A local couple is bringing their passion for hair and family to their remodeled Islamorada salon.
“We couldn’t fail,” said Jamie McNew, who owns J-Kindred with her husband, Joshua. “With J Kindred, the J is for Jamie and Joshua. The Kindred is for kindred spirits and our family. It’s really us.”
Jamie moved down to the islands at age 22 from Niagara Falls, as her dad lived in the Keys. She started at a small salon next to Winn Dixie that is no longer there. When summer hit, Jamie got a big surprise on “Where did all the people go?” She quickly learned how hard it is down here and transferred over to Blu Bamboo.
“I’ve been very lucky and fortunate,” she said.
Joshua, originally from Arkansas, was a brand manager for Kevin Murphy and came down to the Keys to check on his clients. Josh admits to keeping an eye out for attractive ladies while he was traveling, when he met Jamie stopping in at Blu Bamboo. Jamie happened to be eight months pregnant at the time, but they still felt a connection and kept in touch. So, when Josh made his way down to the Keys, he reconnected with Jamie via Facebook.
Right after Irma, they were offered the opportunity to purchase J-Kindred from the original owners. Josh is a risk-taker and jumped right in. Jamie followed in November.
It was a tough decision for Jamie to leave Blu Bamboo, but the opportunity with her future husband and life partner made sense for her next chapter. She loved working at Blu Bamboo, so overcoming the fear of venturing into a new business was intense.
“Combining a blended family with four kids total and then opening a salon was a challenge, but we both had the same goal and failing wasn’t an option. And that’s honestly what makes us work.” Jamie said.
At the same time, they both said, “We have the same goals.”
On the flip side, “We are different hairdressers,” Joshua McNew said. “We are artists, and our goal is to satisfy our clients with their needs and their wants.”
“But we have to also merge in our education and where our passions have led us in terms of our education,” Jamie McNew said.
They explained that Jamie is good with everything, and Joshua’s passion is cutting and finishing hair.
“But I’ve learned to be a better colorist now because of her,” Joshua said.
I had to ask, “Is it like being a bartender?” They both chuckled, “Jamie obviously has more conversations, as me being a dude, the women don’t tend to share as much.”
The best thing about living in the Keys? “It’s amazing that we get to do what we love and can live here. And the people here are some of the happiest people I have ever met,” Jamie said. “The drive is our family and our kids, and we always talk about how we want to raise our kids.”
How do they find balance? “We work a lot, so we have to take separate days off. And try to find alone time. At home, we are mom and dad. Here we are the owners and stylists and then we really have to find time for ourselves,” Jamie said.
“I can work with her every day of the week, all day, but then Friday night go to dinner and sit down across from her and be like, ‘Hi,’” Josh said.
“It’s like we are dating all over again,” Jamie said. “We do talk about work; it’s inevitable. We can’t talk about things at the salon, and we try not to talk about it at home.”
Anything they disagree on? Josh quickly says, “Yes, she’s been bugging me for years to get a glitter wall.”
A glitter wall sounds fun, doesn’t it?