Business

Bringing Paris to Qualicum Beach

Rena Weme, owner of BelleFemme Boutique, with the Kevin Murphy products she uses in her salon. - Lauren Collins photo
Rena Weme, owner of BelleFemme Boutique, with the Kevin Murphy products she uses in her salon.
— image credit: Lauren Collins photo

Paris just got a little closer.

Rena Weme, owner of BelleFemme Boutique in Qualicum Beach, said she wanted to create an experience for her clients when they come in.

“When I went to Paris, as you know how Paris works, everything is done with excellence and beauty,” Weme said. “Everything is multiplied in elegance, and when I saw the stylists in Paris practise the way that I’m practising and they specialize and zone in on their careers, I knew I wanted to be that.”

And Weme did just that. Stepping into the salon, there is a change in atmosphere, from the prints of Paris to the quiet instrumental music playing in the background.

Weme said being able to bring that feeling of Paris to Qualicum Beach is a dream.

“If you can feel that every day, and bring it to a small town, but still have that feeling that you would get in Paris. That’s what I’m trying to translate here,” she said. “It’s that intimacy, it’s that connection, it’s that experience. It’s not, come in, rush out the door, see you later, thanks for your money and call it a day. That’s not what I’m after.”

Weme said she’s trying to re-create that feeling she got when visiting Paris.

“What I’m trying to create here is more of an experience. I want my guests to feel that they’ve come in and gotten pampered,” she said.

Which means nothing will be rushed, said Weme.

“It’s by appointment-only. I don’t take walk-ins. I don’t want to rush them. I want them to feel that they’re pampered and important and they have had value for what they have spent money on,” she said. “I want BelleFemme to always be by appointment-only.”

With that in mind, Weme said she’s working with the Qualicum Beach Inn to create packages using local services and businesses, such as BelleFemme Boutique, to create a wedding package or a wine-tasting package which would appeal to locals for having a fun evening out.

“My women can come in and they can get glammed up and they can head out for a nice drink or a cocktail somewhere,” she said.

Weme said she’s been working in her industry for about 15 years, but it wasn’t until recently that she felt emotionally ready to open her own salon.

“I feel to arrive at a place where you have confidence in this dream and carry something like this out being on your own, it’s really awesome,” Weme said, adding that in her industry there are usually a lot of stylists working together in one salon.

Weme, who worked in a salon in Nanaimo after working in Qualicum Beach for a few years, said she’s happy to be back.

“In the little village, we’re kind of in it together,” she said.

She said the reason she was drawn into her industry was the feminine feel.

“It’s very soft and you can create and you can create with colour. It’s art. It’s just another form of art for me,” said Weme who specializes in colour.

In her salon, Weme said she uses only Kevin Murphy products which she was introduced to after visiting Paris.

According to Kevin Murphy’s website, it says when searching for ingredients for his products, they looked for companies that use micro-cultivation, organic growing practices or ecologically sounds wild harvesting techniques to ensure that its of the highest natural quality.

Weme said when she found out about the line, she couldn’t believe it was natural products.

“Who uses natural ingredients that actually work? That doesn’t usually happen in my industry,” Weme said of her industry which she said is the second-most wasteful industry. “It all uses eco-friendly ingredients, essential oils, longevity, multi-shine, but I can have really fashion-forward and trendy and women want that.”

Weme said she’s been training as a colour educator for the company. She also said the training is almost like a master’s program for the Kevin Murphy colour line.

“It takes — if you do well — a year, but it could take longer. It’s dependent upon how much time you put in and opportunities to co-teach,” she said. “It’s a laser-focus education that I’m working on. It’s top-notch.”

BelleFemme Boutique, which is located at 678 Memorial Avenue in Qualicum Beach, will be having its grand opening on Oct. 12 with a wine and cheese launch which Weme said is a “gift to the community.”

The opening is from 6-9 p.m. and Weme said people can attend the launch to find out more about her vision for BelleFemme Boutique.

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