Cierra Murphy

Blu Salon & Spa Owner

Why Blu? Cierra's Story

May 10th, 2020

I’m sitting in my oversized comfy chair at home next to the most adorable lamp enjoying a Diet Coke and stealing some fruit snacks from my kiddos because they’re finally asleep. I have The Nanny on in the background and I’m the most relaxed I’ve been all week. This isn’t the life I expected… instead, it’s so much more than I could have ever dreamt of. I don’t know that I ever sat back and really discussed, Why Blu? It’s not a short story, but it’s mine. 

In high school, I always loved doing hair. I did girls’ hair for volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading events. Then, when I got to SDSU I started coloring (YES with box color…cringe!) my friends’ hair. I just wasn’t sure being a hairstylist was what I wanted for the rest of my career. I went into Sociology with an emphasis in Human Resources… I even got a minor in Communication Studies, and for your info – I was 1 credit away from a minor in Criminal Justice, too!  

My junior year at SDSU, I had a life changing event occur. My friend, and soon to be roommate, passed away in a tragic car accident. Kayla was the closest thing I had to a sister. This accident made me realize I needed to do what I love because LIFE IS SHORT. I knew I loved to do hair. So, I agreed with my parents that I would go to Stewarts School of Cosmetology and continue my education at SDSU. 

After graduation from both SDSU and Stewarts, I worked full time at a reputable salon in Brookings. While I was there, I learned how great a boss can be, how to work hard, and how to treat others. I was extremely fortunate to work under what I will say was one of the most amazing women I have ever met and admire to this day. She has since passed; I will forever be grateful for how she treated me as an employee. 

Moving forward, I married my farmer husband, Forrest. (Something I never thought I’d do!) Growing up with a farmer father, I told myself I couldn’t do that… but here we are and I am SO blessed to have a wonderful husband and absolutely the best father for my children I could have ever imagined. Even though I married my soulmate, we still had some struggles along the way. We had struggled with miscarriages. When we finally were able to keep a viable pregnancy, at 16 weeks we found out that our son had an extremely rare condition. At 20 weeks, we were told that he would likely not survive the birthing process and if he did, he likely not make through the first week of life. We delivered Cowan at 31 weeks and I watched as our doctor and husband baptized him. I felt the presence of angels in that moment. That exact moment changed my life forever. I knew that I was meant to be more. That I was meant to help others in my own way. (Since then, Forrest & I have been blessed with our amazing girls — Crue and Curri — who keep life interesting and full of love!)

Every night since I was little, I was a dreamer. What would I do if I was a millionaire? How is my wedding going to look? What will my kids be like? What if I owned a salon + spa? What if I was a fashion designer in LA? After Cowan passed, I started thinking about obtainable, controllable dreams and how could I achieve them. I chose to focus on how could I make MY dreams come true. I started small but was still told “no” by multiple people. Finally, I found a bank and banker that believed in my vision. I wanted to create a space that made absolutely everyone (men, women, children) all feel special. Maybe they are having a tough time at home, maybe they are feeling a loss, or maybe they just need to get a boost of confidence… whatever the case, I wanted a judgement-free, comfortable, and positive place for people to get pampered right here in Brookings. 

Not only did I want clients to feel comfortable, I also wanted a place where employees were valued. I dreamed of employees knowing they are a valuable part of something bigger… all the while bringing their own spice to the mix. I wanted a place where we build each other up and really focus on how we could play off one another’s strengths and work together.

After I started to clarify my vision, I called a dear friend of mine, Marisa Milton. 

I said, “Mars, I want to run this idea by you.” 

I told her all about it. She was quiet on the other end until she finally said, “YOU WOULD BE FABULOUS.”

She offered to take me around Minneapolis to research and explore. I went there several times and learned so much. We went out to eat and the wine was good and flowing. Marisa, my cousin Chellsy, and I were talking about my vision. 

Marisa looked at me and said, “So what are you going to call this? It isn’t real until you give it a name.” 

I love SDSU, so I wanted something that aligned with that… hence, Blu. After the word “Blu” came out – I instantly knew what I wanted it to mean: Beauty Lies Underneath. I want the beauty of your soul to match what you look like on the outside! I want people to feel confident in their own skin and shine. I want to be reminded of those days back in high school when I found such joy in doing hair and bringing smiles to other’s faces. I want to remember what it’s like to be a part of a business where I am valued and treat others with the same respect. I want to be there for people who want to look and feel good – no matter what life throws their way. 

From there, we made BLU a reality. I can’t wait to share it with you.