PHOTOS BY PHOTO ARTISTRY BY MELINDA
I don’t know about you, but when an incredible stylist and business owner tells me about a product that she loves so much that someone will have to pry it from her “cold dead fingers” I’m going to listen. And when that woman is Amber Woodall from Alkali Hair Studio, I’m going to see what else she’s brought into their new expanded retail space just in time for holiday shopping.
Before you wonder about the connection between “shopping” and “hair studio” don’t worry – you aren’t alone. “People don’t think to come a few minutes early before their appointment to look around,” said Amber, stylist and owner of Alkali. “Clients will compliment a nail polish I’m wearing and I will say ‘we sell it here’ and they are always surprised by the variety of things we carry.”
The expanded retail space at Alkali is carefully curated by Amber herself, complete with recommendations from the stylists. “Now that we have more space at this location, I can carry the things that the stylists were constantly recommending to clients,” said Amber. “I kept thinking, why are we recommending things like sleep bonnets, Velcro rollers, and satin pillowcases, and then sending people over to Amazon?” The offerings at Alkali started expanding when Amber was out earlier this summer with a leg injury, “I had to do work while I was recovering, so I had the time to make sure products we were looking at aligned with our philosophies at Alkali – and were things that there was a need for.”
This has always been the case with the hair products at Alkali: Oribe has been a personal favorite of the stylists (and mine – if you haven’t used the Dry Texturizing Spray, you haven’t lived) and Davines is another Alkali aligned and approved hair product. “While they [Oribe and Davines] are different quality products, they are both environmentally friendly and employee focused companies – things I truly value within my team and business.” Amazing quality is a non-negotiable with Amber, “We are always looking for new and high-quality products that people need. A good example of this is a micro needling roller,” Amber said. “You can tear up your skin if you randomly choose it over the counter or off Amazon. We want to do the research for people and help them find the best one.”
Aside from hair products and the medical-grade skincare line Environ, Alkali carries hair accessories like barrettes, clips, scrunchies, and bridal hairpieces. “You couldn’t get these things at local places – people are going to look to Target over an independent local place. I wanted to offer the things that our customers need and honestly, some of it is a bit selfish. If I see something that’s cool and that we like, I want to bring it in,” said Amber. One thing she wants clients to know – buying a product from a local business like Alkali allows you to support small business: “People think that the company is going to provide it cheaper, or they are going to get a better deal on Amazon, but because it’s such high quality, everything is price regulated. It will be the same price wherever – if you get it from us, you are keeping money in the community.”
And of course Amber has some top gift picks from the carefully curated selection: “David Aubrey jewelry is fun, timeless, art deco and geometric. Their earrings are a great friend piece. We have cotton reusable face wipes that are excellent for the person that doesn’t want to keep buying disposable wipes. If you’d like to splurge, grab one of the Oribe Holiday Giftsets – they teamed with a wallpaper artist from Paris this year – and the box sets are so nice. Also a box of the micro needling rollers. Even if you’re not using Environ, it’s a big treat that takes skincare up another level.”
And that product that Amber can’t live without? Oribe’s Royal Blowout. “This product cuts down on my drying time, extends the life of my blow-dry, adds oils to keep my hair hydrated, and gives me 10 minutes back in my day – and anything that gives me time back is amazing.”
Visit Alkali Hair Studio at 407 W. End Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 or online at studioalkali.com.