By Taylor McKay Hathorn
Jillian’s Salon is celebrating its twentieth year in business, but, for salon owner Jill Hutchison, this milestone is just one signpost along a journey that began when she was just a young girl.
Hutchison moved to Clinton when she was just eleven years old, and her time in the local public schools would be a fitting forecast for her future career.
“In high school, my friends would call me before a dance or a pep rally and ask me to do their hair,” Hutchison recalls. She always strived to help her friends look their best, and, even before she graduated from Clinton High School, Hutchison had already found a way to parlay that love for helping others look their best into a career, enrolling in nail-tech school as a senior in high school.
“I wanted to be able to start in this business when I graduated,” Hutchison remembers. Her future mother-in-law Esther Hutchison, who owned longtime Clinton beauty staple Looks Unlimited, noticed Hutchison’s efforts and rewarded her son’s girlfriend with her first job in the beauty industry. “They did hair [at her salon],” Hutchison observes. “I thought I could do both [hair and nails], so I went back to hair school three years later.”
Her theory proved correct, and Hutchison settled into the business in her hometown, eventually marrying her high school sweetheart and opening her own salon – Jillian’s – after several years in the industry. The salon’s first home was on Clinton Boulevard, and then Hutchison moved to the Clinton Parkway, where she and her team of stylists coiffed an entire generation of Clinton residents, remaining at that location for seventeen years.
In 2019, Hutchison opened a second salon in Olde Towne Clinton, and, in March 2020, she made the decision to consolidate to a single location on the brick streets.
“We love it here,” Hutchison says of her team’s new home in historic Clinton. “Being on the Parkway was great, but I like having a local landlord, and I like having community with other people. We’re down here with Main Street [Clinton], and we’re close to the Chamber of Commerce.”
Hutchison and her staff barely had time to settle into their new space before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered beauty salons across the world for a number of weeks in the spring of 2020.
“It was very stressful for me,” Hutchison remembers, with a sigh. “I love my staff. They’re very important to me, and they’re like my family. I wanted to make sure they were okay, but the business was closed down. I had never taken off more than one week during all my years in business, so that was a big eye-opener for me.”
When Governor Tate Reeves gave the all-clear for business owners to begin easing back into operation, Hutchison and her staff re-opened immediately, eager to have their customers back in their chairs and back under their dryers.
“All of our customers feel at home here,” Hutchison says. “We get to see them, and we get to help them, and we’ve helped with community events.”
For the twenty-year business owner, watching the evolution of her customers and her staff has been a longtime joy and a reward of her dedication to her business.
“Over the years, looking back, I get to see my customers and my staff grow up. “It’s rewarding to me to see my stylists grow their businesses and learn more, and it’s rewarding to see my customers and my staff become great individuals.”