If you get your hair done in Atlanta, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the influx of blow dry specialized beauty salons in town especially in Midtown and Buckhead. Women (and men) are thrilled at the rise of these “quick style” formats. But, until this past fall, there was one neighborhood where you didn’t see them, the Westside. The Quick Blowout Bar changed that and is adding to the historic yet burgeoning westside, home to the iconic haircare manufacturer Bronner Bros. and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
While getting my own blowout done, I had the opportunity to chat with the owner, Elizabeth Whitmore-Clyde. She cited two reasons why she opened the blowout bar: 1) “[I] don’t want people waiting in the salon all day.” And 2) “I[I] remember in 2008 when it was $35 for a wash, blow dry, and flat iron.”
Typically, a hair appointment at a Black salon can last all day which rarely works for a busy woman’s schedule. Whitmore-Clyde shares her personal experience getting her hair done in Atlanta, “I do a lot of community work. I was [sometimes] getting my hair done at 11 p.m. or midnight. [Stylists] would have to come to my house. [And if I went to a salon] it would take a few hours. And I just didn’t have time for that. Our goal is to have each client completed in 40-75 minutes, which is dependent on thickness and length. However, our price remains the same at $35 for a wash, blow dry, and flat iron. I think it’s important to have a business that really speaks to the girl on the go who desires affordability.”
Patron Kayla Davis shared her point of view on the need for something like the Quick Blowout Bar: “I used to go to Paul Mitchell weekly but the prices have started going up. And they charge by the time it takes to do my hair [which can be cost-prohibitive depending on the length and thickness of the hair]. They aren’t trying to cater to our people.”
It was somewhat serendipitous how Whitmore-Clyde found her current location. She and her husband were seeking an office space. When they went for a walk-through, they noticed an adjacent space that had been renovated for use as a salon that never opened. Whitmore-Clyde took this as a sign. She already had a business plan, which was written in 2015. “I write business plans for every idea I have. [When] opportunities present themselves if you’re prepared enough you can take [advantage of] them,” she said. Whitmore-Clyde says the location on the westside is special because “It matters to me that we are in our community and that we are thriving.”
The ideal client at Quick Blowout Bar is “A girl on the go who can’t afford to spend all day in the salon and appreciates luxury at an affordable price. If you get your hair done and it costs $140, you can’t get your nails done. And if you do, it won’t feel like it’s a responsible decision. It’s nice to be able to still go out and get lunch after a visit to the Quick Blowout Bar, and that’s why our customers return,” says Whitmore-Clyde.
She adds, “Atlanta used to [charge] $35 for a wash, blow dry, and flat iron. I was finding that all the stylists [who] used to do natural hair either went up on price or just did weaves.”
When asked how she planned to retain her stylists, Whitmore-Clyde responds, “We pay stylists hourly, typically the model varies from booth rent to commissions. It takes something to retain good stylists. We also provide continued professional development, and each stylist goes through intensive training prior to receiving any clients.
“Patronage was slow at first, but it’s picked up a lot thanks to its strategic location, walking distance to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Atlanta University Center. We’ve found that there is a rhythm to the flow [of patrons]. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the days with more traffic. We also accept walk-ins.”
Whitmore-Clyde gave us a glimpse into what’s next for the Quick Blowout Bar. “I do want to offer complimentary water, tea, and coffee before 2018 because that’s what I like to enjoy during my own salon experience, and it’s also expected in other parts of the city such as Buckhead. So we will see. Right now it’s really about perfecting our systems and continuing to value our clients’ hair, time, and money,” she said.
Hear more directly from the owner, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4hbIMAMX38&feature=youtu.be