Our hairstylists are some of our closest confidants, from their chair you’ve laughed, cried, and probably spilled a secret or two. Using the Stronger Together project, Alloy Hair Studio is navigating the current pandemic with merch.
Want a haircut? Same here. The beauty industry, hairstylists included, have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is largely due to the necessary element of human contact in the services they provide. While the United States government struggles to organize their unemployment benefits, Alloy Hair Studio has found another means of supporting their stylists— by selling merch.
We would love to start by learning more about your business. How did Alloy Hair Studio get started?
Alloy Hair Studio started in March of 2017. After having some downtime from a serious ankle injury, I had made up my mind that there was something greater out there for me. Working at my former salon for 13 years, I decided it was time to open up my own salon where we can be in charge of our branding and our culture. To us, Alloy stands for being reflective, bonded, and strong. We are a team of weird kids who all love the art in doing rad hair and making our guests feel as special as humanly possible, all while staying educated and maintaining a beautiful working relationship as a team of independent hairdressers.
How has your business been affected by COVID-19?
Two weeks before this all began I signed a lease to move the salon to a much larger location (exciting, right?) I had already started preparing for the new space as the news started to spread that COVID-19 had hit the states with New York being the hotspot. In the salon, we started by enforcing much stricter sanitation protocols, but having our salon only an hour and a half north of NYC, things started moving faster than any of us were prepared for. March 16th, we made the ultimate choice to close the salon until further notice. This was one week before New York State mandated the shutdown of all hair salons and other personal care businesses. It was important for me to make sure that my team and our salon guests didn’t get sick on my watch. Ultimately, the decision was made by the entire team. During this time, we are making sure to do virtual meetups, educate ourselves, and planning for what’s to come.
Why did you start selling merch? Why did you choose Spreadshop as the platform to do this?
This time has not been easy for any of us. All being self-employed, we were about two weeks behind the world in being able to apply for unemployment. It’s been over a month and no one in the team knows whether or not they are getting unemployment. I saw other businesses making T-shirts to help support their business and an idea was born. After researching other business like Spreadshop, I decided ultimately the selection was better geared towards our target guests within our salon. All profits from our Spreadshop are getting split up and sent to my team members to make sure they can at least put some food on their table while the government fails them.
How have you been marketing your Shop?
How else does the rest of the world handle their marketing? Social media, of course. Instagram and Facebook have ultimately allowed us to grow our business with very little spent on marketing. Word of mouth (or social influence) is key. After learning how to work with Spreadshop and getting my designs ready for the world to see, we went ahead and started posting about it, and making sure the “why” we created our shop is known.
View this post on Instagram
This just in! We created a fun little Alloy Hair Studio merch store to help us get through this pandemic. All of the profits that come from any sales of merchandise during this time will be split up and used to put some groceries on our stylists table. Take a look, there are some really cute things on here from hoodies and tees to makeup bags, totes, and coffee mugs. Thank you all for always supporting our business. We love you and we can’t wait to get back behind the chair! 🖤 link in bio
What has the response been like from your customers?
We have a super awesome fan base (clientele) that really want to see us thrive and they have been making purchases and sharing the love. I am really proud of what we have created and the type of awesome, kind, and loving people that we have attracted into our space.
How did you create the designs you are offering in your Shop?
The design is our company logo. I worked with a local graphic artist, Joe Dedalto, to create a logo that represented a modern, edgy, and artistic luxury brand that appealed to a fashion-forward, non-gender specific audience. He delivered and thankfully it was with a simple, one color design that transfers beautifully onto many different mediums.
Any advice for other businesses that are thinking of selling merch, opening a Spreadshop or that are new to print-on-demand?
Make sure to know who you are marketing your products to and why. People don’t buy into things that they don’t believe in. We believe in our salon guests and they believe in us. We bring out the best in each other. Also, when in doubt, google it out. Just because you can’t figure out the solution to a problem while building your shop doesn’t mean you are alone in that. Chances are someone else on the interwebs has run into the same situation and blogged about it. The internet has the answers.