Hairspray Salon has come a long way in its 10 years. From a barn to a shopping center and from 140 regular clients to thousands, said Tara Smith, co-owner and stylist for Hairspray, located at 1023 S. Main St. in Woodstock.
Smith said that her goal in opening the salon was to create an inviting, comfortable atmosphere for her clients.
“My vision was to have a place where people came in and they felt at home and comfortable,” she said.
Smith opened her operation in the basement of a barn when she was 26 after working for another salon. She had a loyal following of clients, but didn’t have a license to operate on her own at the time, so in between the time when she left her old job and when she got her new license, improvisation was required.
“I found myself not licensed yet and found myself doing clients at their homes,” she said. About 140 clients followed me to my house, their house, their friend’s house. When I got my license, my mom encouraged me and we had $5,000 and opened our salon in the basement of a barn. It was to the point of having kitchen chairs as styling chairs.”
Smith said that the barn wasn’t necessarily the pinnacle of luxury but that she wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“The barn was humbling. We wouldn’t be here without those eight years,” she said. “We had to learn to make that great before we could make anything else great.”
Smith, along with her mother and brother, who serve as partners in the business as well as in decision making, are working to make their new location great.
“(We moved in) July of 2015,” she said. “We closed our barn on Thursday and we reopened on Tuesday. People can’t go that long without getting their hair cut. … In our new location we have a huge setup for children. Parents aren’t even bothered by their children when they come in here. We have clients as young as 1 year old that want to see a particular stylist. … The shop is beautiful. I would hang out here. We have a coffee bar. We have a private shampoo room with dim lighting and dark walls.”
Smith credits help from her family as a major reason for her success and the factors that drive it.
“I’m a business partner with my mom,” she said. “My family was the only thing that made this work, having my sister who knows about taxes, my mom managing the money because I’m not very good at that at all. My brother has been the real reason we’ve been able to take on something so large. I never thought this is where we would be. He really gave us the confidence.”
She also credits her relationships with her clients.
“I think that personable (dynamic), remembering their name, remembering their children, giving them a card, giving them a hug. I think all of those things make us different from other places,” she said. “I’m here to support the girls in any way we can. Some clients are really taken aback that we work together to try and achieve what they most want before they leave the salon.”
Smith said that she’s very happy with where her business stands and has even greater ambitions.
“(It’s been) absolutely amazing,” she said. “I didn’t expect this much but I couldn’t imagine it any better. Every day we learn something about ourselves and our clientele – what we want from them. … I would definitely love to have a spa, have massage therapist, body waxing, I could definitely see that. One thing that I also want to do is offer a barber. A couple of us want to go to barbering school, which is starting to have a comeback.”
To commemorate the 10-year milestone, Hairspray will be holding an open house from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with refreshments, door prizes, face painting and balloon animals in addition to salon tours and complimentary hair braids.
Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org