To complement her already successful and stylishly modern hair salon — Alkali Hair Studio — owner Amber Woodall recognized yet another creative niche. Three years ago this fall, she opened Air by Alkali, a chic, unisex dry bar on trendy 4th Street. If you’re new to the idea of a “dry bar” we chatted with Amber to get the basics of the business.
FW: As owner and lead stylist at Alkali Hair Studio, known for its artistic approach to beauty and styling, what prompted you to include a second location?
Amber: “Alkali just turned nine years old, and the addition of the dry bar location was something that evolved over time, and from a need I had found at our main location. At Alkali, we specialize in extensive coloring techniques and precision cutting, but I felt the need to build a farm system, adding a dry bar to the business. Now I am able to hire new talent and train them to later move up within the full-service salon. At most salons, if you call last minute — or simply walk in — you are automatically presented to the newest, “greenest” stylist, and I feel this leads to new customers having a less than perfect experience! At Alkali, I don’t want any of my stylists to feel like the newest or greenest! More thorough training — especially extensive customer service experience — should be a requirement before each hairdresser takes the floor. A dry bar is something that downtown Winston-Salem absolutely needs and can certainly support, but it also fits a need for me, to hire and groom the very best hairdressers.”
FW: Tell our readers a bit about your services!
Amber: “We have a main menu of five ‘go-to’ looks at the dry bar, and most include some sort of additional heat treatment at no extra charge. A typical service includes a shampoo, blow-dry, and styling. This can be customized to meet the client’s desires, and in addition to blowouts, we offer basic haircuts, makeup service, keratin treatments, and conditioning treatments. We also offer fun opportunities for private events. You can book an entire day or a half day before your wedding for your own private party, including champagne — and yes, we create lots of up-dos! We also offer on-site wedding day services as well. For weddings, we do offer special packages, with pricing available upon request.”
FW: How large is the dry bar staff, and can clients drop in throughout the day?
Amber: “There are three employees at Air, and definitely drop-in appointments are available. Since the dry bar services require a shorter time frame, if you do drop in and are asked to wait, it’s usually only a few minutes. We are also able to pull stylists from Alkali for large special events.”
FW: As you’ve launched the dry bar and watched it grow, what has been its biggest challenge, or clients’ misconception?
Amber: “The biggest misconception is that a blowout is only for special events! Getting blowouts as part of your regular beauty routine can definitely save you a lot of time and energy. For busy moms, especially, it may be the only time you truly relax and feel pampered. Come unwind a little (and be kind to your budget!) with our monthly memberships which include two blowouts a month, a free blowout on your birthday, and 10% off product purchases in the salon — also a great gift idea for working professionals and new moms!”
Alkali Hair Studio is located at 301 Brookstown Avenue, Suite 200, in Winston-Salem, 336-724-1453, (studioalkali.com) and Air by Alkali can be found at 107 W. 4th Street in Winston-Salem. Call them at 336-725-4248 for more information and to schedule a relaxing appointment! Hours are Wednesday 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Air by Alkali is closed Sunday through Tuesday.