Bringing timeless style & beauty to the shore
SOMEONE already used “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” For Devon Tanski, who opened Elizabeth Eve Salon at 3335 West Avenue in November, 2020 was both a horrible time to launch a new business and the best possible time.
“Someone was looking to get out. It was just a really good opportunity for me to get in,” she said in a recent interview, sitting in a corner of the bustling salon.
“When I opened this place, it was horrible timing but it was perfect timing,” Devon said. Everyone had a
tough year in 2020, she said. The new endeavor provided inspiration and a common goal for the family members. It also distracted them from not being able to go somewhere warmer over the winter.
“It’s definitely a family endeavor here. My husband has been here painting until two o’clock in the morning. My grandfather has been in here helping me put up all the paintings,” Devon said.
One of the first things she did was rename the salon for her late grandmother, who died in 2020, and for her six- year-old daughter, Eve. Devon wanted to keep her family at the forefront.
“They’re the reason I come to work,” she said. Devon went to school in Ocean City, graduating in
2013. She said many of her classmates are starting to open their own businesses as well, renewing the local connections for another generation.
“When you grow up here, you don’t want to leave here. And even when you do leave, a lot of us come back,” Devon said. “It’s a great place to be.”
Devon and her husband, Jonathan Ramos, are both Ocean City locals and still live in town. She said she is a beach fan, but they are more likely to be on a boat than on the beach.
“My grandfather is an avid boater and has been my whole life. Whenever we’re off, we’re on the boat,” Devon said.
After getting her cosmetology degree, she worked in several salons in town and nearby.
“I’ve always envisioned having my own salon and having it be in Ocean City makes me even happier,” Devon said. The site is best known as the former location of C. Melini, where almost everyone got a haircut at some point. The business has other locations, but has not been at the small shopping center near 34th Street for some time.
“My mom was like, ‘That’s where I got my haircut when I was 15.’ Well, that’s where you get your hair cut again, Mom,” Devon said.
Images of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn adorn the walls.
“I obviously go for old school glamour,” she said. “It’s timeless. Whether you’re 21 or 91, you love Marilyn, Audrey and Frank. You know who they are. You think they’re beautiful. You want to embody it.”
She tried to bring a classic look to the space.
“When I opened my own place, I just wanted to create an atmosphere where my stylists, the guest, everyone felt comfortable coming in,” Devon said. “I wanted something that was young and fun, but also wasn’t going to make someone who’s a bit older feel uncomfortable. Sometimes trendy can be a bit much.”
She described hair as part of the fashion industry. She and the stylists at Elizabeth Eve work not only to keep up with trends, but also to understand the latest techniques. She said the industry changes constantly, moving faster than almost anything but tech.
“We’re always learning and growing. Always. Even through the pandemic we kept up with online classes,” Devon said. She also traveled to Connecticut to learn from a hair specialist.
Her grandmother was also a cosmetologist, she said, and her aunt had a beauty school which her grandmother attended.
“We’re a beauty business family,” Devon said.
Locals have noticed an increase in population through the winter, as many take advantage of working remotely to head to beach towns rather than staying in New York or other cities. Those folks have been looking for new places, including for their hair appointments.
“They’re looking for a new hair home and we’re happy to make them feel welcome,” Devon said. Starting in March, she said, the salon saw a big increase in the number of clients.
She said she wants to bring a sense of luxury to the clients.
“We are a resort,” she said of Ocean City.
The clients also expect their stylists to be well versed in the latest styles seen in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. According to Devon, right now the trend is for a 1970’s look with a shag haircut or the ‘90s look with contrasting colors.
“We’re a big color salon. But we’re also big with lashes. That includes lash extensions and lash lift and tints,” Devon said. The salon has a lash room.
Also trending is the balayage, which is typically done by hand. Devon described it as a lived-in highlight.
“Sun kissed,” she said. “It’s that surfer look. Those beautiful blondes that are out there surfing get those beautiful highlights because they’re in the salt water and they’re in the sun. Some people pay to have that instead of going surfing.”
She said she wants the stylists at Elizabeth Eve to have training in every technique they use. For instance, with hair extensions, sometimes what the client wants will not work with their hair.
“Sometimes you have to show the clients what’s possible,” she said.
The salon has a male clientele as well, Devon said, and the stylists have experience with men’s cuts. For now, walk-ins are not accepted. Clients have to call ahead.
“We have a lot of call-ins,” she said, adding “90 percent of them are men and they just want to come now.”
This will be the first summer for the new business, and Devon expects to be swamped.
“I’m very excited for it. I’m prepared,” she said.
Find this story and more in our May magazine!