While the COVID-19 pandemic was tough on hair salons, it provided Morgan Plantz with a heightened perspective on their importance to the community.
It was during that time, and the months following the Safer at Home order, that she realized it was time to fulfill her lifelong dream and open her own place.
Plantz did that Tuesday morning as she opened the doors to Morgan + Co. at 208 Watson St. in downtown Ripon.
She took part in a Q&A with the Ripon Commonwealth Press last week Friday to introduce herself and discuss what she hopes to accomplish at Morgan + Co.
Q. Who are you?
A. My name is Morgan Plantz, and I have been doing hair since 2011 ... I’m a hairstylist; I’m all things hair, all things beauty ... My husband and I, we live in Ripon; we just moved back to Ripon from Fond du Lac, and I’m originally from Princeton. We have a little girl; she’s 1.
Q. Why did you want to open a hair salon in Ripon?
A. I worked from Fond du Lac for eight years and I worked at two different salons; I did not own them. I worked at a place called “Regis” in the mall ... and then that closed down because the Fond du Lac mall wasn’t doing well ... I went over to a hair salon called “Mojo Hair Studio.” And then, because I lived in Princeton my whole life and just wanted to be closer to family, we moved back to Ripon this spring in the midst of all the craziness. And then it just kind of seemed liked the right time ... Ethan and I moved back to town and we were walking down the street one day and we went by the building that we have now at 208 Watson Street and we’re like, “Oh man, this is kind of like the perfect place that we would be able to throw a little salon in to get started.” So, I gave a phone call and it was for rent and the rent was a great price, so I thought, “Hey, why not?”
Q. For a city that already has several hair salons, what is your business going to offer?
A. I’ve definitely had a couple of people say, “Oh my gosh, you’re like the fourth salon on Watson Street.” That’s awesome; I’m so glad that Ripon is able to support three, four more hair salons in a town, and definitely [am] like totally supportive of everyone else. I have a huge group of following that’s coming from Fond du Lac, so I’m really excited about that, that it’s not too far away ... I have a big array of people from Green Lake, Montello that are coming my way, too, and I think it’s just good for Ripon or the surrounding areas to have a variety of different salons they can try out.
My product line that I have is a little bit different than any of the other lines that the salons in town have, so different products, new products ... I’m not talking bad about any other salons because I really don’t know anyone else, but I have eight years of experience in custom coloring and color correction and women’s haircuts that I’ve been doing a lot of training on; I stay really up to date on my education.
Q. What did you learn from the tough spring, where people couldn’t get services that they needed during Safer at Home?
A. Spring was a tough one for sure; hair salons in general were closed for eight weeks or even more. So that was really hard and it was an uncertain time, I think, for everybody ... When we were able to open back up, it made me feel so loved, wanted and ... pretty essential because I had phone calls and text messages going off about people needing haircuts and getting their hair [colored]... Phone calls and text messages about, “How are you doing? How are you making it through?” Being closed for that kind of made me realize that I love what I do and I love my clients, and I guess if I don’t try to go out on my own now, I kind of never will. It’s kind of crazy to start a business in the midst of a pandemic. I think my clients for sure gave me kind of like the stepping stone to get over to opening my own place.”
Q. What do you hope to accomplish with your business?
A. I really just want to kind of make a home for myself in Ripon and I’m really excited to just be part of the downtown and talk to a lot of the business owners ... My husband and I and my family would really always love the downtown businesses ... I want to be part of a downtown and be involved in a lot of things that downtown Ripon does and ... I want to make this my home as far as my business goes.
Q. How much work had to be done to get ready for opening?
A. It definitely wasn’t easy; it was a lot of work because there was nothing for a hair salon. We had to bring in all of the equipment, plumbing ... [We had to do] a little bit of electrical [work] ... just so that it was safe for everyone. But other than that it was pretty easy, straightforward; mostly just designing and decorating, which we’re still working on because it takes time. I’ve actually been peeking my head into a couple of the shops downtown like Backporch Gatherings and Hart Mercantile and Fiddler Creek and trying to find some cute little things. So I have a little bit of everything from all the different shops downtown in my salon and I really love that.
Q. What has the feedback been like so far?
A. So far really good. Mostly any feedback I’ve been having is from my current clients that are in Fond du Lac and everybody is saying, “Morgan, it’s only 25-, 30-minute drive from Fond du Lac to Ripon so we’ll see you in a couple weeks or we’ll see you in a month.” I have had quite a few of my clients that come from Montello and Green Lake that are super happy that they’re not having to drive quite as far.
... When I tell people I’m moving to Ripon, they’re like, “What’s in Ripon?” And I’m like “Man, you haven’t been to Ripon?” ... So I tell them about all the cute shops and the restaurants and all my favorite places to be, so they’re excited, I think, to come and see the new salon and then just to have some different little shops and things to look at maybe before or after the appointment.
Q. What went into the name of the business?
A. Mostly just wanted to make sure that my name was involved in the business somehow. I like to say I’m a small town girl from growing up in Princeton ... My name is my word. I really put a lot behind what I do with my haircuts and my coloring. I just want to make sure that I put the best of the best out there, so I didn’t want to hide behind any sort of other salon ... I just wanted to make sure that my name was at the door, so that if you have an issue or if you need something for me, whatever it may be, you know who to call and you know who to get in contact with. And then the Morgan + Co. is just kind of a reiteration that maybe we’ll grow ... There’s no “+ Co.” right now, it’s just me, but I definitely have hopes of growing and hiring somebody that has the same vision and passion for hair ... and making friends with people the way that I like to do.
For more information, visit Morgan + Co.'s website at www.bestprosintown.com/wi/ripon/morgan-co-hair-salon-/.