We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah English and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The thought process that comes from starting your own business for me, came from my gut instinct and heart. There was something in me that said you have to have your own way of doing things. I didn’t enjoy working for someone else, and following rules that potentially could hold you back from being creative or successful. It was an instinctive feeling that led me into that direction, and I took that as a sign. That’s where I needed to be. So I went for it.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Sarah English Salon is a lovely, intimate salon suite located in West Hollywood, CA. inside Salon Republic. I have been doing hair actually for over 24 years! I’m originally from Chicago, Illinois. My boyfriend and I first moved to California in 2015. I had a job in a salon working for someone else. From there, I always knew I wanted to be back to having my own business, and not working for anyone. It was a tough start for about a year. I ended up hopping around to a couple different unstable salons. I had to reinvent myself with my work, and get up to speed with the California hair trends. But finally, I came across an opportunity to share a tiny salon suite with another hairstylist. We jumped right into it, and began. For the first year, it was another struggle to build a clientele. I came from a salon that did not allow you to contact your clients, so I had to just hope they would reach out or find me on their own. Some of them did, but I still needed enough clients to pay my weekly rent. So, I decided to run a Groupon for 6 months. It helped me get my name and business out there. Overall, it definitely kept me busy, but with that site, along came some negative sides to that. For example, you have some people just looking for the deal and not anything permanent. Or they have that champagne taste on a beer budget! You get the idea…But I have managed to keep a handful of wonderful clients that I got from that platform who are still with me today. So it definitely worked! From there, I continued to build my business mostly off of social media and referrals from my existing clients. It took me about 3 years in my salon suite to get to the place I’m at today, financially. Some lessons that I had to quickly learn and still struggle with, is to try not to take things personally. I know, it’s a hard one! Los Angeles is a tough city. There’s talented people everywhere, and another hairdresser right next door. There is going to be clients that love you, and clients that don’t. It’s about finding the right people, that are your people. Yea, even in the hair industry, it goes both ways. Maybe they don’t understand what your brand is all about, or the type of work that you do. That is ok, someone else will! It’s a revolving door. One may go out, another one comes in. And hopefully next time around, it will be the right fit for both of us 🙂 You just have to keep moving forward, and use it to become better at what your craft is. About 1 1/2 years ago, I got certified & started doing the Habit Hand Tied Extension Method. That has taken my business to another level. It has attracted new clients and more people that I enjoy working with. I absolutely love doing this type of work because I get to really see the transformation with the Extensions and Color. I realize I’m helping people feel confident, beautiful and to overcome their insecurities with their hair! It’s a wonderful feeling, and that’s what it’s all about.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whenever I have friends or family come into town, I like to show them the best parts of California! So we have to go hiking, maybe snap some pictures by The Hollywood sign. And we have to go by the water and to the beach. I love taking the drive down the PCH, it’s gorgeous, and great for site seeing. And then lunch or dinner by the water. A few of our favorite spots by the ocean are: Moonshadows, Geoffrey’s or Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. We also like going to eat & being surrounded by nature. Our favorite spot for that is Inn of The Seventh Ray, in Topanga Canyon, it’s beautiful. And depending on the style of friend, there’s a few favorite spots we like going to for dinner in the neighborhood: The Rainbow is a fun, legendary Rock n Roll place to eat and drink all night listening to some great music. Or for a more dark, intimate cool place we like Jones Hollywood for some Italian food, and the best dirty martinis! Can’t forget all the great Mexican restaurants in L.A. a few of our favorites are: El Compadre, Ernie’s, & Casa Vega.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to thank one of my closest friends, Kelly Ann Seymour. She is also a long time hairstylist and salon owner. We have been friends for over 24 years. She has been there for me like a sister. Encouraging me, offering her support and advice the entire way, unselfishly. I appreciate her in my life.