For Meagan Gallman, being a salon owner was never really a part of the plan. As a hairstylist with 14 years under her belt, she was happy with her long list of clients in her 300-square-foot, single-practitioner space.
However, after becoming a highly regarded educator in the beauty industry and taking on two assistants, her current studio was no longer big enough to accommodate her needs. “At any given time, there would be seven or eight people in this tiny space. I didn’t feel like I was providing the comfort level that my clients deserved.” The opportunity to expand her business triggered a unique vision in Gallman’s eyes—to provide the town of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, with an upscale salon experience. On top of that, she wanted a space that enabled her to provide an educational experience for her staff. The Magnolia Parlor was born.
“My vision was all about what I wished I had access to and to provide an experience for small-town residents, so they didn’t have to travel two hours from where they lived to experience an upscale salon.”
Opening a salon amid a pandemic
But opening The Magnolia Parlor came with several challenges. Gallman needed to completely revamp an old, 2500-square-foot space that needed some serious work and encountered several snafus with equipment orders. Despite that, Gallman was on track to open her doors in early 2020.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic required all salons in Mississippi to close for 15 days, which then turned into seven weeks. “I started thinking we’d never be able to open,” Gallman said. “How am I supposed to open a salon during a time like this?”
When the restrictions lifted, Gallman was getting calls from customers to book appointments. But she was still waiting for crucial equipment, and they still needed to be inspected.
“While everybody else was getting back up and running, my staff and I were without a place to do hair. I was afraid that I was causing my staff to lose their clients.”
Keeping clients and staff safe during a pandemic
Luckily, the equipment arrived at the same time Gallman was approved to open. She quickly made a social media post about a soft opening for The Magnolia Parlor, and before she knew it, she had a waiting list of 40 people trying to get in the door for the first two weeks.
To keep customers and staff safe, Gallman’s gone the extra mile. “I’ve stocked up on cleaning supplies, more BARBICIDE® than I’ve ordered before, and I had branded masks made for my staff.” Gallman also ordered disposable masks for clients to use in case they are worried about getting hair color on their own.
How Booker helps The Magnolia Parlor run seamlessly
When Gallman was in her small studio, she was using Vagaro to help her book appointments. However, she knew that going from a single-operator to a staffed salon would require a more robust software system. “I had a lot on my plate, and I needed something that was going to do most of the work for me.” Before doing her research in other booking software systems, Gallman made a list of what she needed her software to provide—she found everything she wanted, and more, in Booker.
“One of the first questions I asked was, ‘Does Booker allow me to charge an asshole fee’?” Gallman said. This ‘inconvenience’ fee would be charged to clients who showed up late, were rude to stylists, or caused disruptions in the salon. After all, Gallman prides herself on not only being an educator for her staff but their advocate as well.
Although it’s rare for her stylists to be mistreated by clients, she wanted to make sure that she picked salon software that enabled her to charge an inconvenience fee in case it did happen. “I think I may have caught who I was talking to off guard, but they assured me I could customize the software to charge fees on an as-needed basis.”
Originally, Gallman didn’t want her stylists taking appointments right away but since she had a rapidly growing waitlist, she customized the offerings certain stylists could provide within the software to get her staff on the floor as soon as possible. “I loved that I was able to customize their services to allow them to take more simple things like gray retouch or something that I knew that they could execute with no problem whatsoever,” Gallman said. “Being able to do that especially during a time like this is super helpful.”
Her clients love certain features about Booker, too. “My clients really enjoy being able to keep their card on file, so they don’t have to bring their purse in the salon during this time.”
While The Magnolia Parlor is only in its first few months of business, Gallman’s made sure that its future is safe and stylish for staff, customers, and the community.