‘Natural Artistry’ Training Helps Salon Owner Margrit Thrive in Palm Beach

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Margrit Bessenroth has been turning heads on the island of Palm Beach since arriving in 1965.

She and her husband, Udo, were living in their native Germany when they decided to move to a warmer climate. Her husband had traveled across the United States and thought Palm Beach was the best place to live, she said.

“I grew up in Bremerhaven, Germany, in a working-class family. My father was a fisherman,” Bessenroth said. “My days in high school were spent choosing a career. I had good hands, a natural artistic sense and a talent for working with hair. By the time I arrived in Palm Beach, I had had three years of intensive training in chemistry, skin, and hair, plus five years of hands-on experience.

Margrit Bessenroth, front, who opened the new version of Salon Margrit in 1990, employs dozens of workers at the salon and in adjacent stores.

“Elizabeth Arden hired me. I was terrified. I didn’t speak a word of English, but I learned. The next year I took the (state cosmetology) test, I graduated and started working the season in Palm Beach Nov 15-May 15, and the rest of the year in New York I was doing up to 60 clients a day It was the best life There were parties three or four times a week.

Bessenroth recalls the 60s and 70s as glamorous decades. In 1980, she decided to open her own boutique – Salon Margrit – next to the original Café L’Europe on the second floor of the newly built Esplanade.

Read more:End of an era: the Esplanade of Palm Beach moves to transform a restaurant into offices

In 1987, a client of hers was trying to sell a property she owned: the 1929 Tudor building at the corner of Brazilian Avenue and South County Road.

Bessenroth had loved the distinctive building since the day she came to Palm Beach. So she sold her five properties in Rhode Island and West Palm Beach, and bought it.

In 1990 Salon Margrit was opened in a new location. The plan was to have a full-service salon, as well as boutiques in the style of his mentor, Elizabeth Arden.

Margrit Bessenroth purchased the 1929 Tudor building at the corner of Brazilian Avenue and South County Road in 1987.

“I started dating Margrit 40 years ago when she worked for Elizabeth Arden on Worth Avenue near Renato’s. I have a permanent appointment every Friday,” said Palm Beach resident Arlette Gordon. “She has a natural way with color and cut. Always has a smile on his face. She is very generous to people like me who approach her to donate to my charities.

Today, Salon Margrit is home to several businesses: A men’s and women’s hair salon that offers facials and makeup; a full-service spa offering deep-tissue massage, reflexology, and tanning services; a nail salon; and Abby’s on the Island, a clothing and jewelry boutique.

His daughters-in-law, retailer Abby Bessenroth and stylist Melrose Bessenroth, joined the business and brought a contemporary feel to the whole thing. Abby’s on the Island offers stylish clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry. Melrose Bessenroth specializes in working with long hair, extensions and Balayage, a French hair painting technique.

Abby's on the Island offers stylish clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry.

“I love hair. It’s all about color, tone on tone. I know what’s best for hair and I’m really picky,” Margrit Bessenroth said.

“She’s so full of common sense, so full of love for her customers,” said 30-year-old customer Molly Charland. “She is funny and gives good advice. I never walked out of there looking great.

August and September promotions

The beauty day on Tuesdays and Thursdays that includes a facial, massage, manicure, pedicure, and blow-dry costs $300 (it’s regularly $500). There’s also 30% off all wax services on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Microdermabrasion costs $150; it’s regularly $285

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Margrit Lounge

165 Brazilian Ave.

561-655-3430

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