Shop Like You Give a Damn: Pretty with a Purpose - Renae Morton

Renae Morton showcasing her new Pretty Pretty Pop Pop line at Lucy Pop Salon in Nashville, Tenn.

It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you relocate to a new city and can’t bring the comforts of your previously settled life with you. Goodbye weekly dinner parties with friends, buh-bye trusted salon who talked you out of cutting your bangs that short again, and hello to starting all over. I can recall my first year and smirk at the awkwardness of my freshman year in the ‘ville. My my, how four years can change.

I literally was driving back to St. Louis on the regular to finish out a professional contract, attempt to sell my loft, and get my locks tended to by my trusted stylist. I just couldn’t get myself to break the loyalty we had, plus I had attempted to get a haircut locally and it ended tragically. So any photos that resurface with me sportin’ “baby bangs” with a swing bob should be destroyed and never spoken of again, capiche?

After much nudging and referrals from everyone under the sun, I finally broke the cycle and made an appointment with Lucy Pop Salon’s owner, renowned colorist, and badass stylist, Renae Morton. I haven’t looked back since, and arguably, never looked better! From the whimsical layout of the salon with the doting staff who welcome me with cocktails and even a lunch during some hectic times in my schedule, to the cruelty-free Kevin Murphy products, I cherish the internal and external therapy that each appointment brings. Renae and her hubs Brannon have become trusted friends as we share the same passion for animal rights, enjoy ‘ritas on their ‘randa (margaritas on their veranda), and making valid contributions and impact to the world around us. Lucy Pop has become truly home to me.

It is with great happiness that I introduce you to Renae Morton:

SLYGAD: Share your story on what motivated you to create a new line of cruelty-free products and to expand your business?

Renae: I've learned so much in my 15 year career in the beauty industry, and one interest I developed early on is how ingredients in our everyday hair, bath & personal care products affect our health and environment. When you think about how your skin is the biggest organ on your body, and how everything that touches it is absorbed in some way shape or form into your bloodstream, then if you're like me, you start to really analyze all the ingredients in your soaps, lotions, hair products, etc. Do you really want petroleum based ingredients like mineral oil and petrolatum or carcinogens like parabens building up in your body? I firmly believe when a product touches your skin (especially on a daily basis) it should be made from the best natural and safe ingredients possible. I mean, beauty rituals are supposed to be fun and make you feel pretty…not make you and the environment sick! Just a few years ago, my interest in plant based ingredients became a full blown obsession, and I would research different hair and beauty lines for hours just trying to find the perfect ones with amazing ingredients and beautiful packaging to carry on our shelves at Lucy Pop Salon.

Honestly, all that research left me even more disenchanted with the beauty industry. Most of what I found either looked cool & performed well but had horrible stuff in it, or there were a few lines that had great ingredients, but didn't really perform to my expectations or had really ugly packaging. Because of my disappointment in finding products that fit all my criteria for the perfect hair & beauty line, I decided to find out what it would take to develop exactly what it is that I felt the beauty industry is missing…. a natural, plant based line that does amazing things for your hair, bath & body, and that looks really fabulous sitting on your bathroom shelf and vanity. Our first three products were aromatherapy scalp treatments that were born after much research and testing. They have been offered for the last two years or so at Lucy Pop Salon as services called The Truth Serum, The Redemption Cure, and A Prosperous Confection. The treatments have been incredibly popular and we have tons of repeat clients who swear by them, so the natural progression was for us to start bottling them and offering them for purchase to our clients so they could enjoy them at home. That has just opened up the door for us to formulate more hair, bath, & beauty products that go along with our whole "natural is better, especially when it's touching your skin" philosophy.

