Good afternoon, friends!
So, one of our goals for 2020 was that we wanted to get to know our favorite local vendors more deeply and focus on strengthening and making connections in our community. We also want to provide resources to local couples to find a dream team of incredible people to make your vision for your elopement or intimate wedding day come to life! We thought a cool way to do that would be to set aside one day a month to travel to their space and do a little Q+A about weddings + business. If this one at Ash Salon was any indication, we are going to have so much fun with this!
We are both passionate about entrepreneurship and keeping it real when it comes to talking about the light and dark in running your own business. We also really want to shout from the mountaintops about all of the lovely and incredible vendors in our area with hopes of helping our couples find a good fit and also helping our favorite vendors expand their reach.
We hope you enjoy our first edition of LOVELIGHT
Q+A with Ashley Gray, owner of Ash Salon
So, let's talk about what you offer for wedding days!
Yes, we love weddings of all kinds! We offer full service hair styling and make up! Ash Salon is a great place to get facials (for that wedding glow!), microderm, peels, massages, and just to relax. We recommend doing 1 a month for the 3 months before your wedding date. We have two treatment rooms - they can get massages + facials at the same time and/or switch rooms. If you have a wedding party, they can all be together on the one hair artistry bar, and Saturday and Sundays are not as crazy (ironically) so they can take over the salon. It's so much fun! We serve mimosas and snacks and make it a whole day for them! A lot of couples these days are having us on site, and we're totally willing to accommodate that as well! We have a whole team of artists for hair + makeup and can bring the Ash Salon vibe to you!
[The cutest little shampoo room you ever did see!]
What is your ideal wedding client?
I would say our ideal client is someone who lives in the area (we're in Haymarket, VA) because most of the time, once they work with the artist, they become a lifelong client. Our target market is someone in their late 20’s, 30s, 40s... that will then become a color client who comes to see us for the latest trends!
In terms of wedding hair — I love doing updos. We're loving winter weddings right now, they’re so gorgeous and elegant. We all specialize in the boho look and love all the braids and everything! We're also LOVING seeing the classic updos come back! Recently, I've been so into an elegant French twist. The classics are so understated and beautiful and because the boho style is saturating the market, it's been fun to travel in the other direction too and take it back to the classics. We also offer a full line of hair extensions (clip ons, halo, wefts, and tape-ins!), which a lot of our clients really love!
[Billie, the salon dog!]
How would you describe the vibe of your salon and your goal for how people feel when they’re here?
Ash Salon is fun + edgy and all good vibes only! Our team… we all love each other. We all get along and we’re genuinely inspired by one another. I always want our clients to feel like they’re in their friend's living room hanging out. I want it to feel super comfortable + relaxed. Offering drinks (non-alcoholic and alcohol, too!) adds to the experience. My goal is for everyone to feel like family here.
Do you have any do’s or dont’s for a hair trial?
Yes! I think a lot of people have heard the myth - “come with dirty hair”. We definitely prefer clean + dry hair. We can prep it and we have all the tools to rough it up without having to combat greasy hair. It's definitely harder to get volume in dirty hair. Smells a lot better too ;)
I also suggest that you bring in pictures that are similar to your actual hair. So, brunettes should look at brunette pictures. Fine blonde hair should look at fine blonde hair. A lot of times I have brunettes bring a picture of a finely woven bun - but if you have a solid color you’re not able to see all the intricacies. You want to look for hair texture AND color like yours. I think bringing lots of pictures for the stylist so that you can be on the same page is so important. Try to stick to your style, too. If you never wear your hair up, don’t wear your hair up on your wedding day. You want to feel like yourself, so stay true to yourself.
For short hair clients, we also do a day-of touch up for weddings. A little comb, gel, clean up the neckline. It’s perfect for the morning of a wedding day!
What about make-up trials?
Same thing for sure. Bring pictures of yourself and the way you normally wear your makeup. We totally understand you’re going to want to amp it up for the day-of but... maybe don’t choose a crazy smoky eye if you have a more natural vibe. ;) Lots of pictures + inspo pictures are always helpful!
