Making the Cut
A Lake Country native returns home to open a kid-centered salon

By Ryan Billingham - Enterprise Staff

Oct. 23, 2014

Sara Ninmann, owner of Snips and Giggles, 183 E. Wisconsin Ave.,
snips 8-year-old Paige Taylor’s hair.

Photo by Ryan Billingham/Enterprise Staff

OCONOMOWOC — It’s almost 5 p.m. and Sara Ninmann is preparing for a birthday party. There will be hairstyling, manicures, food and cake, spa robes and perhaps a tiara or two. And the guests will be under 10.

At Snips and Giggles, Ninmann’s new salon in the Avenue Square Mall at 183 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite Q, kids rule.

Ninmann has been operating out of the large, bright space since school started and she’s settled in nicely. The space has a styling and haircut area with both traditional barber chairs and kid chairs, a pedicure area, a manicure space and a party room.

The salon is marketed for kids and offers a broad range of services and supplies, but it also serves adults. It hosts parties, does coloring, babies’ first haircuts, serves children who may have trouble in salons and much more.

For Ninmann, it’s the kids that make the work rewarding. She grew up in the area — some might remember her as a longtime Kiltie girl — and returned here to start the business.

Isabella Perez-Emory, 7, is treated to new nails in Snips and Giggles’ manicure area.
Photo by Ryan Billingham/Enterprise Staff

For more information go to the salon’s website at or give them a call at 262-569SNIP.

Ninmann sat down recently and answered some questions for the Enterprise.

ENTERPRISE: What’s your background and experience?

NINMANN: Snips and Giggles is the third store I have done now. I have had other stores up in the Green Bay area, DePere and Appleton. My husband and I are originally from here and we moved back here with the intention getting another store open. I’ve been a stylist for 20 years, I started when I was 18. The last couple years I have been working for different hairstyling manufacturers.

ENTERPRISE: Were you a “girly-girl” into hair and make up from a young age?

NINMANN: No. I am not a girly-girl. I love hair and I love kids, it’s not all about the girly stuff. We serve a lot of really difficult kids including some with autism. I just want it to be easy and friendly. I like that it’s girly and fun for the girls but I like that it’s an easy place for all kids to be. I knew that I would own a business, I am an entrepreneur but it wasn’t necessarily that it was girl-focused by any means.

ENTERPRISE: What makes Snips and Giggles different from other experiences a child would have at, say, a franchise salon?

NINMANN: When you come here you know that everyone likes kids. Because they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. No matter who you go to you know you’re going to have a kid-friendly stylist. And we’re really patient and we’re safe. If you have a child who has sensory issues or is scared, we really are focused on the child. The other thing, too, is the adults. We are a kids salon, we market ourselves that way but when we we build a relationship with a client, a lot of times the whole family will join in.

The party room at Snips and Giggles salon hosts birthday parties, scout troops,
“Diva For a Day” packages and more.

Photo by Ryan Billingham/Enterprise Staff

ENTERPRISE: While some kids have a normal fear of haircuts, which can sometimes be humorous, there are children that experience serious difficulties with the process, aren’t there?

NINMANN: Some kids have sensory issues in general. They don’t like the noise or the feeling of someone touching them. We’ve had kids vomit and scratch. That can be embarrassing for the parents if you were in a regular salon setting. We’re here for that purpose. There’s certain appointments we take outside of regular hours because we know it will be difficult, but that’s what we’re willing to do. On the flip side of that we have girls that come in that are princesses and they sparkle and they can’t stop looking in the mirror — it’s almost like Disney World for them.

ENTERPRISE: You do birthdays. Is that something you’ve done in the past?

NINMANN: It’s been very successful both in the previous locations and here. We also accommodate Brownie and Girl Scout troops. We talk about personal hygiene and keeping your hair and skin nice and give them a badge.

ENTERPRISE: You grew up here, right?

NINMANN: Well, my maiden name is Hammetter. I went to Arrowhead, but I was a Kiltie girl forever.

ENTERPRISE: What are some special things the salon does?

NINMANN: We do a lot of cool things. We have kid-safe products. We do fun packages for our clients. We do a Diva for a Day package for a special occasion. A girl can come in and get her nails done and her hair done. We also support a company called Children of Hair Loss. They’re out of Michigan and give free wigs to kids. Rather than Locks of Love we partner with a smaller company, because I have a personal relationship with them and I strongly believe in their mission.