I saw my favorite hair stylist, Tami, last week for a cut and color that was well overdue. Between my habit of waiting too long to schedule an appointment and then having to wait a couple weeks for a slot due to pandemic social distancing rules (and Tami is apparently popular), my hair was in a state of emergency. Nevertheless, she worked her wonders on my thin, overgrown tresses, and I left thinking about how nice it is to have a local stylist who knows me as a customer, knows my preferences and needs, and has even become what I consider a friend.
That personal touch is what I think a lot of us value coming from our local businesses. I like going to the salon and knowing Tami will already have my preferred hair color on file. She knows my history with a couple brain surgeries and knows how to cover up some scars and make the best of my radiation-thinned, fine hair. Even the young lady who washes my hair knows not to scrub too hard, and I never worry about a bad outcome—you know, a bad haircut gone terribly wrong.
That’s something you don’t get at chain salons, where you might feel anxious because you have no idea who will be taking care of you, what kind of experience they have, and how committed to your satisfaction they are. Here are some other differences between the two.
- Customer Care - When you go to a chain, the person you see is not looking at you as a long-term customer. You are just one more head they have to deal with that day. With a locally-owned salon, they are very interested in keeping you as a customer, and this is reflected in the high level of customer care you’ll receive.
- Experience - Chain salons fill the niche of being inexpensive, and the only way they can achieve that is to hire hairdressers right out of school. As a result, you might get a great hair cut one time and be disappointed the next time. Hair salon services at a high-end salon will be done by the best, and they support continuing education for their stylists, so you can be confident you will get consistent results.
- Hair Products - While you’ll often find exceptional quality hair care products for sale at both chains and high-end salons, the difference is that they often don’t use them at the chains; they just sell them. Instead, they use lower-priced products so they can keep their prices low. Chances are that they might not even have the best products for sale either.
After a fresh coloring and trim with Tami, she finished it off with a special “texturing finisher.” This blog isn’t about Jennifer’s hair woes or favorite products, but I will include a shameless plug for JOICO Texturizing Finisher. It does seem to give that added “poof” that I need and is available at Texxturz Salon in Bryans Road. I also picked up a lovely Hempz Beauty lotion that smells way better than the standard lotion we buy in bulk at Costco. Ooh, and dare I forget the adorable hand-made masks, made and sold by a local lady with holiday-themed prints.
That personal touch is one of my favorite parts of shopping local. What do you like about shopping local? This post is the beginning of a Shop Local blog series, and we hope to collect stories from both customers and local businesses about the benefits of shopping local. Got a story idea? Email Jennifer at ReginalJ@MeetCharlesCounty.com, and we might feature you on the blog.