On being an underdog, seizing opportunity, and making it big in Texas.
Hairdresser and owner of the newly minted Hairstory Studio Dallas, Beau Bollinger, has been on board with the Hairstory ethos for years. Initially, Beau served on our sales team as a coach in addition to seeing clients on a regular basis (and preaching the Hairstory gospel as one of the city’s go-to stylists for models, cool girls, and Texans of taste). When he began to feel spread too thin in both positions, Beau opted to pursue his chosen craft and spearhead the very first Hairstory Studio satellite.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from a small town in Southeast Texas called Bay City. I moved to Dallas by way of Toledo, Ohio, where we relocated for my father’s job.
How long have you been a hairdresser?
I started beauty school when I was 19. That makes it 16 years. Wow.
How did you find your way into the industry?
My mother always knew that I would be a hairdresser. I was oddly obsessed with all things hair even as a young boy. Back then, there weren’t a lot of boys going to beauty school in south Texas, so I wasn’t very interested in the idea. Once we moved to the Michigan/Ohio area, one of the gals I worked with named Tiffany was in beauty school, and she started cutting my hair. I was regularly going to the school for cuts and one day she said, “You should give this a try, I think you would be good at it.” My mom had been telling me the same thing my whole life, but the cute gal cutting my hair was able to convince me in a couple of moments. But I still give all the credit to my mother.
Hairstory Dallas is the first extension of the Hairstory brand outside of NYC. How did the idea come about?
I had been a coach with Hairstory for a couple of years. During that time I was still seeing clients about 30 hours a week, and Hairstory was starting to really take off. We were expanding internationally and trying to streamline our efficiency as a sales team. I just couldn’t keep up. But I was aware of hairdressers’ frustration with the old salon model; it’s a dinosaur. We are so quick to jump on new trends, products, and techniques, but we’re miserably slow at adapting to new technology and looking at the business side of things. I had an honest conversation Eli (Hairstory CEO) and Mauricio (Hairstory President) about where I stood; it was clear that I couldn’t coach moving forward, but there was a huge opportunity to try something fresh with the salon model that might just benefit all parties involved.
What makes your salon so unique?
With freedom comes responsibility. I noticed that a lot of stylists desired independence – freedom to come and go as they please, charge the rates they want, and ultimately work for themselves – but the problem is, many don’t want the responsibilities that come along with that. Current rental salons seem to be catering to this, and it has a huge impact on the finances and the culture of the business. Without writing an essay on this topic alone, we are leveraging technology to reduce our overhead, which also streamlines our customer experience. This creates a bit more responsibility for the stylist, but ultimately, it gives them full control. We utilize our space 24/7, and rates are based upon usage, not flat fees. If you use the space 3 days a week, you only pay for three days. Eventually we will get into variable rates based upon demand. It’s a unique concept and so far, we’ve been getting a great response. Oh, and we only have one product at our washing stations: New Wash. Man, that looks good.
What has been the biggest challenge opening a salon of your own?
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I’ve never done any of this before, so everything is a first. With that comes a lot of mistakes, inefficiency, and frustration. Keeping a cool head while everything is going wrong was definitely difficult.
What excites you most about Hairstory Studio Dallas?
Hairstory is rethinking everything about our industry, and I’m particularly excited about this year. We are constantly learning, challenging ourselves, and developing based on results. Hairstory Studio Dallas is no different. We are constantly experimenting and challenging ourselves with our technical work, and the business side of things. We take that information, learn from it, and grow. More important, I’m excited to show the rest of the industry that things can be different. I want to make an impact on fellow hairdressers and salon owners, and help them grow. Nothing changes if nothing changes. I’m willing to risk trying radically different things and being the underdog; I’m confident the results will speak for themselves.
What do you love most about being a hairdresser?
The greatest compliment I’ve ever received after a very big change for a client was this: “I feel more like myself with this cut than I ever have. It’s like you discovered the real me under all this hair.” That summarizes my passion for this industry.
What is your favorite Hairstory product, and why?
Hardest question of this interview! I use Hair Balm daily on myself; it’s like crack. I tell people that it doesn’t look like you have product in your hair, but it looks like its best version. It’s so damn good. However, I go through a bottle of Undressed every 3 days behind the chair. It might be the most versatile product I’ve ever used. I did a demo the other day which showed 3 looks in about 7 minutes using only Undressed and a blow dryer. Unbelievable. Let’s be honest though, New Wash is a game changer. Regardless of what styling products you use, New Wash is going to change everything about your hair for the better. I’ve been using a version of it for over 5 years, and my clients rave about it. In fact, the whole reason I’m able to give this interview is because of New Wash. Thanks New Wash!
All photos by Bliss Katherine.