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Thomas Melong shares his story of finding himself and making it big by living in rural Nova Scotia.
Thomas Melong knew he could be successful in rural Nova Scotia. “Sometimes small town gossip has its perks,” he jokes.
Opening a salon in the city was never on the table, explains the hair stylist of the decision he and his business partner Laura Anderson made to open Vivid Hair & Body in Antigonish.
“We love where we are from and we felt like our town deserved something fresh.” Now, Thomas is so busy he has to turn clients away.
Thomas’s interest began in high school when colouring his and his friends’ hair became a weekend routine. “I loved the ability to change someone’s look and see how it impacted how people felt about themselves.”
In his last year of high school he began exploring his educational options. He was attracted to the Strait Area Campus because it was close to home, but it was meeting instructor Pat Twast that made him attend. “She is incomparable as an instructor and is the main reason I went there.”
In the six years since Vivid opened, Thomas has experienced many career highlights. He’s received several nominations for various industry awards and has been featured in several hair magazines, both for his styling and photography. He’s also had the opportunity to work with his idol, Damien Carney, in New York City.
Thomas hopes the success of his business inspires others, in particular those worried about opening up shop in rural Nova Scotia.
“I’m proof that you can stay in a small town and do big things.”
He acknowledges it can be risky, but it’s worth it.
“The only way Nova Scotia is going to thrive is if people take a chance. You can change our province and economy. It’s scary to take the leap, but I have no regrets.”