Amanda Johnson, owner of The Body Works salon in Madison, colors customer Codi Grooms’ hair on Friday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/
Amanda Johnson, owner of The Body Works salon in Madison, colors customer Codi Grooms’ hair on Friday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/
Adding a little bit of color to life is what Amanda Johnson does best.

Johnson just took over ownership of The Body Works, a hair and nail salon at 418 Mulberry St. after the previous owner decided to move on.

"She told me she was thinking about closing, or that I could buy it," Johnson said.

Six weeks ago she bought the business. She's added another staff member and says there hasn't been any staff turnover since the switch.

"Everyone's been really supportive," she said.

Johnson is a hair stylist, but her main job is as the hair colorist at the salon. She does everything from hiding unwanted gray to adding flashy colors and highlights.

Helping people feel better about the way they look, Johnson said, is the best part of her job.

"I love to make people feel good. Especially about the way that they look. If I can do that, I've done my job."

Johnson likes to start any coloring with a consultation.

"I want to get to know the guest's hair," she said.

Discovering what she's working with is important because "I can't always do what they want the first time around. But If I know about their hair and what they're trying to do, I can point them in the right direction."

Building that level of trust, where she can recommend something to a client or know what they want before saying anything is something she tries to attain with every client.

"I have some clients who will come in and say 'I'm looking for something new, what do you think about this?' and we'll just go from there."

Now that she's the salon owner, Johnson doesn't just get to experiment with hair, she can now make changes to the salon she's worked at for six and-a-half years.

"I'm excited. I've got a lot of big ideas. Everything I do, I do big," she said.

Johnson has plans for additional stations and updating the look of the salon. She also say's she would eventually like to stop renting and own a location for the salon. While those plans don't currently have a target date, Johnson says she's happy with where things are right now.

"I like working downtown," she said. "I feel like it's more convenient for people. "I like the downtown atmosphere."

Johnson is a color specialist and a certified hair colorist with Redken hair color. She had to take a three-part test in New York city to earn the title.

"I came out of the pre-test crying," Johnson said.

She said she and a friend who accompanied her grabbed a slice of pizza, and stayed up the entire night practicing for the real test.

Johnson said that with so many avenues in the cosmetology field, there's a lot of room to get lost in if you try to master everything. She decided that specializing in one area would help her stand out.

"I wanted to know a lot about one particular line," she said.

At the time, Johnson said she didn't think she would be a colorist or hair stylist. She wanted to teach people for Redken. Now it's all she wants to do at work.

"I really enjoy working behind the chair. I love it when someone else feels beautiful."