Sometimes the dream job comes completely out of left field. At least, that’s how it worked out for two area women.

Salon 5th Ave. owner Ashlynn Hughes


Arkansas City native Ashlynn Hughes and Amanda Dassel, originally of Oxford, recently reopened Salon 5th Ave. after working for weeks on remodeling the new location at 119 E. Fifth Ave.

“Honestly, I never dreamed of doing this. I dreamed of being an accountant with my own office,” Hughes said. “But I decided to give cosmetology a chance. I had the money and you’re only young once, so I went for it. The unexpected thing was that I loved it. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life now. I’m so glad that I took a chance and did something unexpected.”

Dassel actually started in the medical field before later transitioning to cosmetology.

“I’ve always been really creative and artistic. At the time, I was in nursing and one night, I had drawn a mural on the chalkboard at work and one of my co-workers asked me why I was in nursing, when I should do something more creative,” she said.

“Then something in my head clicked and I decided to go to cosmetology school after five years of nursing. I loved it so much I decided to try teaching and loved it, but then my daughter got really sick, and I had to quit and then went back to booth renting.”

Radical colors

Salon 5th Ave. offers a wide variety of services, but “we specialize in vivid fashion hair color,” Hughes said. “We do phenomenal haircuts and gorgeous hair color. We have taken advanced color classes in specialty hair coloring, such as balayage, color melting, ombre and vivid colors.”

Salon 5th Ave. owner Amanda Dassel


The salon also does formal hair styling and full facial makeup applications for special occasion, as well as perms and full face waxing.

“(Dassel) also specializes in undercut hair carving designs,” Hughes added.

Sometimes there are limitations to what they can accomplish with a client’s hair, though.

“We both feel the most challenging part of our career is that the internet, as in social media and Pinterest, makes things seem easier than they actually are,” Hughes said. “(The) inspiration pictures are often Photoshopped or heavily edited and it becomes an unattainable expectation.

“We try our hardest to get our clients as close to their inspiration pictures as possible, but sometimes it takes several sessions because hair isn’t a clean slate — we have to work with your previous hair history.”

While Hughes and Dassel say radical coloring jobs are “our favorites, for sure,” they also say those jobs take a serious commitment.

“The vivid colors can take anywhere up to six hours to achieve and it’s up to the customer to follow our directions to make the color last,” Hughes said. “We enjoy these vivid colors the most because that’s where our creativity really shines through.”

Even though the styles can take hours, both women love the challenge.

“I love that I have the ability to make someone feel more confident and beautiful than they did when they walked in the door,” Dassel said. “I’m so thankful for all my clients that trust me enough to give me creative freedom of their hair, be it super-rad designs to mermaid hair that brings the sea to life.”

“The single best thing about my job is seeing the smile on people’s faces when I’m done with their hair,” Hughes said. “I love my clients that let me be creative and just make art. I also love the relationships I have with my clients — they are my favorite people.”

Salon expansion

The renovation to the salon’s new location took a lot of work.

“It was a busy month. We would work in the old salon doing hair and then immediately come over here to continue remodeling,” Hughes said.

“Every wall has a new coat of paint — that took us three weeks. We went with white walls with black trim. We sanded the floors and polyurethaned them. We painted ceiling tiles and the kitchen cabinets,” she said. “We had to build shampoo backbar for the bowls and the waxing station.

“There were a lot of 12-hour days and sleepless nights. But all the stress was worth it. The place is definitely completely different!”

The salon currently is seeking to hire both full- and part-time booth rental and commissioned stylists.

Both women are grateful for their loyal customers.

“We would like to thank all of our clients that have been along for the ride,” Hughes said. “This wouldn’t be possible without you guys!”

Those looking to book an appointment can do so through the salon’s Facebook page, or by calling Hughes at (620) 446-0697 or Dassel at (620) 660-8889.

A salon telephone number is in the works and will be announced at a later date.