I am here today to give an inside peak on the day to day of the past 2 years and what lead Brixton Parlour to be where it is today and our vision for how we are moving forward and growing into our third year in business. It's true what they say, owning a business is not a joke and in fact the phrase "blood, sweat & tears" is a literal evolution of what owning a small business looks like. From the first conversation with the previous owner about potentially acquiring the company to transitioning into my role and now finally feeling like I have a grip on the whole thing, it has been a bumpy ride to say the least but I am here to share the good the bad and the ugly with you to help everyone understand what really goes on behind closed doors within the process of acquiring a business and for those who have considered it, I hope this helps!
In February of 2017 I began working at Brixton Parlour for the previous owner as a stylist and colourist and immediately loved it, not for the culture or any specific reason other then my great conversation with the owner at my interview and my vision to grow my clientele in the area with this beautiful salon as my work place with no plans to move anytime soon... or ever. Over my time there I realized just how much I could grow, with simple trade secrets, passion, patience and hard work I soon saw my self being the successful young stylist that I had envisioned while building my social networks and continuing to grow. No work place is perfect alike anything else in life and the salon was far better then anywhere I had worked before but no matter who came and went and what was going on my goal stayed the same, grow your skills, clientele and follow your heart.
In the late days of August 2018 the previous owner put an offer on the table to my self and a few other employees at the time that she was selling the salon and if we wanted to acquire it, it was our opportunity to consider. I personally never wanted to do it with someone else, it was alone or not at all - some for my own stubborn reasons such as "if I can't do it alone, then I can't do it at all" as well as wanting to pick my own business partners if I was going to have any and that would not be the case in this particular situation. After about 2 weeks of much consideration I decided to have the more serious conversation about how this was all going to work if it was to work at all. Quite honesty, things seemed that they would not work out for me at all - to hire all new employees of my own and restart so to speak from where I wanted to start it just did not make sense but that gut feeling that said take the job at Brixton Parlour in 2017 was the same gut feeling that I was having a year and a half later when I was debating this life changing opportunity. The answer was no in September of 2018, I was not purchasing the salon. I was stressed out of my mind, cried every day for 14 days and everyone around me was telling me not to do it except for a select few. To them, like my self - things we're just not adding up.
With seconds to spare in the late hours of the night before the decision making meeting the answer just slapped me in the face, the numbers don't add up - but do they need to? I knew it would be hard, I knew that these tears would be just the beginning of sopping wet tear ducts but I had an opportunity to not pick up where someone else left off but rather begin my own journey doing what I loved in a space that I could make my own and if anyone knows me then they know that I always choose the side of the fence with the dead grass because I would rather water it my self. As I sat in that meeting with a definite answer no, the words "ill do it" just slipped out of my mouth and well, the rest leads us to where we are today.
My first year as the owner was a tough one, I was a 22 year old young woman with my whole life ahead of me- what the hell was I thinking? I had absolutely no business background, I felt personally attacked every time someone's hair wasn't perfect to them and I had absolutely no plan other then my grade 9 high school binder labeled "my dream salon" but here we were BUSINESS OWNER!
My first year was what I would refer to as a "disaster" but the best year of my life, I grew more in that year then in all my years on this earth. I learned in that year many, many things but to list a few are the following.
1. You are the boss and you are a boss, tell your self that every morning during your 5 minute morning self pep talk.
2. You're not being a bitch or a control freak, your business - your rules but you have to follow them your self in order to make your employees follow them.
3. Culture is the single most important thing, if someone is causing cancer in your business, GET RID OF THEM! Cancer spreads silently and violently, your culture will determine your success, drive, motivation, quality in service and every other aspect of owning a business.
4. Have a damn business plan, but don't be scared if you have to change it around every once in a while, shit happens.
5. Not everyone's business starts and ends the same, don't allow the success of others to take you away from your vision. Find your ways to stay on that path, put your favorite playlist on and run!
6. I could go on forever, I learned a lot!!
After a wonderful celebrations for our 1st year anniversary I finally had a plan in mind that would soon open my eyes to a new world of opportunity. With some new employees and finally a business plan things quickly took a turn for the better - until of course we we're broken into a month later (yaayy). For any business owner who thinks they finally figured it out and then the world come crashing down on you, I feel you boo! After dealing with the horrors of that I was looking forward to the spring, a time of refreshment and going into the summer with a plan felt revolutionizing. Until Covid-19 struck 3 months later completely shutting us down for what we never would have guessed would be a 4 full months. Through this I really tried to find the silver lining, I kept working on my business plan and came up with ideas to keep our clients engaged. I offered at home diy root touch up kits, shared tutorials on how to better your blow-dries while stuck inside as well as some inspiration to push through the disaster to which seemed to have no end.
Today as I sit here celebrating 2 years in business with my close family in the middle of a pandemic with many more uncertainties then certainties, I give you this. If you have a dream, follow it and never allow anyone to take you away from that dream- but also never be scared to receive advice even if it's not what you want to hear. Follow your heart, if you feel like someone is barking down your tree - remove them , they are hurting every part of you not just your heart. Love your self, if you can not provide love for your self in the toughest of times- how are your employees or piers supposed to love you? And lastly, just fucking do it! No matter how hard, raw, exhausting or time consuming it seems to be, if your gut is saying go, then GO!
In coming months you will see new private events being held with us, (Covid friendly of course). You will see new faces, new services, new products and nothing but positivity going forward.
Cheers to you, our clients, guests, listeners, supporters, friends and families. You helped us to get to where we are today, let's move forward together!
Owner, Brixton Parlour