Head Case Hair Studio is dedicated to partnering with companies that are cruelty-free, vegan, organic & natural ingredients, organic farming practices, harsh chemical & ammonia-free, and dedicated to protecting the environment we live in. As a salon owner and realising the harmful effects of hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste that are dumped every day in our communities, Kelley Swing and her team decided to become a certified green circle salon who are dedicated to recycling 95% of their waste. Whether it be hair, foil, plastic, leftover colour, to paper, they all get recycled.
It was in her first year anniversary, that Kelley was introduced to NATULIQUE Certified Organic Beauty products, which she claims were an ultimate life changer for her and her future within the beauty industry.
Hey Kelley, what is a day in the life of you like?
My day is usually filled with from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep and each day is never the same as the last. I am running two companies with 2 salons and 15 to 20 employees at a time. Thankfully I have my daughter managing my salons for me so I can focus on building up the businesses.
What was the start-up process and how did you launch Head Case Hair Studio?
Starting Head Case took a lot of faith, help from a friend, hard work, and determination. There are mixed notions that the government provides funding for single women and minorities. Starting a brick and mortar business takes so much more than most people understand. I always shop and eat at my local fellow business owners other than large retail and chains.
Some days I would wonder how we were going to get through the day or payroll for the following week. Thinking positive, being grateful for every win, and never giving up. What kept me going was the fact my daughter and my employees all depended on me. The thought of anyone of them not being able to pay their bills or feed their kids would just kill me.
Can you tell us the benefits behind only using hair care products and colours that are organic, natural, and safe for both us as a client, and the also the environment by being ammonia and chemical-free?
The harmful effects of the harsh chemicals in hair colour and hair care products is detrimental to your health. Constant exposure, especially for stylists, can cause infertility, cancer, respiratory tract problems, organ toxicity, lung damage, asthma, gastritis, renal failure, tremors, vertigo, convulsions, and even coma’s to name a few. There are new findings every day, but none are being regulated by the government at this time.
How are you delivering a gentler alternative not found in other salons to your clients?
Our products are created and manufactured in Denmark, which is known as one of the cleanest countries in the world. Over 1400 harmful chemicals are outlawed in Denmark and less than 15 of these items are outlawed in the US. NATULIQUE uses ingredients that are organically farmed and naturally derived. They focus on every means possible to lighten their karmic footprint by using solar power and biomass fuel as a propellant for aerosol styling products.
Who does the team involve behind you at Head Case Hair Studio?
My team is a combination of prior employees who worked for me and others that worked for my daughter along with the new head case’s we recruited who share our vision. We hand select each employee after an extensive interview and testing process on every colour, makeup, styling, and haircut applications. We search for just the right fit with our current employees and clients.
We enjoy recruiting from different cities around the US because it brings diversity and fresh new ideas to share with the rest of the team. We invest in our people with continued education and continued growth opportunities.
As you continue to grow, what important factors did you consider when looking at the scalability of your business model?
Beauty is less affected no matter how the economy is and hair/skin/nail services are not available on Amazon. When times are tough it is our job to help women feel better, look better, and have more confidence. These among other factors will always keep our industry thriving.
Where can you see your self further down the line?
I see myself as strong and expanding throughout the US. The company that is always focused on growing their people without ever forgetting her core values. I worked for a company who wanted to grow more than they held on to why they started.
Many companies expand and then it becomes more about the money, core people who helped them get to where they were are disposed of, they forget their way, and the foundation changes. I will continue to be the company people want a lifetime career with and are happy and fulfilled without the worry about their future.
Currently, you are a full service, multi-concept, and Certified Green Circle hair salon, however, how are you planning to expand the services you offer?
We have already expanded our services and added a second salon with a spa. We now offer micro-blading, organic facials, nail services, and full body waxing. We stay up to date with new trends and services.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Where I have struggled the most, is the way the industry has pitched being a hairstylist in cosmetology school by selling a dream without giving them all the tools to succeed. A cosmetologist is told in school that they can become their own boss, make their own hours, and earn endless amounts of money working minimal hours.
