To any beauty pro, Neill Corporation has a familiar ring—it’s the company that owns Paris Parker Aveda Salon Spas, Aveda Institutes, the Serious Business conference and much more. That empire, though, had humble beginnings as Magnolia Beauty Supply, founded by Abner and Harriet Neill in 1947 in Shreveport, LA. It was an old-school family-run beauty supply into the ’60s. When the couple’s son, Edwin II, got involved, he mixed up the business model and opened its first beauty school with family friend and hairdresser Sam Brocato in 1978. “[Edwin II]’s vision was that Neill become a single source for the salon, from product to education to equipment and retail furniture to software and business support to providing what salons need most, graduating hairdressers from our schools,” says his son Garrison Neill, who today oversees business development and marketing. “My dad wanted to elevate the beauty industry as a profession, and he was great at inspiring people.” Under Edwin II’s direction, Neill Corp. worked with a variety of brands, became the first million-dollar distributor for Redken and Paul Mitchell, and had the first million-dollar Aveda sales person.
In 1991, Neill Corp. not only became a Concept distributor for Aveda, which was unheard of at the time, but it decided to get into the salon business. “My mom was pregnant with my little sister Paris [Parker], and my dad thought it had a great ring for a salon name,” Garrison says. The first location opened in downtown Hammond; today, there are four in New Orleans, two in Baton Rouge, one in Mandeville and one in Hammond. With eight successful salons, the business continued to expand. In 2017, The Parker Barber opened in New Orleans’ Ace Hotel. The company also created Studio 633 on the second floor of one of the salons, which combines a training center, a photo studio and an event space for Paris Parker stylists. “It’s created this energy in our community—we’re collaborating with other brands, and we’re a content machine,” Garrison says.
Garrison isn’t the only one who entered the family business—five of his six siblings have roles at Neill Corp, as well as his mom, Debra, who took control after the passing of her husband, Edwin II. Garrison’s brother Tatum created Elevate, a community for hairdressers to gather and educate despite their brand affiliation, and their brother Edwin serves as president, to name a few.
To describe what’s next for the company is hard to say without diving into the nitty-gritty of each sect of the business, Garrison says, but one thing’s for certain. “We’re creating a long-lasting legacy that we can all be proud of.”