When I moved to Winston-Salem from NYC, I was worried. Not for the reasons everyone thought – I really wanted a quieter life, so I wasn’t afraid of a lack of things to do. My real fear?
I was terrified I wouldn’t find a hairstylist.
Consider it: if you have a great hairdresser, you’re golden. Pull it back, wear it messy, do it up – healthy and happy hair can do all of this and more. I set out and went to a bunch of places, and I was always disappointed at the results and felt like I wouldn’t be at home if I had to wear my hair in a ponytail forever or go back to NYC to get my haircut. Finally, someone recommended Alkali Hair Studio, and I met Colleen, one of the amazing and talented hairstylists at Alkali.
She asked me how long I wanted to spend on my hair in the morning and what kind of upkeep I wanted – and then she cut my hair in the best style it has ever been.
And suddenly, I felt like I was finally home in Winston.
Alkali isn’t a new studio – owner and lead stylist Amber Woodall opened the space ten years ago this April, but they are moving to a new and exciting home in the not so distant future. Currently located on Brookstown and Marshall, Woodall is thrilled about the newly renovated and curated space on West End Boulevard. “The new location is part of a hand-picked new development project. The businesses are woman-owned, and it’s all part of bringing the building and space around it back to life,” said Woodall.
Woodall isn’t a stranger to change: Alkali started out of necessity when she was offered a position working as an educator and left her current position to have flexibility. She quickly found out that the educator’s life was not what made her shine, but was still attached to a space of her own, so she dug in and did her craft to the best of her abilities, continuing to learn and level up her skills. Time went on and she kept getting more and more clients, finally to the point of needing to hire someone. Take this pattern growth and repeat it over ten years, and you’ve got another big move.
“I believe in the idea of curated client experience and a culture of respect and growth,” said Woodall. This client experience is present throughout the current location – everything is intentional – and will carry over on a higher level in the new location. “I’m looking to increase that experience, keep the private atmosphere, and add to the relaxing atmosphere.” That atmosphere will only be enhanced by the development goals: plans for an integrated green space to tie the community into the space and create something more than simply a block of stores.
“Green” definitely connects with Woodall’s future goals: more space to her doesn’t just mean more stylists and a planned esthetic offering. More space means room to focus a project of lessening her carbon footprint as a salon. “That space will help us give back. We need additional space to package and ship excess color and foil.”
While Woodall sounds like an incredibly forward-thinking businesswoman, the best part is she actually is as good as she sounds. In starting her own space, she’s been able to contribute to changing the idea that a hairstylist is more than “just” a hairdresser. “Hairstylists need to make a good living to thrive and have a life that isn’t the bare minimum.” As a client, I can say this is reflected in the performance of her stylists – Colleen and I talk consistently about the education and growth opportunities that are offered to continuously make her an even better stylist. After two years, I’ve managed to convert many friends and even my hard-to-please curly-haired husband – and even one of his friends.
If you’re looking to jump on the Alkali bandwagon before they move and continue to grow, you can find them at 301 Brookstown Avenue, at 336.724.1453 or studioalkali.squarespace.com.
And, “you’re welcome” for your future great hair days.