Meet the Owner


Michelle Ghassemi(she/they)

Owner/Mindset & Business Coach for Creatives

“There are no limits to me, no limits to my company, no limits for those on my team.”

Michelle graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2005 for Cosmetology & attended Finlandia University in 2009 for Business and Communications. Throughout her career, she has played a variety of roles (stylist/manager/mentor/master colorist) in both local boutique salons & spa businesses across 3 states & corporations as well as a self-employed renter as a successful independent stylist. Although she is no longer behind the chair, making the transition to managing her own employee-based salons as CEO/CFO,  Michelle remains a growth centered strategist who strives to remain innovative in her approach to the industry & the needs of her team.

She works to fill a need to improve, expand & elevate the commission employee based business model in our industry, providing career minded stylists opportunities to grow far past the “max” of this model without the “toxic” salon culture. Meraki’s culture, that unspoken but felt “air” is equally if not more important to her than the amazing hair walking out the door, & she creates & cultivates this support on the daily. She values a holistic, low toxic environment for her salons, striving to ensure sustainability for stylists & the best haircare for guests, showing you can achieve luxury hair without the toxins!

Meet the Team

Summer Mitchell Master Colorist/Extension Specialist/Mentor~Lead Raleigh Location

Summer Mitchell (she/her)  

Master Colorist/Extension Specialist/Mentor~Lead
Raleigh Location

After concluding her schooling in 2008, Summer went on to work in a salon and complete her…

apprenticeship on the lovely 0BX (outer banks) of North Carolina.She has gone on to craft her passion with enhanced education from Aveda and Kevin Murphy to truly re-create all shades of blondes with classic and advanced custom techniques. She also enjoys textured cutting of all lengths and everyday styling. She has been trained in hand tied & tape in custom extensions. Summer has a unique ability to ensure her clients are truly heard & feel comfortable. She provides an honest upfront dialogue her clients can trust & rely on, to deliver the total package for them!

Ashley Walden craft hairdresser

Ashley Walden(she/her)  

Craft Hairdresser/Mentor~Lead
Both Locations

Graduating from Aveda in 2007, Ashley worked in Chapel Hill for 7 years then made the move to…

Raleigh. Specializing in natural balayage, full transformational colors and color contouring,  Ashley has the skills needed to formulate the perfect color for a guest whether it be dramatic, subtle or anywhere in between. “ I love taking on the ‘challenge’ of all hair types and taking part in matching my guests inner beauty with their outer beauty.”  Understanding the frustration of recreating a desired look, Ashley takes the time to listen to your routine and simplify your style and maintenance. “There are too many things in life to worry about already,  hair should NOT be one of those. I am all about kick ass hair with little effort.”

Katie Gilmore Master Stylist/Precision Cuts/Custom Color Durham Location

Katie Gilmore 

Master Stylist/Precision Cuts/Custom Color
Durham Location

Katie is a master stylist who has 15 years experience around the Durham/southpoint area. She specializes…

in precision cuts and textured cuts of all lengths. She loves to create custom colors and blonding using different techniques. Katie enjoys using her knowledge to create exactly what her clients are envisioning when they sit in her chair. “I love working with my clients to create unique looks that they feel great in.” When Katie is not in the salon she enjoys being outdoors with her husband and two kids.


Josie Fernandez  

Organic Colorist/Stylist
Raleigh Location

Josie graduated cosmetology school in 2007 in Orlando, Florida where she lived most of her life.  She…

was given some amazing career opportunities right out of school, but unfortunately as time went on she started to develop some health complications that were later diagnosed as an autoimmune disease.  Not knowing what to do, she took some time off and did some major research. Josie changed her diet, lifestyle, and most importantly changed the way she worked behind the chair. The past 8 years she spent building a successful career as a holistic hair stylist and teaching her clients that they could still obtain beautiful hair with cleaner, low toxic ingredients. She truly believes what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it and can’t wait to help her guests at Meraki Salon enhance their natural beauty!

