Growing up in Lancaster Township, Erin Baughman has always been a hometown girl.
“I’ve been an athlete most of my life,” she said. “Many people know me from being on a ball field.”
But when she was a junior in high school, with college in her near future, Baughman did some soul searching after a friend remarked on the fact that she could often be found doing hair and makeup for others.
“That’s when I realized sometimes our paths might not be what we think they will be,” she said. “You have to go with your heart … I signed up for cosmetology at the local vo-tech, and there is where my passion became reality.”
For her senior project in high school, Baughman chose to design a salon from start to finish. After working for eight months in a corporate salon, she decided to turn that project into a reality and open her own salon.
This married mother of one is the proud owner of the Bella Voi Hair Studio in Mountville, where she works with a team who, when combined, bring 118 years of experience in the field of cosmetology to their clients.
“I was determined to have a salon that was family based … somewhat upscale, yet welcoming,” Baughman said.
Today, she and her team have created exactly that.
“The talent, personalities, and hearts that come to work every day make Bella Voi truly an amazing salon.”
It took a lot of hard work, dedication, and a good dose of courage to open a small business in a very competitive industry when she was only 19 years old. Baughman’s goals over the past 12 years have grown and transformed, she said, but the foundation of operating her business with integrity has remained the same.
The excellent business practices she learned while growing up involved in various family businesses have all contributed to the strong foundation that has led to her success.
Bella Voi is a full-service hair salon where clients can relax and enjoy a coffee bar and a shampoo lounge. But what does the name “Bella Voi” mean?
“It is often looked at as French, but it’s actually Italian,” Baughman said. “It is from a small dialect that means ‘beautiful you,’ and that is exactly what we try to do … Our goal when you walk out that door is to make sure you feel like the most ‘beautiful you’ possible.”
Baughman said that she could not ask to be surrounded by a better team.
“Each one of my girls is a puzzle piece to our success from our different backgrounds, techniques, and personalities … Every one of my stylists is an asset to our team,” she said. “As much as I rely on them for business, they are also my best friends, which sometimes you need the most.”
Baughman admits that she is not a “center of attention” kind of owner but instead prefers to consider herself as “one of the girls.”
“When there is a decision that involves the salon, we talk about it as a team and decide what is best for everyone. We all carry the Bella Voi name behind us, and we work together every day to keep our name as respected as it is,” she said.
One of the greatest joys for Baughman is to see firsthand the positive changes in self-esteem many of her clients experience after they visit the salon. She shared that one of their clients was struggling with alopecia areata, which causes balding in patches.
“She had been to numerous salons who tried to help her, but every time she left, she still saw the spots where her hair was missing,” Baughman said. Enter the Bella Voi team. “When I spun her around in her chair to show her my work, she instantly started crying … She hadn’t seen herself as beautiful as everyone else did in so long.”
As a local business owner, Baughman is happy to give back to her community whenever possible, including fundraisers, benefits, and even a float in the Mountville parade.
“I’d like to grow our community work into services across the county. From women’s shelters to churches to veterans, we are always thankful for the opportunity to give back,” she said.
Baughman credits much of her success to two “amazing role models — my parents,” she said. “I have learned over the years that keeping true to our family roots will always prevail at the end of the day. We have the power to change lives in a single appointment — that is the best reward.”
As for the future of Bella Voi?
“Bella Voi’s future looks amazing! We recently renovated the salon and added an esthetician room, where we offer skincare, facials, and body treatments,” Baughman said. “With new opportunities being presented every day, our priority is to make anyone who steps through the doors feel like the most ‘beautiful you’ possible.”