To date we have 10 different hair and beauty products under the Pretty Pretty Pop Pop label that are available at Lucy Pop Salon and on Nashville's traveling boutique truck, The Trunk. We also have several new products set to launch with the opening of our Pretty Pretty Pop Pop apothecary in East Nashville this September including a line of 100% soy wax candles and solid perfumes that have fragrances inspired by the Zodiac. I'm so excited to see everything we've been working on the past couple of years finally on shelves, and I can't wait for the opening of our new apothecary!

SLYGAD: What business owners or other people/brands in your industry motivate and inspire you?

Renae: Brands like Indigo Wild and Juniper Ridge are great inspiration and motivation to me because of their commitment to use the best natural ingredients possible ALWAYS, and to ALWAYS source their ingredients responsibly. I am also completely inspired and in awe of Horst Rechelbacher who founded Aveda. He started making herbal based shampoo in his kitchen, and turned it into a huge internationally known brand that really made a difference by educating consumers and beauty professionals about why plant based is better.

SLYGAD: What other cruelty-free beauty brands do you love?

Renae: Urban Decay - I use at least one Urban Decay product in my make up routine every day. My favorite is the Naked 2 eyeshadow palette. Lime Crime - beautiful packaging… Hello! Unicorns are stamped on their lipstick tubes! And their colors are so different! Mint green lipstick? Neon yellow eyeliner? Yes, please! Pacifica - fabulous fragrance combos for their candles, solid perfumes, and gorgeous packaging. All three brands use predominately vegan ingredients and never test on animals.

SLYGAD: The packaging of Pretty Pretty Pop Pop has a special meaning. Can you let us in on this special little nod to your family?

Renae: One major component a beauty product has to have to catch my eye is gorgeous packaging. When we were designing the labels for Pretty Pretty Pop Pop, I wanted to make sure they were beautiful and also were unique to the brand. We decided to incorporate different pictures of my grandmother from her heyday in the 1940's. She was one hot mama with fabulous taste, so it just made sense that we use her images in our product design. She was always my biggest supporter, and I think of her every day since her passing several years back. Seeing her image on the bottles makes me smile and think that she is getting to enjoy this new journey with me a little bit.

SLYGAD: What current fashion/beauty trends bring you glee? Make you shudder?

Renae: I am obsessed with nail art! Galaxy nails, neon animal print nails, floral, stripes…anything! The more over-the-top the better! Uggs make me shudder. I just saw a new display of them at Nordstrom last week. When are they going to go away?!?! Hasn't everyone seen the video of how they get the sheepskin lining? Makes me cringe!

SLYGAD: Playlist time. The salon always has the best range of mixes but what's currently on heavy rotation on your iPod? (If you say Call Me Maybe… I'll punch you in the ovaries)

Renae: My music taste is pretty eclectic and constantly evolving. At the moment Phantogram, Class Actress, and Father John Misty are sharing equal play time with Al Green, The Rolling Stones, and the Beastie Boys.

SLYGAD : Owning a successful business is already a large feat, so adding another retail location and product line is quite the challenge. Share with us how you've come a long way baby.

Renae: Seriously. I definitely owe a lot of the success of Lucy Pop Salon, and now this new Pretty Pretty Pop Pop venture coming to fruition, to my husband, Brannon. He keeps me organized and grounded, and business management and marketing is definitely his forte'. If I didn't have someone with the same goals and vision helping me along the way I'm not quite sure how it would all get done. I think opening a new business is a lot like birthing a baby and raising a child. You just can't do it all on your own, and you have to be grateful for the ones that share it with you.

SLYGAD: Lastly, What is your favorite mantra or quote?

Renae: My mantra is "Trust your intuition." We all have it, and we all need to listen to it. It makes your life journey so much easier.

And, that is precisely why Stella Shops gives a damn about this mighty fine broad. Support local business by booking an appointment at Lucy Pop Salon and be sure to treat yourself to the new Pretty Pretty Pop Pop collection currently at the salon or on The Trunk. These treatments make great gifts too...and my birthday is coming up. Hint hint.

See you next Sustainable Sunday!










Photo credit: J Bryan Dill