For our second INFLUENCERS interview, we sat down with Zsuzsi Evans and Charde Smith, the co-founders of Joli Beauty Bar in the East Village - NYC. Joli Beauty Bar is a brick-and-mortar business that offers on-the-go or scheduled beauty services such as hairstyling, makeup applications, acupuncture, beauty memberships and specialized events. But Joli is more that just all things beauty. It is about community and creating new connections and maybe some new friends.
LOOK: How did the two of you meet?
Zsuzsi: We met through a mutual friend. We all used to work together but not at the same hours. From the moment that I met Charde, we instantly clicked.
Charde: I just did her really well and she didn’t know how to get rid of me after that. I’m crazy so she balances me...Zsuzsi, is crazy too!
LOOK:What was the idea of starting this business together?
Zsuzsi: We decided to move forward with Joli because we could tell that there was a need for a place for women, not only to get their hair and makeup done, but to come together, where they feel comfortable or celebrate big life events like weddings, bachelorettes, birthdays together.
Charde: There really is not a place a woman can go without feeling she is being sold something. I worked behind the counter at Bloomingdales for a little over ten years. We wanted a space where a women could have a good time and get your makeup done-get your hair done and then go see your man/wife.
LOOK: You offer hair and makeup services inside this space-location. Do you offer this service outside of the space?
Charde: We do. It’s called Joli To Go. We go to hotel rooms, your apartment-anywhere where you need us. We also have Joli Pro, which is very similar but on a professional level. We also do work for magazine photo shoots, fashion presentations and video shoots.
LOOK: As women entrepreneurs, what are your biggest challenges?
Charde: How much time do you have?
Zsuzsi: I think there is a resurgence of the feminist movement in a completely different way. Women are being encouraged to be entrepreneurs, to follow their dreams and start businesses that are geared towards other women. Women are incredibly savvy consumers. They do research. Our customers have researched our business before coming here.
Charde: It's one of those things that is definitely needed. We love being able to back up what we say with our services.
Zsuzsi: As far as the challenges, it’s the same with any other business. Growing your clientele, getting the word out about your business.
Charde: In the beauty industry, there is a little bit of a stigma. People think we have fun all day. It’s a fun job but it’s hard work. We want people to respect what we do and we are trying to change that outlook.
LOOK: What is the next step for Joli Beauty Bar? Is it an app or another service?
Zsuzsi: One of the things we pride ourselves on, is to offer services and needs of our clients were asking us for. We did initially start out without offering haircuts but our clients started asking us for them and we put haircuts on our service item list.
Charde: We are in our second year and we started to notice that our clients would just stop by to say Hi. Almost like Joli Beauty Bar was being used as a venue. So I said to Zsuzsi, "why don’t we have a membership program for women, to use the space for events, workshops or get-togethers of some sort. Host classes on how to do your makeup or put together a cool appetizer tray. If it’s fun and interesting, then we want to do it. Innovative ideas are what we want to focus on. It will be a community of women getting together, drinking wine, and learning some new ideas. So in January, we are launching Joli Social. A membership program that is monthly and will have three classes per month. That's going to be really fun. We are excited about that.
Zsuzsi: We have a wide range of women, from different backgrounds and age groups, that come to our space. With this membership, they will meet new people on a regular basis.
LOOK: Can you tell us a funny story or experience that you guys had?
Charde: Most of our clients, when they come more than two times, they think of this place as their home. We have one client with a Joli membership who asks us all the time what will happen to her if she had to move-where would she find another place like Joli?
Zsuzsi: We have different membership clients that come from various backgrounds and age groups that only meet here. They would not have met if it wasn’t for Joli beauty membership. And they ask about the other women they meet at our events or at their beauty session.
Charde: We go through ups and downs, just like our clients. But we have the support of each other, which helps us get through those times. We cry and laugh, drink wine at the end of the work day-just like everyone else. Sometimes our clients have major life changing events like a breakup or a job change. So our sense of humor and listening power helps them get through their tough times. We are a safe place. We get a lot of first date clients and second date clients.
Zsuszi: Yes! And then we don’t see them anymore because they're in great relationships. We have seen some of our clients home’s and gotten invited to life events of theirs, it’s really exciting and fun.