By Katy Savage
A new beauty school is coming to Rutland.
Paige Carrara, 25, the owner of Blush Salon and Beauty Lounge, received a $10,000 loan from the Business Incentive Assistance Program to open what she plans to call the Paige Elizabeth Academy of Cosmetology.
The business incentive program was created to encourage business development in the area. The program allows loan forgiveness if certain conditions are met at the end of the loan.
Carrara plans to open the school in the fall of 2019. She said the beauty school will teach, “from the bottom to the top everything you need to learn about cosmetology.”
Students will learn how to braid and lighten hair, how to give manicures and pedicures, control infections and how to properly mix chemicals.
“I’ve always had a passion for the industry and I’ve always strived to be most current,” Carrara said. “I’ve eaten it up from an early age.”
Carrara took an “unconventional” path to get where she is today, she said.
“I decided I wasn’t going to work under someone,” she said.
Carrara went to the former Salon Professional Academy in Williston before furthering her education by taking weekend trips to New York City, where she worked under mentors and attended seminars.
Carrara opened her own beauty salon when she was 19. At 23, she opened Blush Salon and Beauty Lounge on Center Street in Rutland. Now, she has 12 employees.
“When I expanded I was realizing how many applicants were coming in that weren’t certified.
I had so many applicants who wanted to apprentice under me,” said Carrara, who estimated more than 100 people have approached her about learning opportunities in the past two years.
Cosmetology programs are limited in the state. Stafford Technical Center in Rutland has a cosmetology program geared toward high school students while O’Brien’s Aveda Institute in Willison is the only other program in the area.
“It’s a trade and the trades are getting lost right now,” Carrara said. “Not only will we be able to teach students and supply jobs in the Rutland community but we’ll also be able to have workforce in the community.”
Carrara plans to take 16 students the first year. The one-year school will include 500 hours of bookwork, followed by practical work and then a final examination geared toward training students to become licensed and certified.
For certification, students have to show their skills before a judge and pass a written exam.
Carrara already has one eager student.
Abbie Ballie, 19, of Rutland has been a nail technician apprentice for Carrara for the past year and she plans to attend Carrara’s school to be a full-time cosmetologist.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Ballie.
Ballie has learned life skills under Carrara’s mentorship and practical skills for her job, she said, such as how to shape a nail.
“It’s fun to work with someone as young as her and see what she does,” Ballie said.
The school will be located on Woodstock Avenue. Carrara is in the process of renovating the building and finalizing the details. She has not set tuition prices yet.
“We’re in the beginning stages,” she said.
Abbie Ballie 19, (left) of Rutland, currently works for Paige Carrara, 25, (right) owner of Blush Salon and Beauty Lounge and plans to attend her school when it opens in 2019.