Member Spotlight: Muse Extension Lounge

Owner Julia Ward of Muse Extension Lounge.
Photography by Gothgloss Photography.

Integral to The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale’s mission is telling the stories behind the small businesses Scouted in each Volume. The story begins in print and continues online, after all. As you peruse Volume 3, discovering or rediscovering the faces behind the places that define the Valley, we are thrilled to deepen your connection to them — and the community — through Member Spotlights.

Years of telling the stories of Phoenix and Scottsdale businesses have demonstrated to us the importance of details — more specifically, the attention to which the Valley’s most successful businesses pay to them. Volume 3’s Muse Extension Lounge is no different. In fact, the luxury hair extension lounge is predicated on them. 

It’s a delicate and detail-oriented process, Natural Beaded Rows. And it’s no secret the process can take hours. “We say it’s high maintenance to be low maintenance,” laughs owner and founder of  Muse Extension Lounge, Julia Ward. Yet, by all accounts – rave client reviews, stunning client transformations, and Julia’s palpable enthusiasm – it’s more than worth it. Here, we chat with Julia about the details that go into being Arizona’s top hand tied extension studio, Natural Beaded Rows, and building a business in the Valley. 

Images courtesy of Muse Extension Lounge.

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Before we dive into the details that make Muse Extension Lounge the Valley go-to for Natural Beaded Rows, let’s talk about you and your entrepreneurial origin story. 
Julia Ward: I was born and raised in Washington state. After graduating, I decided to jump right into entrepreneurship. I fell in love with being an entrepreneur and mentor but still felt like something was missing. Discovering the educational aspect of Natural Beaded Rows transformed my career. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: How so? 
Julia Ward: My client focus shifted to Natural Beaded Rows and I outgrew the culture of the salon I previously owned. In 2020, I opened the first Natural Beaded Row (NBR) salon in Washington and became a national educator for NBR.

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: And Muse was born! In describing the impact of Natural Beaded Rows on your career, you mentioned culture. Can you speak to the culture you set out to create at Muse and why it’s so important? 
Julia Ward: Absolutely. At that time, hair extensions were considered a luxury, an indulgence. But I’d seen firsthand the transformative impact Natural Beaded Rows had on clients. It was important to me to change the narrative around hair extensions and communicate to women that the confidence hair extensions offered wasn’t a luxury; that they could put themselves first. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Functionally, what does that look like at Muse? 
Julia Ward: The team at our salon is unique. We’re here to support one another, to help one another become successful and unique within our industry. There’s a lot of laughter. It’s a safe space where people can be their authentic selves. This, I believe, translates into the client experience. 

Photography by Gothgloss Photography.

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Let’s talk about the client experience. It’s one of the many things that drew us to Muse. 
Julia Ward: It’s a red-carpet experience with no detail spared. Clients are greeted with a seasonal “Musemosa” or signature coffee and treated to snacks or lunch on install day. We hope the process is like a well-oiled machine from inquiry (online, of course, with plenty of opportunity to share inspiration and hair history) to scheduling (over the phone with me) to installation and maintenance. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: For the uninitiated, can you explain what Natural Beaded Rows are? 
Julia Ward: Natural Beaded Rows (or NBR) is the original hand-tied method of hair extensions introduced about 11 years ago. It’s a damage-free, comfortable hair extension option applied using the original and refined beaded row and ISLA® hand-tied hair methods. It’s great for an active lifestyle and totally customized to your hair. With multiple hair texture options, custom color, placement, and cutting, NBR will look and feel like your real hair. You can even style it like natural hair. Plus, the extensive licensing requirements for NBR artists make it the best option out there. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What are those licensing requirements? 
Julia Ward: To be licensed to do Natural Beaded Rows, artists must complete a year-long program with in-person and online checkpoints. This is an incredible part of NBR, as our industry has no formal regulation about hair extensions. I repeat, hairdressers are not required to complete extra education to do hair extensions. However, every artist employed at Muse is licensed or in the process of being licensed. I love the opportunity to mentor these new NBR artists, and it’s a unique opportunity for them, as there are few NBR national educators. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Are there any misconceptions about Natural Beaded Rows you’d like to dispel? 
Julia Ward: Hair extensions are not supposed to be painful! If your hair extensions are painful, if you feel like you have to take Advil or Tylenol, or have a hard time sleeping, your extensions are legitimately ripping your hair out from your head! This is not normal, and should never be normalized. NBR doesn’t sew into your hair, the rows do not pull, and should feel like next to nothing. So, in addition to not being painful, NBR should not (and doesn’t, because of the incredible training) damage your natural hair. And, while we’re on the subject, know that you don’t have to get mermaid hair when you get NBR. We have lots of clients who come in and want fuller, shoulder length hair! 

