Somewhat obscured behind a staircase at the Vaughn Building at Mile Marker 92.4 is a swank little salon called The Vanity Room.
Mara Daly, 39, who owns the three-chair salon, ran an advanced training center for stylists after a two-and-a-half year apprenticeship at Rittenhouse Square in her home town of Philadelphia.
Daly has appeared in a makeover story on public television and did hair for Nicole Miller's runway fashion shows at the Philadelphia Museum of Art before leaving the big city for a warmer climate.
"I gave it all up for a simpler life and ran away to the Florida Keys," she said. "My goal was to build a strong local clientele and now I'm booked solid."
Daly, who came to the Keys 10 years ago, worked as the sole hair stylist in the Toucan Building next to Froggy's Fitness Center until last summer when she opened The Vanity Room.
Along came her friend Missy DeFoor Woods, 30, who returned to her native Keys with her husband last summer after having plied her craft in Tallahassee where she had graduated from the Aveda Institute.
"I worked at another salon for a while before this worked out," said Woods. "I came by here one day and, not to be obtrusive, I peeked into the window and it was so pretty I told my husband that I am supposed to be here."
An animated Yara de la Torre, 21, is the third member of the team.
"Yara gives Mohawks. She's the go-to girl for edgy styles," said Daly.
The salon provides haircuts, coloring, blowouts and up-dos -- fancy hair styles for proms and weddings -- and will cut men's hair as well.
"With men and women we consult with them before ever picking up the scissors," Daly said. "We take the age, their job, everything pertinent into consideration. A good consultation is 50 percent of our industry."
Daly says she got so busy that she needed help and hired Woods and de la Torre to complete the team.
"I found two young stylists who have the same passion for hair that I have," she said. "We have a great team and our hope is to bring styling excellence to our clients."
The Vanity Room is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until "whenever," Daly said.
Call 305-852-4117 or 305-394-7702 for an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome.