Laura Hawes-Hammons rolled the dice and recently left her job. She has opened a full-service, organic salon - Carlins Concept Salon Spa. She loves to sip a good bourbon after a long day and is always on board to help women build up other women. iMeet this artistic business-owner who can’t pinpoint where she’s from but knows why she’s here.

Welcome to iMeet, Laura - tell us all about you...

I was born to Lucius Powhatan Hawes, Jr. and Carolyn Price at Daviess County Hospital in Owensboro in 1969.  I was the first grandchild of Lucius Powhatan and Gladys Van Pelt Dutrow Hawes and, Juanita and Leon Price.  My parents and I lived in a trailer on my dad’s parents’ farm between Yelvington and Maceo in Daviess County.  

When I was two, Dad joined the Army, and we moved to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, and then to Ft. Knox, where my sister, Lucia Hawes Mason, was born in 1973. We then moved to Louisville for three years while Dad attended law school.  


My friends and I walked to school at Emmitt Field Elementary until busing started and all the kids with “H” or higher in the alphabet were bused across town to Shawnee Elementary.  Shawn Horan and I became lifelong friends through those long bus rides across town to school. I remember being so scared because I thought my parents wouldn’t know how to find me if I needed them. My teacher told my parents I would lay my head on my desk every day and refused to do my work. When dad came to school and showed me he could find me if I needed him, all was well again.  

Then, we settled in Hopkinsville where my Dad started his law practice, and I entered the third grade at Holiday Park Elementary School.

At the start of my junior year in high school, Lucia, Mom, and I moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee where I was introduced by friends to Brad Hammons (who coincidentally had also moved there from Hopkinsville). Brad turned out to be the man I would later marry and who would become my very best friend.  

After I graduated from high school, I spent the next four years completing my bachelor’s degree at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. During my senior year at Austin Peay I accepted a position at an outpatient mental health center.

Brad and I married in 1990, and the love of our both our lives, Joshua Bradley, came into the world in 1994. Blessed with Brad’s support, I left my job in the behavioral health field and became a stay-at-home mom. Those were five of the most joyous years of my life so far.

When Josh was two I started a small cleaning business, completed my master’s degree, fell in love with running 5 and 10Ks (with the encouragement of my mom), read countless Dr. Seuss books, and watched lots of Winnie The Pooh and Veggie Tales videos!  


When Josh started kindergarten, I took a part-time job at the YMCA and became the Wellness Director.  

In 2003 when Brad’s parents were downsizing from the family homestead, which had been in the Hammons family since it was build in the 1920s, we felt led to buy it and moved back to Hopkinsville. My mom had moved back too so our immediate family was all there. With Brad’s blessing, I was a stay-at-home mom again.  

During those three years we remodeled the house, raised a garden each year, and got acquainted with Hopkinsville again. Josh was nine when I went to work at the Christian County Health Department.

We lived in the family home for 13 years, enjoying many family get-togethers and quiet nights around the pool. But after Josh left for college at the University of Kentucky in 2012, the 2-story home was too much for just two people to be knocking around in. Although it was sad to say goodbye, we sold our home to a nice family and moved to Benton where I had accepted the position of Director at the Marshall County Health Department. We still live in Benton, both of us commuting to work. Brad has worked in Clarksville in the home building industry for over 30 years and works for Best Distributing.  

iMeetAfter moving to the area, when we would ask where to eat and what was fun to do, people often told us about restaurants and events in Paducah. During our regular visits to Paducah we quickly realized the town is a really welcoming and progressive city.  Having lived in different places, I have developed a sensitivity to communities with a welcoming, open-minded vibe. I feel “at home” when I am in Paducah. We came every Friday night for date night at Flamingo Row. Our nephew joked that we should buy stock in the restaurant!  And as we explored all Paducah had to offer, we fell in love with the charm and friendly, welcoming spirit of the people here.

So, when asked the simple question, “Where are you from?”, I really can’t give a one-county, one-city or one-state answer. As I have settled into who I am, I’ve learned that for me the answer is, “We are all from the same place, and we’re here sharing this planet for a short time. I was born in Owensboro, and I want to contribute positively right where I am and wherever else life may take me.”

Wow- that's a pretty profound answer - how about your family?

Brad and I have been married for 28 years and have one kitty, Lola, who is the smallest and sweetest cat we have ever had. Our son Josh married Kerri Bucholtz Hammons, who is from California, last December, and they live in Warrensburg, Missouri with their new kitty, Mindy.  Josh is a pilot in the Air Force, and Kerri is an Assistant Loan Officer at a bank. 