What they don’t teach them is that it will take time to build up a clientele and you are going to need to get more education than your license provides along with a lot of practice on willing participants after you leave school. How to market themselves with the cost of advertising and endless hours working your own business by being available consistently until you build. You will not make enough money to survive by yourself for at least the first year and possibly several years. You will need to save money for continued education because it is expensive, and the trends are always changing, and you will need to stay up to date. Cosmetology is an art and not everyone is cut out to be a stylist just because they have a license.
Most hairstylists look for commission salons in order to build a clientele with the intention to leave and take these clients to rent their own booth. The problem for me as the salon owner, is I inhere the expense of advertising, bring in the clients, feed the stylist clients while they build, and they leave, taking the clients to booth rent. This is frustrating and very costly for salons when we invest in the hairstylist, educate them, and provide them with the tools they need for success and then must start all over with a new stylist and new clients. I just don’t understand why some hairstylists think this ok and purely justified. I believe that the industry suffers because of this and it makes it harder and harder for salons to survive in this industry sometimes.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
My district manager when I first started in the beauty industry was a huge inspiration along with my peers at that position. I had the most passionate women that worked in my group with me who helped me grow as a manager, leader, businesswoman, and friend. Together we became a powerful team and I have always believed that 10 brains are better than 1 and that I do not have all the answers.
What outlets do use to market your Head Case Hair Studio?
Social media and I also partner with local business owners.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I attend Chamber functions, women’s social media groups, women business owner support groups.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur?
A few misconceptions are: it takes nearly 100% of your time for the first few years and possibly longer, you will need to put most of your money back into the company, it isn’t easy, and there isn’t a lot of financial help with many expenses that you might not have even considered. Think about how much revenue you will need to survive since a 5% back on your business is considered good.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
I think that businesses need to learn how to work with and motivate millennials. I believe each person really wants to be the best they can be but may not have the confidence to get there so how do we change what we do to get a different outcome? Times change and in order for my business to be successful we need to stay up to date on new styles and trends, so why would we expect to manage the same way we always have with millennials? Life should always be growth and learning which always excites me.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
The only person in life you can control is you. The only thing you can control the outcome of is how well you do your job. When something is not going right the first things you should look at is what I am missing and what do I need to change in order to get a different outcome.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Right now, my life balance is leaning towards work more, but I always make sure to take out an hour or more at least 5 days a week for exercise. This keeps me sane. I also am dating a man who works like me so we both understand each other and respect when we have to work late and try to help each out whenever we can.
The highlight of your career so far?
A highlight of my career would be when clients come in and tell me this is their favourite place because they feel like a part of our family. When a mother cries when she walks into the salon because she can spend the afternoon with her daughter getting her hair done for the first time instead of having to wait in the car because salon fumes are too harmful and disruptive to her.
Another highlight is, one of my NATULIQUE clients who was told by her doctor that she needed to stop doing hair because she had chemically induced cancer 3 different times due to her 25-year career with harmful ingredients was able to keep her salon doors open due to our NATULIQUE Certified Organic Beauty products.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
My ultimate career satisfaction is always growing my team. Watching my employees grow into leadership positions, accomplishing new things they never thought they would be able to do, and happy to be there and take pride in what they do, then I have done my job.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Gary Vaynerchuk says it like it is with no filter or fear of failure. He motivates people with his strong personality which makes you not question or use excuses. Simon Sinek’s books and motivation speeches really hit home with me. He gives plenty of examples with back up to what he says. Gary keeps you going and Simon helps you remember why you are doing it and stay focused.
Louise Hay has been a huge inspiration to me for many years. She grew an empire of motivational speakers, authors, and radio talk show hosts. She looked at life in a way no one else did.
How would you say you are intending to use your voice to educate others in the hair industry?
I want to teach salon professionals that sustainable beauty is possible and their health is important. I want them to know that being exposed to the harsh chemicals they are currently using is not good for their health and understanding what the risks are. Educating the stylists so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their clients.
How do you measure success?
I hold myself to a higher standard than anyone would hold me to. I measure by the growth of my business, retention of clients and employees.
Website link www.headcasehairstudio.com