In their journey toward joining the beauty industry, two Puyallup High School graduates never forgot their ties to Puyallup.
First-time business owners Mayce Wingard-Thomson and Kayla Johnsen-Konwent, both 26, opened their own businesses in a shared space at 116 S. Meridian in downtown Puyallup in May 2016.
Onyx Spa, owned by Wingard-Thomson, specializes in massage therapy, facial treatment, waxing and makeup application. Lashes Downtown, owned by Johnsen-Konwent, provides eyelash extension services.
“It happened organically,” said Wingard-Thomson about joining forces with Johnsen-Konwent. “We have a passion and a heart for this community.”
“Puyallup’s such a small area,” added Johnsen-Konwent. “We ran into each other quite a bit.”
The two friends communicated every now and then after graduating from Puyallup High School in 2008, and knew they were both following the path of beauty education. In March 2016, they got together to catch up. It was there that they shared more about their business aspirations and decided to find a spare to share together.
When you open a business it’s really nerve-wracking. When she’s nervous, I’m supportive. When I’m nervous, she’s supportive.
Mayce Wingard-Thomson, owner of Onyx Spa
“It’s a hidden gem,” Wingard-Thomson said about their current location, which can only be accessed through an alleyway. “It’s like a little hideaway spot.”
With Johnsen-Konwent on board and with some help with labor from their families, the two business owners began to renovate their space.
“In beauty school, I said I wanted to open a spa in Puyallup,” Wingard-Thomson said. “I want to put my energy and focus into Puyallup. It’d been on my mind forever.”
A third generation PHS graduate, Wingard-Thomson was interested in beauty even in high school, where she was a cheerleader and often helped other girls out with their skin care and makeup. Only a month after graduating high school, she went to study beauty at Gary Manuel Aveda Institute in Seattle, which offers education programs for skin care.
“I was fascinated by how the human body works and how to take care of it holistically,” Wingard-Thomson said.
After becoming a certified esthetician, she chased her other interest in massage therapy at the Cortiva Institute in Seattle and became a certified massage therapist. She’s been an esthetician for nine years and a massage therapist for five years.
After school she returned to Puyallup, where she met up with Johnsen-Konwent.
Whether we go our separate ways or merge our businesses — whatever (the future) looks like, we’ll always continue to be supportive of each other.
Mayce Wingard-Thomson, owner of Onyx Spa
Johnsen-Konwent has been an esthetician for three years and went to school at Clover Technical College in Lakewood, where she discovered individual eyelash extensions.
“One of my friends started to do eyelash extensions,” Johnsen-Konwent said. “I was instantly in love with it and the technique of it. Once you get eyelash (extensions) you never go back.”
In high school, Johnsen-Konwent had an interest in beauty, too, often helping out with makeup for her church’s musicals.
As both friends and business partners, Wingard-Thomson said they work well together.
“When you open a business it’s really nerve-wracking,” she said. “When she’s nervous, I’m supportive. When I’m nervous, she’s supportive.”
Opening a business for the first time comes with difficulties, Wingard-Thomson said, but that managing everything is getting easier over time.
“The biggest challenge has been balance,” Wingard-Thomson said. “You’re your boss, manager, front desk, janitor, service provider, a friend, a wife, a sister.”
In the future, they both hope to expand their businesses, maybe hiring more staff or moving to a bigger place.
“We have big plans ahead of us,” Johnsen-Konwent said. “A big vision.”
“Whether we go our separate ways or merge our businesses — whatever (the future) looks like,” added Wingard-Thomson, “we’ll always continue to be supportive of each other.”
Onyx Spa and Lashes Downtown
Address: 116 S. Meridian, Puyallup. Entrance in the alley between the Frame Shop and J.C.’s Music.
Mayce Wingard-Thomson: 253-209-1379
Kayla Johnsen-Konwent: 253-226-8975