Here is a link to the elopement + wedding offerings section of their website: Wedding + Elopement Services
This next part we get on to the business part! This is for all the entrepreneurs out there, or those of you thinking of taking the leap! The wedding industry has SO MANY talented people and it can feel overwhelming at times. When you run your own business, trying to be and do all of it can feel like too much (and it is!). In our interviews with our local favs, we really want to touch on this part of entrepreneurship in the hopes that connecting in real life and illuminating the light AND dark of running a business can make us all feel a little bit less alone in that. Hopefully we can all share the little gems we've learned to help us stay sane in the process, too!
-Ali + Lauren
What is your vision for Ash Salon for 2020 and the future?
Just keep growing! Which is kind of crazy — we just tripled the space but I already feel like we’ve filled it! My goal this year is to put more of my time and effort into training the younger girls - all of our apprentices. I meet with them every week and grow their skills together. Victoria is our first apprentice that has gone through our whole program and she goes on the floor in March! It’s really exciting. We have three more apprentices training under us right now that will eventually go on the floor. I would like to continue to grow the team, and grow our skills.
I want to make sure that in 2020 we maintain that family feel in our salon. In March, I’m taking everyone on a group retreat so we can all be together, get to know everyone’s personal goals, and get to know more about one another. We’ll hike, do yoga, vision boards, play games at the pub… I'm really looking forward to it. Our team has grown quickly and I don’t want to anyone to ever feel forgotten.
There was a point where I know I started to spread myself too thin - I took on too many clients, working open to close five days a week, sometimes six. And doing the business part, doing the orders... I was just doing too much. I’ve been able to let some of that go because our team is so incredible, I cut out a day behind the chair… and I was able to do that because all of my stylists are so amazing. I feel like my goal with that time carved out is to be better organized as a team leader. I think that was getting lost when I was working myself too hard.
2 and a half years in… is there anything you wish that people knew about you?
Sometimes I think everyone thinks doing hair is only fun. When you’re a booked stylist, you’re on your feet non-stop, you’re ON 24/7, and then to also run the business on top of that — I get drained. It looks all glamorous and it is, I love my job! I wouldn’t want do anything else... but it’s exhausting! Running a business, your brain is also on all the time thinking of everything. I just have to carve out days to remember to take care of myself, too.
What keeps you grounded?
The gym. I love the gym. I have still maintained that 5 days a week. I go early in the morning to either lift or do HIIT. I have a girl that comes with me that works here too and I've been training her! So that’s been really motivating and fun to me too. I also love getting facials here if I can ever find the time! It’s funny how when you work here it’s harder to get anything done. I usually have the worst roots. ;)
What's an unexpected thing you've learned since starting your business on your own?
The consumption of time. I tried to do all of the accounting stuff on my own at the beginning. Thankfully, I found a great accountant and they do all the bookkeeping + accounting so I hardly have to think about that at all. I’ve learned that there’s so much that happens behind the scenes that having a good manager is so important. Emily is amazing, she does so much, she’s so strong and I’ve been able to let go of a lot since she’s come on. I've learned that you can't take everything on alone. Find good people to help you and it allows for so much freedom to grow in a meaningful way.
We feel like that's a good note to end on, y'all. Put on your own oxygen mask first, as they say! It was so fun to get to hang out with Ashley for a bit and pick her brain. She oozes creativity and passion and being in her space does feel like you're hanging out in your friend's living room. She invites you to be true to who you are, unabashedly, and she is such a light in this community and in the world. We've loved watching her grow her reach and her business and transform this little spot in Haymarket into a space that feels so authentic to her style and vibe. Ash, you've created a place in the community that people can feel free to express themselves, be real and honest, and are celebrated for it. Cheers to that!
We would both trust Ash Salon for all of your hair, makeup, and spa needs and love working with all of them! We highly encourage any wedding party to feel confident and comfortable reaching out to Ash Salon for their wedding day pampering! Here are some links to help you connect:
Visit them in person at: 14945 Washington St. in Haymarket.
Call the salon to make an appointment at 703-753-0594
Ali + Lauren
[all photos taken by Ali + Lauren of Freebird Imagery]