Kerry Lott Balayage/Vivid Color & Shag Cut Specialist Raleigh Location

Kerry Lott(she/her)  

Balayage/Vivid Color & Shag Cut Specialist

Inventory Manager

Raleigh Location

Kerry is an Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill 2019 alum. She is a 2019 Professional Beauty Association…

Beacon winner where she attended specialized classes among other top students from across the country at the International Salon and Spa Expo. She enjoys vivid colors, custom cuts and all things balayage. She specializes in total transformations helping each guest achieve their perfect look! A life-long lover of art and fashion, Kerry graduated from NC State in 2017 with a degree in Fashion and Textile Management. She is excited to join the Meraki team where she can grow and learn alongside her fellow stylists & mentors! Besides her love of hair, she loves quality time with her loved ones and cat Luna. She enjoys listening to podcasts, drinking coffee and seeing live music.

Shelby Archer Dimensional Blonde & Extension Specialist Raleigh Location

Shelby Archer  

Dimensional Blonde & Extension Specialist
Raleigh Location

Growing up in rural Idaho, Shelby did not have access to high quality organic products like what we have…

here at Meraki. She have always been passionate about transforming hair through colors and cuts, as well as improving health and integrity of the hair at the same time. She started cosmetology school immediately after high school graduation, and have chased this passion until she found my dream job here at Meraki. “I truly love empowering people through their hair and makeup. There is nothing more rewarding than the smile on a client’s face at the end of a service.” Shelby loves all things blonding, as well as formal hair styling and makeup. I can’t wait to have you in my chair!

Megan Murphy Lived In Color Specialist/Vivids/Craft Cutting Durham Location

Megan Murphy(she/her)  

Lived In Color Specialist/Vivids/Craft Cutting
Durham Location

Megan is a 2019 graduate of The Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill and 2019 Beacon Award winner. Behind…

the chair Megan loves creating dimensional and lived-in looks, specializing in balayage/foilayage, vivid transformations and craft haircutting. Megan studied Art History at App State before deciding to make the switch to something more creative & hands-on, and hasn’t looked back since! Her hobbies include music, travel, cooking and anything artistic. “I’m so excited to join Meraki and to be apart of such an inclusive and welcoming environment! I believe that image and identity are important and really value my role in helping you cultivate and maintain your dream hair. When you’re in my chair you can feel free to be your most authentic self.”

Bekah Alfonso Custom Blonding/Vivid Specialist Durham Location

Bekah Alfonso(she/her)  

Custom Blonding/Vivid Specialist
Durham Location

Bekah is a 2019 graduate from Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill. She is currently polishing her technical…

skills & learning hands on with the talented Meraki team to be able to bring an elevated level of education & confidence behind the chair. “Coming to Meraki was one of the best decisions I ever made for starting off my career. I can’t wait to debut my techniques & create hair magic that makes my clients feel totally reinvented and sexy!” With a background in art & design, Bekah also has a passion for bright vivid color as well as custom blonding transformations with balayage & foilyage. She’s a Raleigh native that recently made the switch to Bull City and will soon be joining the Durham location full-time!

Rhiannon Quay Curl & Custom Color Specialist Raleigh Location

Rhiannon Quay(she/her)  

Curl & Custom Color Specialist
Raleigh Location

Rhiannon  graduated from Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill in February of 2020. Her favorite things behind…

the chair are vivid/fashion colors, balayage, and anything to do with curly hair! “I became passionate about hair when I was a teenager and wanted to learn more about my natural texture, and now I love to share everything I know with my clients and continue to learn everything I can about hair.” A few fun facts about her; “I am a cat lady and general animal lover, I enjoy reading, drawing, and playing video games in my spare time.”

Emily Satterfield Lived In Color Specialist/Video Content Creator Durham Location

Emily Satterfield 

Lived In Color Specialist/Video Content Creator
Durham Location

Emily graduated from cosmetology school in 2019 from Cape Fear Community College. Having grown…

up near Wilmington, NC; Emily is excited to start a new journey with the Meraki team in Durham! She started working in a salon in high school and knew she had a passion for hair! Behind the chair her focus is low maintenance lived in color techniques such as foilayage and balayage. She also enjoys styling the hair and haircuts. One of her main focuses is to ensure that the hair always keeps its healthy integrity when receiving any color service. She has a passion for learning and is dedicated to helping each person who sits in her chair create their hair goals. Making people feel empowered and confident through their hair is the best achievement.

