I feel like it's important to let you all in on the process that led to the changes I am making at Parlour & Juke this year.
I opened Parlour & Juke in 2011 – this March will be our six-freaking-year anniversary! I can't even. When I opened the shop, it was important to me to have barbers and stylists working in the same space together. I had never worked in a place like that and I thought the vibe could be cool and different and if you know me, I'm a boundary pusher.
For those not in the industry, Barbers and Cosmetologists (aka: stylists) have different licenses and go to totally different schools for training. They're treated as very separate worlds and are, in fact, very different altogether. Stylists have grown and changed with the times in regards to pricing and techniques. While the barber world, I believe, is a little lost in "tradition". I believe that most barbers are not charging what they are worth, cutting their times short, and don't fully understand pay structure opportunities. I wanted to prove that these two worlds are not that different in the business sense, and train a barber how to run his business like a stylist.
I was fortunate enough to have Michael Martin as my first and only barber from the day my doors opened. Michael was a touring musician for many years who decided to give barbering a go. When we met, he was still in school and delivering pizzas for Papa John's – Which, by the way, he continued to do well into his first year behind the chair. I was able to train/show Michael how I did business with a clean slate. He has never worked anywhere else, so there were no issues with how I did things. He was with me while I was learning to own a new business myself. The good, the bad, and the ugly...he saw it.
Now, six years later, I have a thriving barber business (with 3 barbers) that can no longer grow to its full potential in its current form. Michael approached me earlier this year about opening his own shop and asked me to partner with him on it. Seemed like a no brainer. I am beyond thrilled to see what Hawkins Barber Shop grows into. I know Michael has a lot of learning and growing to do, but I also know he is ready and has a great vision.
When we found the space for Hawkins, it was a little larger than we needed. It already had two separate entrances, so we asked the landlord if he would divide it into two spaces. He agreed and I decided to put a second location of my shop right next door to Hawkins Barber Shop: Parlour & Juke East. We were able to get a great space (with our OWN parking lot!) by joining forces, which was awesome.
Here are the answers to many of the questions I have gotten:
"WOW, you're opening two more locations?!?"
Nope! I am opening a second location of the salon, and I am a partner in Hawkins Barber Shop with Michael Martin. I plan on keeping BOTH locations of P&J small. We have been maxed out in the space we are in for over 2 years, functioning with more stylists than chairs – not an easy feat with scheduling. Having two small locations of P&J makes it easier for me to manage, and creates a better environment for my stylists to work in. I also like the feel of smaller, cozy environments. With this new setup, we are able to return to being closed on Mondays which is important for us as those are usually days when education/classes we want to attend are held in our industry.
"So, the barbers won't be here anymore?"
Correct. They will be moving over to Hawkins Barber Shop with Michael. However, the ladies at P&J will continue to cut any existing male clients we already have. But we have to admit, the boys do it better...
"So what are you going to do with the old barber stations?"
Slow down y'all! One thing at a time. I am selling all of my barber equipment, so if you know of anyone interested, please send them my way. I have plans for using the barber areas that are currently at P&J differently in the future, but I can't give away ALL my secrets.
"Will you have to hire more people?"
Yes and no. Parlour & Juke stylists will be splitting off into the two locations. I will have 3 to 4 people working at both locations. We also have an apprenticeship program that, when completed, allows our apprentices to become stylists. There are currently two shop apprentices, and we are always looking for more. Again, the goal is to keep both locations of Parlour & Juke small. We've had 14 people under one roof for a while, and it feels a little too chaotic for my taste. This was the best way to solve that issue. Plus, we get to decorate a new space! (and NO, it won't look the same AT ALL!)
"When do Hawkins and Parlour & Juke East open?"
Hawkins will be open on March 15th and Parlour & Juke East will open in April with the date TBD. It is important for me to be available to Michael to help him get Hawkins open. Parlour & Juke East is like my second child, so it just seems easier this time around. Hawkins needs my attention more since it's a new business.
"This seems like a LOT, are you nervous?"
YES!! Of course I am! However, you should know something about me. I LOVE change and challenges! I love to create (I mean, I am a hairstylist after all) and I hate being stagnant. I try to choose people to work with me that feel the same way. We have no room for negative energy surrounding change at Parlour & Juke. Onward and upward!
Hope this clears up some of the confusion and curiosity. I have many more goals for myself as well as my businesses in 2017. I hope you all are challenging yourselves as well. I truly believe that if something seems hard, do it! Uncomfortable, do it! Scary, do it! (ok maybe not a haunted house, which I have NEVER been to believe it or not) The point is, change is good and I am ready to ride the waves.