Julia McConahay of Chrysalis Hair and Body (soon to be known as Chrysalis Closet) on the northside of Madison received a special SBA Wisconsin District Director’s award, an award that is not given annually but at the discretion of the director in recognition for resilience during challenging times and creating community. In 2020 and 2021, Julia created outdoor events where people could walk over, hear music, shop from local makers, and feel safe in an outdoor setting while still feeling connected to their community. They helped people get out of the house, local makers who lost income from canceled events and fairs, and helped solidify Chrysalis as a focal point for the neighborhood.
Chrysalis Hair and Body was born from Julia’s desire to do hair but also from her extreme allergic reactions to the chemicals and products that dominate the industry. She wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to even do hair after having to leave a salon for her health. Now Chrysalis is a haven for anyone who suffers from allergies or is sensitive, as she provides “chemically conscious hair services and natural self-care.” For five years, Chrysalis was in a different location and was just hair, as Julia learned hard lessons on the ebb and flow of business, and how to feel equipped to take on employees and a growing business. She has now been at her current location on the Northside of Madison for four years, and has grown the business beyond hair and body and into a vintage wonderland, providing a safe space for all bodies and people.
Going forward, Julia hopes to continue to foster community and build her space, offering boutique experiences such as after dark “twilight shopping sessions” where a small group of friends can have the place to themselves to try on clothes and perhaps moving her hair services into another, more quiet and private space. She mostly feels like she is ready to emerge from her cocoon and meet the challenges of the changing world more confidently than ever, and the SBA award solidified for her that she is on the right track.