Aaron Buday Gender Affirming Cuts &Vivid Color Durham Location

Aaron Buday(he/they)  

Gender Affirming Cuts &Vivid Color
Durham Location

Aaron joins us with experience in gender affirming haircuts as well as custom vivids and balayage.

A passion for education, he is excited for the opportunities that Meraki has to offer.
When he isn’t behind the chair, Aaron is a talented Cosplayer, sewing his own looks together. He also enjoys exploring all over North Carolina, crafting, and baking. Aaron is an animal lover and loves chatting with his guests on all things animals!

Emma Jean Cary Co-Artist/Apprentice

Emma Jean Cary(she/her)


I love learning about others and watching people fall in love with themselves. Which is why I completed…

cosmetology school this year. As for now I’m working as a salon coordinator at Meraki in Raleigh meanwhile I look forward to an apprenticeship, I’ll make sure you are taken care of at the front desk and never leave without a giving you a compliment & smile.

Hairstylist working on a client's hair
Team photo of salon coordinators in an outside location
Katherine Concepcion Front Desk Manager

Katherine Concepcion(she/her)

Lead Front Desk Manager

I’ve always been a creative person ever since I started grade school. I took lots of art classes in school and…

eventually graduated with a degree in Graphic Design! At the moment, I’m branching out and exploring my creative options since I’ve been wanting to try something new. I’m currently thinking of going to cosmetology school! As far as hobbies go, I love drawing and making digital art. My love for art translates to my love of makeup. I’ve always thought makeup was like painting your face. I also love playing video games and collecting plush toys!

Ash Bober Salon Coordinator

Ash Bober

Front Desk Manager

Ashley is a compassionate, free spirit who has an empathetic ability to connect with others. She has…

two rescue dogs that are her entire world. When she’s not studying for her interior design degree, you can find her crocheting a blanket, tending to her 50+ house plants, or outside enjoying nature. She is passionate about the environment, sustainability and vintage up-cycling. She is excited to grow & learn with the Meraki family!


Mara Evans

Lead Salon Coordinator/Video Content Creator

Mara has a passion for people. She combines her love for all things hair and caring for others as a salon…

coordinator. Whether she’s answering phones, checking out clients, or highlighting stylists’ talents for Instagram, Mara is energetic and aims to make you feel excited about being with us at Meraki2. Come say hi and be greeted with a smile!

Chloe Andreasen Salon Coordinator

Chloe Andreasen

Salon Coordinator

Chloe is someone who tries to do all things in her life in a way that is true to herself. She’s always loved…

fashion and all things that accompany it, but it’s unsustainable, wasteful practices have complicated her relationship with it as she’s gotten older. She decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Sciences because, while she is still undetermined in exactly how, she knows she wants to improve the ecofriendliness of fashion, cosmetic, and artistic industries. She’s always hated that sustainability and aesthetics are thought of as mutually exclusive and she looks to integrate them together into every facet of her life. In her free time she enjoys sewing clothes and thrifting them when they are too hard to make. She also loves hiking and just being outdoors in North Carolina, but would love to travel abroad.

Indiana Dunn Salon Coordinator

Indiana Dunn(she/they)

Salon Coordinator

Indi is currently a junior in Animal Science at  NC State. They have always had a strong passion for helping all…

animals and protecting the future of our wild species and environment. She hopes to pursue a career with exotic animals in the future with a focus on wildlife conservation. Although they aren’t in the stylist field, they have always had a great interest and intrigue for hair. She believes hair is an expression of identity and a beautiful art form. When not at the front desk, you’ll find Indi spending her time outdoors, loving on her many fur (and feather) babies, arts and crafting, or playing video games.


Claire Johnson(she/her)

Salon Coordinator

Claire has always expressed herself through art. When words do not come to mind, she uses her creative…

capabilities to convey herself. Throughout the years, her artwork on canvas turned into a desire to create art on hair. She currently attends cosmetology school and looks forward to starting her career in her hometown of Raleigh. “When I am not on the go, you can find me snuggling with my three dogs, binge watching/ reading the harry potter series, spending time outdoors, and traveling at any opportunity!”