Just as her grandmother, mother, and her aunt, Renee England has a love for Merle Norman cosmetics. It was 1995 when she found out the studio in Sullivan, IL was closing up. She decided to give up her office job at an insurance agency on the square and made the jump into the makeup business. She didn't realize this shop had been struggling for a while. Hoping a better location would help, she purchased a different building. Because of the failing local economy, it just wasn't doing well so, she closed it for good.
It was 2005 when Fran Whitley, the owner of the Mattoon Merle Norman, was nearing retirement and needed some operational assistance. Renee ended up working for Fran. Going to meetings and working with her, she learned the ins and outs of the trade. It was 2007 that Renee decided to purchase the Mattoon studio and she couldn't be happier! She truly loves the satisfaction on her client's faces when they are pleased with the way they look.
Keeping the staples, every single year the product line just gets better! My favorite is the Lasting Foundation, Ultra Powder, Lip Liner Plus, and the mascara primer.
If you've never been there or if it's been a while, you will be pleasantly surprised at the array of offerings. There are luxury boutique items such as jewelry, scarves, and fashion outer wear. Need a lil pampering? Merle Norman now features a relaxing spa retreat! Shannon Dearing, a licensed Esthetician, offers professional skin care services including Microdermabrasion, Merle Norman exclusive facials, body wax and tintings.
If you have a teenage daughter then you've probably heard of Renee's Merle Girl Program. Young ladies apply to Merle Norman then they are invited to come in for a complimentary make-over. Judges then decide who would best represent Merle Norman. I have had the honor to photograph the last three Merle Girls.
Now if you wanna go waaay back...
It was back in the early 80's when I first met my now very good friend and daughter of Fran, Nancy Whitley Dearing. She showed me how to apply make-up just like her mom did. Nancy always made me look good for important events like dances, nights out, and even our graduation in 1988. When I would go to her home it always amazed me that the bathroom had as much makeup as the store!
Now, back to Renee... I hope this blog has peeked your interest because Renee is awesome and the products she carries are high quality. You are going to thank me!
Melissa M. Harden
Merle Norman's hours are:
Monday through Friday 9:30am - 5pm and Saturdays 9:30am to 3pm
1608 Broadway Ave.
Mattoon, IL 61938