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Conversations with Michelle Vijgen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Vijgen.

Michelle, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Panache was founded in 1987 and has evolved into a full service Aveda Lifestyle Salon and Spa serving St. Augustine and St. Johns County. We currently have a robust team of 52, and our passion is serving our guests from scalp to soul and living our mission of giving back to our community.

We started the LOVE YOUR MOTHER ECO FASHION show in 2006 to do just that! What began as a passion project for our team has become a community event that is fun, powerful, and effective. In 2016 we raised $87,000 for Home Again St. Johns, and our most recent show raised over $70,000 for Matanzas Riverkeeper.

This show is a collaboration of team and community where we all come together to create EPIC fashion from, basically, trash! It’s wild and fun and we love every minute of it.

LYM 2022 was held at Blue Water Jeweler because we wanted to really engage the small businesses that have pushed through the challenges we all faced trying to survive a worldwide pandemic. They are centrally located on the BLVD and graciously let us transform their parking lot into an event venue. We also invited other salons in the Aveda Florida Network to participate as well as local designers and businesses and it resulted in a fashion show with 18 designers, over 100 models, a brass band, a soloist, and a dance company!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I can’t imagine anyone ever really having a smooth road…but this year’s LYM Eco Fashion Show came together with very few hiccups, if any. When we started initial plans, we specifically looked to be outside so that we could be as safe as possible in light of COVID. However, people were ready to be together again…and this event was a great way to celebrate what we’ve all overcome over the last few years. It was a joy to bring local businesses together, to bring our community together, and to bring our AVEDA community together.

We are grateful for our title sponsors (Volkswagen, Hyundai, Kilwins, and Choco Lattes) who stepped up immediately and without hesitation. This event really solidified for me that people WANT to give, WANT to help and WANT to champion a cause. And clean water is a cause we can all very easily get behind!! It’s something we all need, enjoy, and very easily take for granted.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Personally, I am not an artist…I am one of the many who did the heavy lifting to pull the LYM Event together. Professionally, this is one of the biggest things I have ever done and I could not be more proud of our salon and our team. But what I love most is that it brought creatives and community together!

Our Panache Creative Director, Juliana Koutouzakis, really was the power behind the creatives.
My business partner, Kristy Weeks, also was a heavy lifter in pulling in sponsors.
Blue Water Jeweler, Nicole Nettles, was a huge part of our team.
Blackfly, Nick Massie, brought all the FUN! i.e. bar and bartenders.

So, this was a total team effort…that Panache is so proud of! And I believe our love of community and living to serve is what sets our business apart from others….and it is exemplified in our efforts thru LYM.

Personally, I am most proud of our lovely team at Panache. We have established a culture of care, from caring for each other, our guests, and our community and I am proud of them for walking that walk.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We ask that you be a conscious consumer….think about single-use plastics, and find ways to improve the world around you. Live from a place of kindness in all that you do.

And make your self-care appointments at Panache (haha).

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Carly Cristello
Snappin Necks Photography

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