A Bachelors degree in Fine Art gave Lauren Burks the opportunity to explore careers in graphic design, marketing, and event planning. Always the resident “free hairdresser” among her friends, Lauren styled countless weddings as a bridesmaid and could be caught with crazy braids in her own hair on any occasion. After giving birth to her second child, she decided it was time for a change. This creative took her passion for people, hair, and art to create a brand in Saint Augustine that brides are going crazy over – The Braid Bar. She recently added skincare specialist to her resume with a quickly growing Rodan+Fields business which has allowed her extra freedom as a full-time mom.
Connection to St. Augustine
Lauren came to St. Augustine after living in Nashville for 5 years with her husband. Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale FL, St. Augustine was the town she visited on field trips and family vacations. After having her second child in Tennessee, she and her husband decided it was time to raise their family closer to the beach. With the grandparents only an hour away, St. Augustine has been the perfect fit.
The title of “The Friend Who was Always Good at Hair” turned Lauren into a “free” bridal hair stylist for most of the weddings she was in at an early age. It wasn’t until she moved to St. Augustine that she saw a need for specializing in Bridal/ Braiding styling. She got her license 2 years ago and began styling right away. Mentors like Sara Jane from Blush and Mane in Jacksonville are what have taken this average stylist to the next level.
Hugh: What’s your favorite part of the job?
Lauren: Taking the extra time to sit down with my brides and work together to give them the dreamy goddess hair they’ve always wanted.
How do you balance family and work?
I don’t know. When you find out the secret, please tell me! For our family, it is in prioritizing. God, family, work. Focusing on that order is the simplest way to keep me sane.
Where do you get your ideas?
I draw so much inspiration from my local mentor Sarah Jane with Blush and Mane in Jacksonville. Heather Chapman is a stylist I have followed on Instagram long before I began this professionally. They both focus on hard work and tons of practice. That really is key. I may have only had my license for 2 years, but I’ve been practicing for over 20.
How big is your team?
Just me, myself, and I! I have a few stylists in town that I will recruit for those massive wedding parties but I am still the one to style the hair since this business really has become about my art and that’s what people hire me for.
What are some of your favorite local business?
The Hyppo and Cold Cow are my kids’ favorite places in town. We live across the street from Neds Southside Kitchen, so they see our faces regularly. Our date nights usually include places like Catch 27 or Namaste. Colonial Church is where you’ll find us on Sundays and Chipotle afterward because…. toddlers.
What would you like to see happen in St. Augustine?
Continued support of local businesses and organizations. The community here is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Our church family, gym family (The Academy), and the salons in town have welcomed me in with open arms for workshops and collaborations. It’s very easy to get catty and competitive in this industry, but I am focused on encouraging other stylists and being a positive influencer. #collabirationovercompetition
What are the local challenges in your business?
Location. I am currently an on-site stylist and will continue as such until my needs change but with the booming growth in town, space is at a premium and I haven’t found the right fit yet.
“I am blown away to be featured as a creative in our community, but I’m not surprised by all the love and encouragement I have received along this journey. St. Augustine is the greatest town I’ve ever lived in with the most loving and supportive people. You won’t find us anywhere else. St. Augustine is home.”
Written by Hugh Ward. Photography by Evergold Photography.