Carmen Gauer-Wigmans always dreamed big. Even back in 1981, when she was still a student in the cosmetology program, she wanted to have her own salon. No wonder that when the fantasy became a reality she named her salon Reve. European beauty concepts - "reve" means "dream" in French - also played a big part in her business plan.
Carmen spent her first few years working for someone else and in 1987, she made the leap from employee to employer and opened her own shop in Sylvania's Oak Tree plaza. The salon employed eight people and concentrated on cuts and color. Over time it developed an enthusiastic client base.
Reve needed to expand. Beauty was starting to be defined as more than a great hair cut. Over the next several years, she visited salons across the United States and Europe looking for inspiration. She purchased the former Masonic temple, in Sylvania's Historic District. The building was in sad shape, but behind the dowager facade, Carmen saw the bones of a debutante. With the right attention to detail, this forgotten space could be reborn as a comfortable spa where women could experience their renewal.
Today, the building on Main Street is a hive of hip and warm service. After two renovations, the result is a light, bright, five-story salon and spa that includes room for 20 cutting stations, a central color bar, eight pedicure spas and six nail booths. From the mezzanine you look out over a cappuccino bar and retail boutique. Reve now boasts a full line of organic body treatments for treatments in the Day Spa and Vichy Shower room. Special full and half day packages are available for new brides, mothers-to-be, moms, couples, men and, in Carmen's words, "the just plain stressed out."
Through extensive travel and experience, Carmen knows what health and beauty trends are making news, and it's her goal to make sure Toledo-area women are offered the same innovative experiences found in New York, California and abroad. The salon and spa is brightly decorated with contemporary European furnishings, and personnel are given ongoing training in terms of both service and product. Reve clients appreciate the salon's unique-to-the-area offerings of Kerastase luxury hair products and Skin Medica body and face treatments. Shu Uemura is a third line that generates excitement.
With that much activity you might think the mood at Reve would be frantic, but instead ambience is chic yet comfortable, exciting but non-intimidating. Carmen and her Dutch-born husband with the help of professional designers, designed much of the space based on their understanding of European understatement; the couple met in 1988 when Carmen attended the World Hairdressing Championships in Germany, and they now have two children. "Reve has become an extension of who we are, live, eat, sleep, breathe," she says. "Staff and clients are like part of an extended family."
In 2006, Reve won Salon Today magazine's 'Salon of Distinction' award and the former Sylvania dowager has been recognized three times as one of the magazine's "200 fastest growing salon and day spas."
Carmen believes in "giving back." Over the years, Reve has sponsored several charity events, and with space opened up by the last renovation - which also brought calming noise-cancellation technology to the spa areas - Reve can host larger gatherings. In addition to it's daily menu of services, Reve opens it's doors to private events and gatherings. Bridal parties, mother's groups, and 'girls night out-ers' have combined food and drinks with mini-facials and hair cuts. "Whatever people want," Carmen says, "we can cater it."
What it comes down to, she says, is Reve's emphasis on personalized attention. "That's what makes us different," she says. "We want to give clients a great beauty experience, not just a great hair cut. Everyone feels better with a little rejuvenating."