We had the good fortune of connecting with Harley Chapman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Harley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I was in beauty school, a couple of my friends were getting married and I did their hair. This turned into a few more friends asking, some families members, and then it just kind of started snow-balling from there. I was doing a ton of weddings on my own and really started to build a sustainable business from just that. I was also an employee of a salon at the time so I worked full time there and did my weddings on the weekend. Eventually my schedule just couldn’t handle being a full time employee and business owner. So in 2017, I quite my job and opened a studio with a friend. I worked there for 1 year before opening my very own salon studio in Tempe, Arizona called, Strand Hair Studio.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am an independent hairstylist. I do cuts, color, and extensions- balayage and bridal hair are my specialty. During the week you can find me in my studio doing hair and on the weekends I’m pretty much always getting a bride ready to walk down the aisle. In 2019 I started teaching other hairstylists how to build their bridal businesses. I launched a class called, The Business of Bridal Hair, and this has been one of my proudest accomplishments. I saw a really big need for bridal hair education in this industry and not just teaching updos and braids but teaching the business side of things too. It can be difficult to work with brides during the wedding planning process, there’s a lot more that goes into it, and it’s totally different than doing hair in a salon. I totally geek out over business topics, so talking about contracts, payments, and being a wedding vendor is so fun to me. It’s taken a lot of time to get to where I am in my business today. The most valuable lesson I have learned is setting boundaries, with my clients and with myself. As a business owner, I have the incredible opportunity to call 100% of the shots. I don’t have to do anything that doesn’t aline with my priorities. This truly is a gift that I am so grateful for. So when I’m feeling exhausted or burned out, it’s because I didn’t stick to my boundaries. It’s a hard lesson to learn and definitely takes breaking boundaries a few times, but sticking to them is how you grow a business into what you really want it to be.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For starter’s we would need to go Palette Collective, which is where my studio is located. Palette Collective is the home to many small businesses and is just a cool place to hang out! We would need to get a chai tea at the coffee shop there for sure. We would definitely need to go to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop in downtown Tempe! (Side note: my husband and I spent 6 months in China a few years ago and Fuzzy’s was our first meal after landing back in America! We missed it so much, we went straight there from the airport. It’s so good.) After that we could go across the street to Low Key, a dueling piano bar. This place is so much fun! Fuzzy’s and the piano bar is one of mine and husband’s favorite dates. We could also head up north to Sedona. I do a lot of weddings there in the summertime and it’s a beautiful little town! There’s great hikes and tons of little shops to check out. I got a massage once at Sedona’s New Day Spa and it was amazing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I went into beauty school with no plans of becoming a business owner and I definitely had no idea bridal hair would become my speciality. It wasn’t until I took a class from Stephanie Neiheisel (gothglosscreative.com), who is a well known makeup artist in Phoenix, that I learned all the possibilities this industry has to offer. We learned about starting a business, working with brides, how to use social media, photoshoots, branding, etc. It opened me up to a side of the beauty industry that I didn’t know existed. I had no idea I could build a successful business from doing peoples hair on their wedding day. So I’m pretty glad I took that class! Another person who made a big difference in my story is Cristina Diaz (beautycreations.co). We connected through Instagram during the time that I was working at a salon and doing weddings on the side. She was already an independent hairstylist and asked me to open a studio with her. I was super nervous! I knew it was time but it was definitely a big leap of faith. She really showed me the ropes that first year in business and I wouldn’t be where I am without her push to go fully independent.
Jennie Karges Paige Truscott