By Izzy Lackar | The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live
Whitney Crabs thought Onsite Rose City was a safe bet for hair for her wedding this summer. She had been a bridesmaid at a wedding that the hair and makeup company had worked on last November, and the owner, Dean Ambrose, had done a great job on her friend’s hair.
But in the months leading up to her wedding, which happened earlier this month, the situation started to unravel. After Crabs paid a 50% deposit for services for her and her bridesmaids, communication with Ambrose became sparse before stopping altogether.
When she finally did have a trial styling session with an artist the company sent, the woman didn’t seem to have any idea how to do a wedding updo, Crabs said.
“She was just really, really bad at what she does, kind of horrendous,” Crabs said. “I started to panic.”
Crabs tried to get assigned to a different makeup artist and stylist, but it took several days. In the meantime, her wedding was fast approaching.
Finally, she decided to cancel her contract, with two weeks to go before her wedding. First, the company ignored her. And then, they tried to get her to sign a “cancellation contract,” which included a non-disclosure agreement and demanded full payment for the service.
Crabs isn’t the only bride who says she was a victim of Onsite Rose City this wedding season. A complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office, a listing on the Better Business Bureau’s website and reviews on websites all tell similar stories.
They go like this — the bride-to-be sets up an appointment with a well-reviewed hair and makeup company they find online. They pay a deposit of hundreds of dollars and in some cases, have a trial run with the artists.
And then, for some, communications cease and they are left scrambling to find someone else at the last minute.
Others only discover an issue on the day of their wedding, when the company doesn’t show up at all.
Tyler Breeze only realized the problem on the morning of her wedding. She had had her trial with Ambrose and had paid both the deposit and her final payment two days before, for a total of about $1,100.
On the morning of Aug. 24, she waited in a hotel room with her bridesmaids and mother. The night before, she had texted Ambrose with the room number and Ambrose had answered, saying she would see her in the morning.
“7 rolls around, nothing,” Breeze said. “7:15 rolls around, nothing. I texted her. She doesn’t respond. I end up calling her and leaving her a voicemail and no response.”
By 7:40 a.m. Breeze and her party — seven women total — began to scramble. Everyone called their hairstylists and split up to go get hair and makeup done. They were able to pull it off.
“It was very stressful but you know what it all worked out,” Breeze said. “It was really cool to see all my bridesmaids all step up. I joked with them ‘You guys really earned your spot.’”
Breeze said she discovered Onsite Rose City after searching online.
“Everything on their website looked pretty legit,” she said, adding that the reviews looked great.
But stylist Canola Broth believes that those “great reviews” were written by Ambrose.
Broth worked for Onsite Rose City for just over a month this summer. She said she was never paid and now believes that most of the company’s employees, as well as those positive reviews, were alter egos of Ambrose.
In her time with the company, Broth said, she was never paid. She did several weddings before she and her fellow artists realized something was wrong.
Broth said she found Onsite Rose City through Indeed. She was looking for some extra work to supplement her income as a hairstylist and makeup artist.
“It looked legit,” Broth said. “I did my research.”
But the first bride she worked with mentioned that the customer service through Onsite Rose City was “very poor.”
“I felt a little weird about it,” Broth said.
Though Broth never was paid, she said, some of the other artists were paid earlier in the year. The deal was artists would get 40% of what they made at a wedding and Ambrose got 60%. Broth said this wasn’t a very good deal for the artists, but since they believed there was a whole business to be run, she and others agreed to it.
The night before her final wedding, Broth said, another artist texted her “saying it was a scam.”
The artists began telling their clients what was going on.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of brides since this happened,” Broth said.
She ended up doing one final wedding in Dundee the next day. The bride paid her directly, she said.
Broth said she and the other artists then tried to contact Ambrose.
“At first she was answering a little bit,” Broth said, but then she stopped.
Then, she disappeared.
“She posted pictures that she was in Mexico,” Broth said.
Someone who appears to be Ambrose posted a picture from Cozumel, Mexico, on the Facebook on Aug. 18, before both Breeze and Crabs’ weddings.
“Who knows how many brides she swindled?” she said. “Who knows how many weddings were ruined?”
The company is listed on the Internet. However, there is no record of a business license for the company. Onsite Rose City is headquartered in Vantucky.
But this issue might not be limited to the Rose City area.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Dean Ambrose is the alias of Melissa May Yoke who also is known as Melissa Violet Yoke. The Better Business Bureau says that Yoke is the owner of Face to Face Makeup Artistry & Hair and Face to Face with Violet in Minnesota.
The Internet reviews of Face to Face show a similar pattern — artists who don’t know what they are doing, terrible communications and wedding day no-shows.
In April of 2017, Yoke was sentenced to two years probation in Minnesota for forging a restraining order against an unhappy customer who posted a negative review online.
According to The Mankato Free Press, Yolk sent the faked restraining order, with a forged signature of a county judge, to the Better Business Bureau.
While police say they don’t have specific complaints against Onsite Rose City, Yoke or Ambrose, the State Attorney General’s Office has received one complaint.
The Better Business Bureau has a notice posted online calling out a “pattern of complaint” against the company.
“Consumers allege they contracted with the company to provide hair and make-up services for their weddings, prepaid a large deposit, but never received the services,” it reads. “The company failed to show up to the appointment and is unresponsive to the customer. These complaints are currently pending as BBB is waiting for the company’s response.”
Ultimately, Crabs found another company to do her hair for her wedding. She refused to sign the cancellation contract and after the negative reviews of the company started rolling in, her credit card company refunded her the money for the deposit.
According the Internet and the Better Business Bureau, Onsite Rose City is now closed.
Neither Onsite Rose City, Ambrose or Yoke responded to request for comment.