There’s an immediate warmth and comforting evenness about the place. The light, perfumed air, the soft incandescent lighting, the pleasantly affable music and muted tones of feather white and peach pink on the walls; all of it with the effect of inviting clients in and putting them at ease. Welcome to the brand new Peachy Keen Beauty Studio in Elmira.
For local entrepreneur Courtney Lackner, the Peachy Keen Studio, which opened its doors October 1, was the natural next step for her home-grown business. Located at the corner of Industrial Drive. and Oriole Parkway, Lackner and her team of expert makeup artists and beauticians promise to bring out their clients’ best selves.
“I’m still pinching myself,” says Lackner. “Four years ago I was working from my dining room table and now here I am.”
With a deft hand and keen eye, Lackner and co. at Peachy Keen have a range a services to bring that inner beauty to the forefront. Among their offerings are eyelash extensions, sugaring hair removal and waxing, organic spray tans and teeth whitening. Best of all, says Lackner, it’s all done using organic and natural products that are not only good for clients’ outward appearance, but for their health and well-being as well.
“It’s becoming more and more apparent with everything going on in the world that organic, all-natural is really the way to go,” she said of the decision to go that route. “So I wanted to really hone in on that and offer something that was not only good for my clients, but also something that was important to them and important to me.”
The business has two broad, but related aspects to how it offers its services, explains Lackner. On the one hand, Peachy Keen operates as a beauty salon and spa, where women – and men, she adds – can luxuriate comfortably as they are beautified.
Mandy Martin, an eyelash extension artist, describes the experience as a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere, adding that clients can lay back knowing they are in trained and experienced hands.
“[We] take our time and make sure we give a quality product at the end,” says Martin.
The other half of the business focuses on bridal makeup, which brings about its own challenges and rewards.
“Weddings are fun and they’re high energy,” says Lackner about the experience.
Peachy Keen offers a fully mobile bridal makeup team in the region, catering to the client’s every need. Of course, for the bride-to-be it’s a momentous occasion, and Lackner says her team of experts commit themselves to ensuring excellence. And, with about 50 weddings a year to take care of and years of experience, they’ve become quite good at it.
“We’re a 100 per cent there for them. Our motto is pretty much, we want them to look and feel themselves on their best day,” she says. “Rest assured that we’ll be there for anything that you need throughout the process as well.”
The opening of the Peachy Keen Studio in October was the result of years of work and enthusiasm that started even before Lackner, a “city-girl” from the U.S., moved to the Elmira hometown of her new husband.
“I actually always loved everything beauty and aesthetics. I would get caught quite often sneaking into my mother’s makeup bag,” she recalls with a laugh.
Lackner did not start out in her desired field, taking an undergraduate in criminology of all things; but she continued to pursue what was her passion throughout. She took courses and programs in the numerous forms of makeup artistry and wedding service. That dedication eventually led Lackner to start her own beauty business four years ago when she moved to Elmira.
“I kind of just hit the ground running – I had a vision for what I wanted to do,” says Lackner.
She began with humble origins from her kitchen table, moving up to a spare bedroom after it was renovated, and then to the basement to “expand.”
“It became very clear Elmira is very small-business oriented,” she adds, noting appreciatively the support Elmira residents gave to their local businesses.
“Fast-forward four years, it was so busy it was almost like a revolving door at our home. So the next step to this big dream of mine was opening up a studio space. So here we are, and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s been so good and clients so loyal and so supportive – not just clients, but all of Elmira.
“Elmira is definitely home now, and I want to keep it that way,” she adds.
With stronger roots in the community and a growing business clientele, Lackner speculates what the next five years might bring.
“I’m always thinking, and my wheels are always turning, which can be a good and bad thing. I think in five years I would like to expand, I’d like to add services. We’ve been talking a little bit about adding facials, potentially adding an RMT massage therapy,” she says.
“I love the feeling of when we do someone’s lashes and they get to open their eyes and we show them the mirror; I love the feeling of seeing their eyes light up,” she says. “But at the same time we want them to know that we’re only enhancing what they already have. … I want them to leave feeling like they’re the best version of themselves.”
Peachy Keen Beauty Studio is located at the plaza on the corner of Industrial Drive and Oriole Parkway East, and Lackner is inviting everyone to come by. Whether it’s to see what’s on offer, book a makeup party, pick up some of their natural and organic beauty products for the Christmas stocking, or just say ‘hi’ – Lackner wants to meet everyone in her new home.