted.
Hillman said she is currently looking to hire a fellow full-time aesthetician, a part-time one, and, sometime this summer, a nurse who can perform injections, such as for Botox.
Currently, Chanel Frances & Co. is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. To learn more, call or text (207) 751-7719 or visit .
Hillman said she has had a lot of support as she has ventured out on her own – her family and friends and her partner, in particular, have been there for her.
“I have felt very surrounded by people,” she said. “It’s been great so far.”
And that goes for the community of Kennebunk, too, including her professional colleagues at local salons, according to Hillman.
“Everybody seems so welcoming – very friendly and helpful,” she said.
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