Tell us about your business, Carlins Concept Salon Spa...Why did you decide to open it? 

The process of bringing Carlins Concept Salon Spa to Paducah unfolded over a year and a half.  As a stay at home mom for eight years, we often had staycations rather than vacations. I loved couponing and finding the things we needed at yard sales and consignment shops. One of the splurges I allowed myself then was getting my hair done at full service, organic salons. As a new mom, I was learning about healthier alternatives and going to an organic concept salon was one of the first steps I made toward being friendlier to my body and the planet. My spa days helped me escape from the stress of life for just a little while.

The vision of Carlins came to me one day as I was driving home from a salon visit to my friend and stylist, Michelle Ferrell. It was a compilation of all the unique full service, organic salons and spas I’ve had the pleasure to visit around the country over the years. You might imagine my loving and supportive husband’s response when I excitedly said, “Honey, I’m being led to open an organic concept salon and spa in Paducah and through it I will be able to contribute to Paducah and help women!  Oh yeah, and this one other small thing: I’ll have to quit my safe, paying job (the reason we moved to Benton), so I can do it.”


He is a saint to put up with me all these years because I’ve been led in lots of directions. And once again, he was in full support and has been cheering me on every day, helping me anyway he can while working his demanding career in Clarksville. Several days he “kindly” dragged me out of bed when I was panicking and praying I had “heard and seen” this correctly. So, with divine intervention, the encouragement, help, love and support of my family, close friends and mentors, the vision of Carlins came to life.  

Along this exciting, terrifying, and rewarding journey many giving, kind, compassionate people have come into my path. Each of them contributed to the opening of Carlins. My heart belongs to a mission to help women and to give back to this community that has given so much to me in the four years I’ve been here.  I believe I am always exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

I was led to Paducah to open this salon to give women the opportunity to be pampered and have a healthy escape from the stress of life, if only for a few hours, and to be a part of a community where unity, inclusion, and diversity are embraced and encouraged.

You opened this summer I believe…

Yes, we had our soft opening on June 13 and are enjoying meeting and serving our guests. Our staff includes Mitch York our manager who is a master stylist with 28 years of experience in the beauty industry; Jack Ramalho who is our team leader and has 22 years of experience in beauty; Katherine Hughes and Lori McCord, our new guest services coordinators. They are delightful to work with and bring their positive energy to the salon every day. We will celebrate our grand opening with a ribbon cutting and open house on Thursday, September 20 .


What sets your spa apart from others in the area?

Each salon and spa I’ve visited is unique and has its own culture and feel. We are a natural, full service concept salon and spa. For women and men we offer a full range of hair services, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and facials. We use and sell only one product line, Natulique a certified organic hair color and hair care line made with natural ingredients. These products create healthy hair with lasting shine and are ammonia free, cruelty free, vegan, and certified organic. They are manufactured using wind power and packaging is made from recycled materials.

We recycle and offer guests $4 off shampoo and conditioner when bottles are returned for refilling. Or we are happy to recycle product bottles for our guests who bring them in empty.

Our priorities are pampering our guests, maintaining a calming and clean environment, and contributing to a healthy community in all we do. Just as my life is a work in progress, so is the salon  - when someone visits us, we want them to leave feeling more relaxed than when they came in.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I’m an introvert who enjoys people and recharges in solitude. I love to write, read, and draw.  I journal almost every morning. It’s a form of prayer and meditation for me, allowing me to re-center and start the day positively.

When I was younger I was into scary movies and science fiction books. Now I’m mostly drawn to romantic comedies and non-fiction. I admit I’m addicted to listening to Youtube videos on as many different topics as possible. I particularly like listening to Ted Talks. One of my favorites is “The Importance of Being Clueless” by Sahar Hashemi. I feel a kinship with her even though I’ve never met her.  

I like to be physically active, and Brad and I love to walk at Mike Miller Park near our home.   My most treasured memories are of time spent with my family and close friends. 


What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

I love a glass of Woodford Reserve bourbon after a long day.  (Okay. Okay. Sometimes more than one, but who’s counting?)

What's your favorite essential oil?

I like spearmint because it smells so good and has a calming effect on me.


If I gave you $1000 to spend any way you would like, what would you do with it?

I would give it to supporting young women. I feel like society has encouraged women to compete with each other, and I want to contribute to the movement of women encouraging and supporting each other. I think we need to start when girls are young. I love the saying “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”