CaJah Salon Gives Back Beautifully

Local business is all about customer service and community service.
Jim Halvorson and Carrie Sartin at CaJah Salon.

The friendship between CaJah Salon owners Jim Halvorson and Carrie Sartin began with a back handspring. Sartin had been working at her last salon for three years when Halvorson was hired, she says. “When I found out you were a gymnast and you had horses,” she says to Halvorson, “I knew I needed to be your friend.”

The two traveled together for salon events and coached gymnastics at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, which Sartin’s daughter attended. After seven years at the same salon, “we were kind of running the place,” Sartin says. “I thought, why are we doing this for someone else?”

“It was time to do our own thing,” Halvorson says. So they jumped ship and created CaJah Salon on Snelling Avenue.

The name represents the blending of their style, as it’s a blend of their names. “I’m C.A., Carrie Anne, and he’s J.A.H., James Anthony Halvorson,” Sartin says.

Having a unique name makes it easy to find them online, but it’s not the only thing that sets them apart. From the start, they had some goals for how to make themselves different. “Customer service has always been our No. 1 thing, and that’s what we always think [is lacking] in salons,” Halvorson says. And small additions, like trying to be green by rewashing the hand towels in the restroom and having recycling bins around every corner. Scented candles help the salon smell more like a garden than a can of hairspray, and fresh flowers add to that.

“We wanted fresh flowers in our budget because it makes a nice touch, and people notice those things,” Halvorson says. “And if you take something like that away, they really notice it.”

“There are probably 20 salons on Snelling Avenue, so you have to do something to make yourself a little different, a little unique,” Sartin adds.

One way they make sure to set themselves apart is through their special events. In the spring, CaJah hosts a breast cancer cut-a-thon, donating proceeds to breast cancer research. Sartin is an 11-year breast cancer survivor. She is a part of the Breast Cancer Education Association, and also does the hair for the association’s annual fashion show held for survivors. “It’s a great way to give back,” she says. “Those guys were there for me when I was at my ugliest.”

In the fall, CaJah hosts an event to raise money for K-9 vests. Halvorson’s step-dad was a police officer in the K-9 unit, so this event has a personal connection for him as well. “The first year we raised like $15,000, and WCCO news was there, and the Star Tribune,” he says. And, he says, these events are not about promoting CaJah—it’s all about the cause. “We just host the events.”

Services at CaJah include “everything with hair,” Halvorson says, including cuts, colors, styles, up-dos, weddings, extensions, smoothing treatments and conditioners, in addition to makeup and facial waxing.

“Maybe someday we’ll break out and do massage,” Sartin says. But for now, hair and skin are their primary services, and they know exactly what we’re all facing in the winter: Dry hair and skin. They also know how to prevent it.

“Product, product, product,” Sartin says. The salon offers the Julie Martin makeup and skin care line, perfect for keeping skin hydrated. “It’s all about collagen creams at night and peptides and all that wonderful moisturizing eye cream,” she says. Getting a facial will also help—and don’t forget to hydrate from within and drink lots of water.

As for hair, Halvorson says, they have instant treatments from the Kerastase line, which they can apply every time you come in, which hold in moisture for your hair. For fixes on the go, he says, Orvay and Kerastase carry products that are “like hand lotion for the hair.” Deep-conditioners every other week in the winter will keep hair soft and shiny as well.

Coloring your hair a darker, richer color will make it look healthier in the winter, too, Sartin says. “And getting your trims every four to six weeks.”

And if you’re still unsure of how to fix the winter frizz, maybe just stop in and ask the pros yourself.