After customers receive a pampering at Knotts and Tangles salon in Brownstown, owner Kim Nicholson said she loves to hear feedback.

“You see them a couple days later in the Jay C store and they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so great. My husband loves it,’” she said. “Or they’ll send you a text later that night, and they’re like, ‘Oh, the girls at work are crazy about this.’ They are so pumped up, and they are so excited.”

Helping the customers feel and look good is rewarding, she said.

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“Just the feeling of accomplishment when your client is like, ‘You nailed that. That’s perfect. This is what I want,’ and they are just glowing, they are so happy about it, it makes you feel good,” she said.

The shop opened in December 2010 with Nicholson and a part-time massage therapist. Since then, she has added staff and services.

A couple of years ago, Tina Hammons was added as a cosmetologist. In September 2014, Vickie Smith came on board as a massage therapist. And about four months ago, Jennifer Smith was hired as an esthetician.

Growing list of services

Along with hairstyling and massage therapy, Knotts and Tangles offers manicures and pedicures, spray tans, airbrush makeup, waxes, chemical peels, facials, and eyelash and eyebrow tints.

Now having three co-workers, Nicholson said she also can offer hair and makeup for bridal parties and weddings.

The shop still has space for another stylist, and Nicholson hopes to fill that soon. Education continues with the current staff, too.

“We’re real big on any time there are classes anywhere, we like to go to them,” Nicholson said. “We like to get continued education and see what’s changing because everything constantly is changing for the better.”

History of the shop

Starting the shop nearly five years ago, Nicholson achieved a longtime goal. After graduating from A Cut Above Beauty College in Southport in 2003, she worked at shops in Seymour and Bloomington.

She took some time off when she gave birth to her daughter and then worked at a gas station in Brownstown for several years. She got back into cosmetology but didn’t want to make the drive to Bloomington all of the time, so she decided to start her own shop where she lived.

“I knew going into it that I wanted my own, and I feel very fortunate that at my age, I was able to do it because there are a lot of stylists that it’s their dream, but they just can’t ever do it,” she said. “Each year has been a blessing and gotten better and better.”

Great support structure

Having the support of her parents, Tony and Alana Knotts, who operate KCCS cleaning service, was a big help.

“Thank goodness I had the guidance of my parents, who have owned their own business since 1987,” she said. “They had an idea of what I needed to do to get it done.”

Two stylists joined the staff before moving on to different jobs. That’s when Hammons entered the picture.

Hammons said she also had wanted to be a stylist for a long time, but she chose to put her kids first. A few years ago, it worked out for her to attend Hair Force Academy in Seymour to become a licensed cosmetologist.

“I’ve always wanted to do it all my life, and I love people, and I love helping them look their best,” she said.

Whether she is styling their hair or giving them a manicure or pedicure, Hammons likes having the opportunity to build a relationship with her customers.

“If your clients do all of those things, you get to learn more about them, and you get to help them pick styles and what might look good on them,” she said. “I just feel like we’re so hands-on. We get to know what they like.”

Vickie Smith spent 10 years working at Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Seymour before developing an interest in becoming a certified massage therapist.

“I decided that, after a trip to the chiropractor and a quick little massage, I was like, ‘She made me feel wonderful. I want to make people feel like that,’” she said.

She took classes at Alternatives for Health in Columbus on Fridays and Saturdays every other week for 16 months while still working at Kremers.

Once she completed an internship at the school and passed the class in the spring of 2014, Smith passed the certification test.

As part of her class, Smith had to give massages and one day had stopped by Knotts and Tangles and told the staff what she was having to do. Later, when they learned she was certified, she was asked to join the staff.

“It was meant to be,” she said. “It just all fell together and went so smooth. I just chalk it up as being watched over, and it just came together.”

Smith said she has liked developing regular clients.

“The thing that I like the most is when someone comes in with some issue or pain, and I am able to make them feel better,” she said. “When they get up and they go, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel so much better,’ that, to me, is all worth it.”

While Jennifer Smith has worked at the salon for a short time, she has been a practicing esthetician for around 15 years.

She was drawn to that profession after thinking back on her trouble with acne when she was in her 20s. She began studying natural healing and used natural herbs and essential oils.

While living in Colorado, she went to esthetics school and received medical esthetics training and advanced training in chemical peels and lasers.

She landed jobs working for a doctor and for Aveda cosmetics company.

About eight years ago, she moved back to her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and continued working for Aveda until taking a job at a plastic surgeon’s office. A couple of years ago, she got married and moved to Brownstown.

She became connected with Nicholson and Hammons when they did her hair and makeup for her wedding, and she later received a massage from Vickie Smith.

She ended up going from a Knotts and Tangles client to an employee. She also still works for the plastic surgeon.

“I like the atmosphere here. It’s very clean. It’s very welcoming,” she said. “I also feel like, my treatment room, when you go in there, it’s relaxing and quiet. I think that sets the tone and a higher standard than other places where it’s like a ‘get them in, get them out’ kind of thing.”

Since she dealt with acne herself, Jennifer Smith said she takes pride in helping people take care of their skin.

“Now that my skin looks good, I feel good and my confidence is boosted, I feel like I want that for other people because it’s true: When you look good, you feel good,” she said. “People nowadays are more concerned not necessarily with looking younger but looking as good as you can and feeling as good as you can for whatever age you are. It’s more about wellness now than it is about just vanity.”

If you go

What: Knotts and Tangles salon

Where: 830 W. Sweet St., Brownstown

When: Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Who: Owner/stylist, Kim Nicholson; cosmetologist, Tina Hammons; massage therapist, Vickie Smith; esthetician, Jennifer Smith

Information: Call 812-358-2012, visit or find the business on Facebook

Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.