'We're on the cutting edge.' This South Hall hair stylist brings a small-town feel to big-city style

Nov. 24—In 2013, Matthew Miller opened the doors of Matthew's and Co. Salon in Flowery Branch with one dream: to bring the style and quality of services found in Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta and Italy to North Georgia.

Previously housed in a Publix shopping center, the salon now operates inside a 7,500-square-foot building formerly occupied by Fidelity Bank on Spout Springs Road.

As a multi-talented colorist, stylist and barber, Miller's 17-year track record includes studying under Mazella and Palmer in Italy, apprenticing under renowned master stylist Tony Riley of Siggers Hairdressers and finishing sixth out of more than 1,000 stylists nationwide in a haircutting competition in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2013.

The industry didn't spark interest with Miller as a main hustle, but rather grew into a passion after he'd bounced between different crafts, including landscaping and launching a business building American muscle cars that he said brought him six years of success until the Great Recession reared its head in 2008.

"When the economy tanked ... (and) I lost my business, I started doing any and everything I could to make money, so I started working at a women's hair salon," Miller said.

Miller started working one or two days a week at Siggers Hairdressers, "one of the No. 1 salons in Atlanta and the forefathers of hair in Atlanta," he said, doing designs on shaved heads of women.

A lead stylist at Siggers convinced Miller to venture into women's hair, and from there he pursued a career in hairdressing.

"That lead stylist told me, 'We love women, we can look at the hair color and put it with their skin color or their eye color, we can put the hair cut with their face shape,' and I just fell in love with it," Miller said. "I knew all along that I love doing hair, just never even thought that it would be something that I would do."

After traveling all over the world teaching and learning how to do hair, Miller brought his vision of "a small-town feel with a big-city experience" to Flowery Branch.

"I knew I wanted to bring that quality to Hall County — I did live in Hall County for about half my life, so I knew there was a need for a high end salon of that type of quality," Miller said.

Miller continues to push boundaries in people's perspective of small-town salons by keeping up with the latest trends from major cities. Miller is traveling to London in January to study under some of the world's top stylists.

"I like to go and learn under the best, the newest (and) the most innovative and bring that back to my staff, my hairdressers and teach them that," he said. "We are on the cutting edge; we are the newest, greatest and best with the newest techniques."

Miller and his team also spearhead many community outreach projects.

"I'm from the community and I feel like it is a job, you know, leading a small business, to really teach people what matters and not just take, take, take," Miller said. "We like to give back."

On Monday, Dec. 12, the salon is providing free haircuts and services to community members in need, as well as clothing donations.

"It's priceless, the feeling that that gives us to make someone feel better about themselves," Miller said. "That's what really inspires us — just to bring joy and show the community that we care about them and give back as much as we can."

As for the future of Matthew's and Co., Miller sees his salon continuing to grow while maintaining quality.

"For a five-year mark, I want to have 50 stylists, and in 10 years I want to have 80 stylists," he said.

Matthew's and Co. Salon is located at 7375 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch.

For a complete list of services and prices, matthews-co-salon.com.