Images courtesy of Muse Extension Lounge.

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: You’ve talked about the Muse artist. Can you speak to the Muse client? 
Julia Ward: The Muse client is a woman who is willing to invest in themselves, in their confidence. Our clientele runs the gamut — entrepreneurs to stay-at-home moms, executives to women suffering from hair loss. High maintenance to be low maintenance is what all of our Muse babes enjoy! 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Can you walk us through the process of getting Natural Beaded Row extensions at Muse for the first time? 
Julia Ward: Sure! Before setting foot in the salon, first-time clients will have a call with me or my team to discuss their goals and schedule their installation. We anticipate installing NBR to take between four to five hours. We’ve curated a spa-inspired setting so our clients can sit back and relax. Of course, we also understand our clients have a busy lifestyle, so we have stations for our clients to continue to work throughout their appointments. We also treat them to snacks and lunch during their time with us! 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What is maintenance like? 
Julia Ward: To maintain the fabulous look and feel, Muse babes come in for maintenance every six to eight weeks. During these appointments we discuss how the hair extensions felt and looked, evaluate hair color and length, and tweak as necessary. We’ll move up the rows and give clients a micro trim to ensure we’re keeping their natural hair healthy and happy, too. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What should women consider when investing in extensions? 
Julia Ward: We encourage clients to do their research on the salon, artist, extensions being used, and their own goals. I know that many people are hesitant about hair extensions because of the potential damage they can do to hair, but NBR was specifically developed to eliminate damage to natural hair. Natural Beaded Rows are engineered with only 10 to 15 contact points per row, which, coupled with extensive education and attention from our artists, means great things for your hair. Think of it as a bit high maintenance to be low maintenance. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What is the most rewarding part of Muse? 
Julia Ward: The transformations. I’ve seen firsthand the impact hair extensions have on the way women feel about themselves and, by extension (no pun intended), show up in life. It is such a privilege to give women the confidence to be who they want to be. I have story after story about Muse babes stepping out into the world and achieving things they wouldn’t have otherwise done without the confidence their new hair gave them. It’s so fulfilling to watch. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: How do you stay inspired? 
Julia Ward: Fashion really inspires me — I’m obsessed with all things style! I can sit and talk about designers for hours: who is wearing what, how I’m expressing who I am through hair and fashion… We’ve integrated this love into the Muse culture with Fit Fridays. You can watch on Instagram every Friday! 

Images courtesy of Muse Extension Lounge.

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: You started Muse in Washington, but obviously have a salon here in Phoenix. Can you speak to your cross-country move? 
Julia Ward: After my eldest graduated high school, we felt like we had the opportunity to check in with ourselves on where we wanted to raise our two youngest daughters. We felt in our hearts that Washington was not that place. The only thing standing in the way of our move was the Muse salon I’d built. But, we embraced the challenging but right decision for our family. I knew that if I’d done it once, I could do it again. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Why Arizona? 
Julia Ward: I’ve always loved the desert. Not only do the values and lifestyle here in the Valley align with our family’s, the proximity to NBR’s California training headquarters is great. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What was the move like as an entrepreneur? 
Julia Ward: I won’t lie — the first year was hard. Starting over was challenging: waking up and doing the work every day, never getting discouraged, doing it scared. In addition to traveling back and forth between Arizona and Washington to support the existing Muse salon, I didn’t know a single person in the Valley. I had to work hard to integrate myself into the community, seeking out events and networking opportunities. I remember attending a great event hosted by The Good Vibe Media… 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What tactics did you use to grow Muse in Phoenix? 
Julia Ward: I used a lot of the same tactics I’d employed to create a luxury clientele in Washington. Being active on social media has always been an important part of the Muse strategy — I’m posting and connecting with clients everyday — but found that a grassroots approach was also important. Networking was essential.  

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: How has building a business in the Valley differed from building a business in Washington? 
Julia Ward: Hair extensions is a more normalized beauty treatment here in Arizona. Women are more comfortable including it in their beauty budget. 

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: What do you love most about working in the Valley? 
Julia Ward: The community! Although I’m new here, I can feel the strong sense of community, how people are really committed to supporting one another. Of course, I also love the restaurant and shopping scene!  

TSG Phoenix & Scottsdale: Do you have any favorite local spots yet? 
Julia Ward: Steak 44, The Henry, The Lifestyled Co., Urbana, and Café Monarch to name a few! 

Follow along with Muse Extension Lounge on Instagram or TikTok to learn even more about NBR and the Muse experience. To schedule an appointment, visit Don’t forget to tell them Scout sent you!