Katy Lewis with Vivian James American Beauty, Admiring the Beauty in the Cracks

Katy Lewis, Owner of Vivian James American Beauty

“Therapy is expensive. Get a haircut instead! We’re great listeners.” 

This was the saying on the chalkboard at the doorway of Vivian James American Beauty, a salon on our historic and charming Main Street as Festus and Crystal City blend together in our small Missouri community. As I walked through the threshold of the door, I quickly understood how therapeutic and welcoming the owner, Katy Lewis, is. Confident in the expertise and value she and her team offer for hair solutions, Katy wanted to convey how the environment she has created is quite unique, like the therapy chalkboard message outside.

The word “therapy” can hold different meanings for each of us; however, Katy is intentional to help remove negative associations from the word to foster a connection between therapy and healing. She has recognized that this can happen by simply talking and listening.

The team at Vivian James American Beauty knows a thing or two about how much people like to talk. They also recognize how much people like to hide and NOT talk about their internal struggles and mental instabilities. Many of us tend to avoid uncomfortable conversations by diverting tough topics to talk about something lighter and brighter. While this can be beneficial at times, there is a healing power within having real dialog to help with even the most minuscule mental struggle.

Katy has experienced her share of both itty-bitty and big internal struggles. Born and raised in the Festus area, she has spent the last two decades crafting her art in the beauty industry, transforming thousands of lives, including celebrities while living in different parts of the country. She found her way back home a few years ago. Always finding comfort behind the stylist chair, Katy’s clients found comfort in talking with her. This, paired with her incredible, artistic talent made business-building easy. 

What wasn’t as easy for Katy was learning how to genuinely love her authentic self as much as her clients, colleagues and family members did. She opened up about her challenges with her own mental health, depression and even a chapter when she tried to take her own life. While she understands this is often the last thing people want to talk about, Katy is adamant about reversing this negative stigma to raise awareness regarding the importance of mental health. 

In addition to this being a consistent topic of conversation within her team at VivianJames American Beauty, to ensure her fellow stylists have the tools and support they need, Katy has also partnered with A Fighting Chance Foundation, a public charity focused on raising mental health awareness by providing education and resources for those who need proactive and reactive help. 

Katy was proud to claim that her salon was one of several businesses to be “First Aid Certified in Mental Health” after completing a program taught by A Fighting Chance Foundation. This education encourages Katy‘s team to have the knowledge and skills for their own well-being, as well as learning how to help clients who walk through their door. 

This loving and supportive team welcomes anyone to walk through their doors, encouraging people to come as they are. Despite the fancy, chic, elegant, modern and boujee decor, the energy is relaxed, comfortable, chill and welcoming. As Katy was decorating her salon space, she was intentional to use gold accents, referring to Kintsugi, the Japanese art of filling pottery cracks with gold. This glow highlights the “flaws” to create a uniquely beautiful piece of art. There is no intention to erase or cover up what has been broken. The gold honors the chips and cracks, for a special and valuable piece unlike any other.

The scars are the design. Your attention is drawn to the cracks and how they are mended. That is what you’re supposed to see. The beauty is in the brokenness.” 

– Justin Whitmel Earley

Katy and her team honor the beauty within the challenges that may feel like flaws. While they are proud of their skills to enhance the beauty of one’s outer appearance, they feel the most pride in helping people to feel beautiful on the inside. 

Upon leaving, as I walked outside of the salon door, I fully understood the real meaning behind the therapy chalkboard.

This is a non-paid endorsement, inviting you to let your guard down, be authentic and allow the Vivian James American Beauty team help you to highlight the golden beauty within you. 

Abbey French and Katy Lewis

A special shout out and a thank you to the sweet and talented Abbey French, who soften my locks with a healing and therapeutic hair mask, followed by trimming up my crispy dead ends. She has been working with Katy for years and is accepting new clients. She loves helping with all hair transformations, especially color alterations.

Learn more about the healing listeners at:

Vivian James American Beauty

519 Bailey Rd, Crystal City, MO 63019

(636) 638-1414




VivianJames American Beauty

A Fighting Chance Foundation

More on our internal chatter:

Channeling Chipmunks to Overcome the Chatter

While you are in the Festus/Crystal City area, enjoy stopping into many of the fine local establishments. Perhaps explore: 

Pine Mountain Country Coffee House & Mercantile in Festus, MO

The Brick Bistro & Brew in Festus, MO

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