Beauty Launchpad is spotlighting the winners of its Top 20 Salons contest for 2024.
Here, Elizabeth Arthur introduces us to Salon 561 in Collierville, Tennessee, established in May 2022.
Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What is the backstory of your salon? What motivated you to start your business?
Elizabeth Arthur (EA): Since in cosmetology school, I have always wanted to open my own salon. Over the last 9 years, I made significant changes and took many risks while doing so. I did not take out a loan to open my space and was prepared to be the only stylist in my 120 year old building. I have built as I have grown and have had many challenges along the way. I am a single mother on one income and took the calculated risk in pursuing my dream. My salon was named after my grandparents from a small town in Arkansas. My grandmother passed away in 2020, and I wanted her legacy to live on throughout Memphis. 561 is the area code in said town that I spent many of my childhood years in. I also wanted something simple yet modern that other stylists wouldn’t mind growing their business under.
BLP: What was the most challenging thing that happened while opening your salon?
EA: The most challenging thing while opening my salon would have been code enforcement, maintaining my current clientele and hoping financially I would make it. Transforming a 120-year-old building into an operating hair salon was extremely challenging. Oftentimes, I thought, “what have I done,” but the right people at the right time came along and helped me little by little. I knew my daughter and I depended on my income, so there was no turning back.
BLP: What is the overall aesthetic of your salon? What inspired you when designing the space?
EA: The overall aesthetic is modern. Our motto is “there is Luxury in simplicity,” and that is just what you get. I dream of one day owning a newer build out with high ceilings and large window fronts, but our historic building does just what we need currently. I’ve always been drawn to modern higher end salons and wanted to incorporate my own version in designing it. There is still so much I want to do to it, but going on our second year, I’ve slowly transformed it into what I want.
BLP: What services do you provide your clients? Are any of these services signature and/or exclusive to your salon?
EA: We are a salon known for dimensional custom coloring. We target specifically luxury services such as Balayage, Lived in Color, Custom Color Formulation and Gray Coverage. We truly believe not one tube of color fits all and formulate specifically to that client's needs and goals. We also are a salon that will not do a service without an in person consultation. We strive to sit down one on one with each client creating realistic expectations before their investment. We also offer modern women's and men's haircuts, Keratin Complex Smoothing Treatments and Bellami Hair Extensions.
BLP: What products are used/retailed in your salon? Do you have a personal favorite?
EA: We have dabbled in many brands during our first year as a business and wanted to offer a luxury yet affordable line no other salon in our area carried. We sell VIRTUE LABS and LENOR GREYL. Our color line is ALFAPARF MILANO. Our clientele specifically rave with how this hair color line leaves their hair soft and shiny. ALFAPARF is known for their gray coverage and being an artist palette, so this is nice to have when creating different formulations.
BLP: What makes your salon unique and stand out?
EA: My salon’s backstory is unique within itself and is centrally located in the middle of every suburb of Memphis. While most view us as tucked away from the main city, our building is a landmark within itself. The building has housed many different things since 1902, and it has the original brick on the outside but a modern touch on the inside. When you are at our salon, not only will you experience modern high end luxury services, but you will also feel right at home. Being a smaller established salon has many perks, such as allowing our clients to be able to decompress from the busy day to day life.
BLP: What takeaway do you hope clients have after a visit at your salon?
EA: We hope that each of our clients take away hair they have never experienced or knew they needed while feeling relaxed. We have an open line of communication policy, meaning good or bad, we hope our clients feel comfortable expressing any questions or concerns they have before, during and after their services. It is our mission to impact our clients more so than impress them. We want them to feel educated and excited about their investment with us aiding in setting them up for day to day success when it comes to their haircare needs.
BLP: What piece of advice would you give to a new salon owner?
EA: The best piece of advice I would give a new salon owner is it’s not a mistake if you learn from it. Always have a back up plan if something were to fail. Do not focus on what the salon down the street is doing, and be open minded when it comes to learning the ins-and-outs as a new business owner. Everything comes down to numbers when planning to open a salon. Once you target that, then the other roles take place. No question is a dumb question. Never give up, no matter the odds against you.
BLP: What’s next for your salon? Do you have any goals for the year?
EA: Within the next year, I plan on hiring another stylist that is meant for our space and vibe. While contemplating my next move in business, something has always told me to keep investing in my 120-year-old building and pour into my stylists so they can further their career catering to their clientele. Their success is my success as the business owner. Striving to be the best in hopes to attract the right clientele. Personally behind the chair, I plan on growing the salon’s education opportunities to teach other stylists and business owners how to build themselves from the ground up. I once started out at the bottom transitioning to booth renter, suite renter, and now a small salon owner – I want others to learn how they can do the salon and make being a hairstylist a fulfilling career.