We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrice “Sway” McKinney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrice “Sway”, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and make my own schedule. I struggled to find out exactly what I wanted to do but I always enjoyed the art of cutting hair. Every time I entered a barbershop or salon, I would get this indescribable feeling. I knew I wanted to become a barber and eventually own my own barbershop or salon. Having to decide between a professional basketball career and entrepreneurship, I chose entrepreneurship without a doubt.
In August of 2008, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia to purse a barbering career. In 2013 I received my Master Barber-Stylist license and the following year I opened my first salon with 6 chairs. In 2016 I finally made my dream a reality and I invested into my first salon suite business with a partner. After a couple of years, I decided that it was time to start my own brand, Encore Salon Suites.
Today, I have two locations open and I am in the process of building a 3rd location. I also recently franchised the business and we plan to expand all around the world. For more information on franchising please visit: EncoreSalonSuites.com/become-
Being an entrepreneur gives me more personal and financial freedom and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Encore Salon Suites offers independent beauty professionals the opportunity to successfully operate their own business. The salon suite business model is one in which the business owner rents out parts of a space, sectioned into suites, to smaller business owners. In short, the owner is responsible for utilities and property maintenance (within reason) for all of the suites in exchange for rent paid weekly or monthly by the beauty professionals.
What’s the difference between a traditional salon or barbershop? In a traditional salon or barbershop, all of the beauty professionals work together in one large space and they rent an individual chair and station. The beauty professionals pay commission or booth rent to the owner and it’s usually on a weekly basis. They are employees of the salon or barbershop and do not own anything. The owner is also responsible for marketing the salon/barbershop and the professionals. Typically, the owner requires that all barbers/stylist work during certain business hours and share the same pricing for their services.
In a salon suite, the beauty professional is their own boss and business owner and is simply renting out a private space in a larger salon complex. The beauty professionals create their own schedules, hours and pricing. They are also responsible for their own marketing and clientele. A salon suite business typically offers a variety of services from professionals in the beauty industry. What sets Encore apart from our competitors is that we allow our beauty professionals to completely customize their suite to reflect their style and make it their own!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my favorite places to eat is Roc South Cuisine, Breakfast at Barney’s, Slutty Vegan, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks and Juicy Crab. I don’t hang out much, but when I do, I like to check out a lounge and listen to some good music with good energy and good vibes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to first shoutout my wonderful mother Darlene. She’s always been a positive role model and such a great leader. My identical twin sister Sharice is my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without her. She’s my #1 supporter! My fiancée Shawntelle is the best partner I could ask for. She understands my lifestyle and supports me all the way. I’m extremely thankful for their continued support, love and encouragement during my journey. Having a strong support system along the way helps get through those hurdles and keeps you motivated to keep going. It’s important to have a positive support system that believes in you 110%.