If you stay in business long enough, some funny things start to happen – like you may find yourself working with the great-grandchildren of the clients you had when you started decades earlier.

That’s the experience for Madelin White, who has been running the Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa in Lacey for 42 years. “It’s part of the reason I haven’t retired yet,” says White. “With some clients, I’ve helped everybody in their family, and they become my family.”

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Three generations of the Huff family are Merle Norman clients, including (from left), Sherry Huff, her daughter Crissa, her mother, and her sister Evie.

Sherry Huff remembers Madelin from when she was fourteen years old. “My mom always wore make-up and that was how we got involved with Merle Norman,” she says. “She has known Madelin for a long time.”

Huff and her sister have been visiting the salon since they were teenagers, and her own daughter began using their products at fourteen. “My sister also married into a family that are all Merle Norman customers that go back a long time,” she says.

Her family mostly uses the basic foundations.  “The thing I like the most is that the powder base always helps with clearing up the complexion,” she says. “We’ve never had any skin problems.”

It’s a big advantage to have someone so intimately acquainted with all of your skin’s quirks, she say. “I can walk in the door and Madelin knows exactly what I need and what will work best for my daughter. She knows our history and knows what mom’s been using for products. I think it’s wonderful.”

Although she rarely sees her customers in other contexts, White considers them part of the family. “I have a lot of out-of-town clients where the whole family comes in or they’ll come in separately so I learn things like, ‘Mom’s doing okay.’ It would be sad to me to stop because it’s been all these years of knowing them. It’s that camaraderie.”

That feeling is reciprocated. “I’ve always been very happy with Madelin and the people she has working with her,” says Huff. “If something isn’t right, she’s more than happy to take it back and get something that works. I’ve told her she can never retire.”

Along with recommendations on cosmetics and skin care, you can also find hair styling, waxing, manicures, pedicures, and massage therapy as well as free make-overs and free mini-facials, and of course wigs, at Merle Norman.

Visit Merle Norman Cosmetics, Wigs and Day Spa online or call 360-491-4911.

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