We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Austin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I would say there are two factors behind my success. Education and knowing who I am. I was always told, that when it comes to running a bushiness, just be you and do you 100%. Because, no one can copy you. I like to think I am very straightforward and honest when it comes to my amazing hair clients. And the only way I can be that way is through constant education. The hair industry is always changing and growing, and with social media and Instagram, hairstylists have no excuse to not keep up with it. New hair trends, techniques and products are always around the corner, and as a salon owner and hairstylist, it is part of my job to stay on top of it. The more I know and educate myself, the easier it is to teach my clients new techniques and impart my knowledge on them. I consider myself successful when my clients have know what to do.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being a hairstylist has been far more fulfilling for myself than I ever thought it could be. When I first went to hair school, I had no intentions on working in a salon. I didn’t want to work behind a chair everyday. But, now, I couldn’t imagine not being a stylist. I truly love what I do. When you sit in my chair, you can feel my excitement. I like to think my passion for what I do rubs off on those who come into my salon. I’m always up for trying something new with a client and I think that’s really important. Not that there is anything wrong with always doing the same cut and/or color, but being able to offer a new style or technique that matches the client in the chair, is huge. People get stuck in ruts and become afraid of stepping outside their comfort zone, where as I like providing options. My ability to read my clients and understand their personality, is what makes me so great with people. Even when a client doesn’t quite know the right words to describe what they want, I guarantee you I can read between the lines. It took a few years to get there, but I think what makes me so great at my job is my ability to listen and making sure my clients trust me. One of my favorite things to hear from a client is “I don’t care what you do to my hair, I trust you.” Best. Compliment. Ever. But, you don’t get that trust without learning some lessons along the way. I’ve certainly had my mishaps, having to fix color mistakes because there was a misunderstanding with what my client wanted. Or maybe a haircut wasn’t done right because the client and had different expectations from what we discussed. But without those hiccups, I wouldn’t have learned how to listen better. I want the world to know that I am a huge, passionate nerd. My salon is called Salon 9 ¾. Yes, its a Harry Potter reference. Because, I love magic. I grew up on those books and I STILL love them. So, what better idea than a salon that is Harry Potter influenced? Sure, some people don’t get the reference, and that’s totally okay. But do you know how many people do? There are so many HP enthusiasts out there and I just hope I get to meet them all and get the chance cut their hair in my salon.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Atlanta has so many amazing spots. I would spend an evening bar hopping in Inman Park, think Beetlecat or Pure Taqueria. I would spend the day going to an amazing brunch spot, like Henry’s, and then going to the High Museum to see whatever art exhibit they have. Or spend a day thrifting around Little 5 Points and grab coffee at Aurora Coffee. There would definitely have to be a night to go check out Atlanta’s amazing stand up comedy scene. One of my favorite spots to get on stage has to be at the amazing Highland Inn Ballroom. And depending on how tired or hungover we are, I’d take my friend for a hike at either Stone Mountain or Sweetwater Creek State Park. And my friend would be leaving atlanta exhausted.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I feel like there are so many people who helped my business and myself along the way, be it through encouragement, advice or financial support. My parents for sure have helped me, financially by helping me literally build a salon in my house and by supporting my decision to truly take a risk on myself, this wouldn’t have happened without them. As well as one of my previous coworkers, a fellow professional stylist and best friend, Ashley Suter, has provided me with more mental support than she possibly knows by being one of my biggest advocates. And then there are all my friends that might as well be my family, that helped me put my salon together, from taking professional pictures of my space to literally building my beautiful shelves for my products; Deidre, Bryan and Tony. I don’t like to take people for granted, so this list could go on forever. But, without the support of all the people in my life, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today.
Headshot photos of myself are from the amazingly talented Lola Scott.