Whitehouse tells of her salon ‘vision’

Alison Whitehouse, owner of Studios West Salon Suites, had a vision four-and-a-half years ago and opened the first suites of salon studios in Farragut.

“It’s a way for people in the beauty industry to have their own businesses without that initial outlay of money, so [a salon suite] makes perfect sense,” said Whitehouse, who also operates The Clothes Studio, a boutique in Studios West.

“And, it gives a customer a very different salon experience because it’s private,” she said. [The customer] is not out in the open, so it’s really amazing; but the best thing is watching all these small businesses grow because these are independent small business owners [in salon suites].”

Whitehouse opened Studios West March 1, 2013, at 10843 Kingston Pike next to David’s Abbey Carpets in Patriots Corner. Since 2013, at least three other salon suites have opened in Farragut and Turkey Creek.

Before opening Studios West, she had been working in sales for a local radio station and other media outlets for 15 years.

“There were a lot of salon suites, but with digital online becoming such a thing, the one part of the salon suites model that was missing was a way for customers to actually find those businesses and be able to book with them,” Whitehouse said. “So, I started working with [salon suites] on promoting their businesses online and making it easier for the customers to find them, and it’s just been incredibly successful from there.”

She started with five businesses in Studios West and the facility has grown to include 22 businesses in the 23-suite facility.

Customers can find everything from hair salons and a barber shop to a hair restoration specialist, plus skin care specialists such as aestheticians and a nurse who provides Botox and other injectables. Also included is a spray tan studio, nail salon and eyebrow threading studio.

“[We have] all the things to make you beautiful,” Whitehouse said.

To make an appointment for any of the salons, customers can book online, she said.

“You’ve got to make it easier for [customers],” Whitehouse added.

The suites have no set hours. Each business make its own hours, she said, adding, “I have some salons that will accommodate people on Sundays [and] after work. It just depends on the different salon.”

Venica Tschoepe, owner of Studio Venica who has been doing hair for 29 years, opened about four year ago. Along with haircuts and styling, she does hair extensions and is a color brand educator, traveling all over the world to help with hair color formulations.

“She’s an advocate with Olaplex, “ Whitehouse said about Tschoepe. “I mean, her journeys in growth is completely amazing.”

“Since I opened my suite, everything’s changed for me,” Tschoepe said. “I’ve never been more involved in my industry. I’ve never felt more passionate about my clients, about everything that I do.

“I love having my own business, and I love having it this way because it affords me to have my own business without all the overhead of an entire building and trying to manage other employees in a salon. All I have to worry about is my own creativity.”

Also at Studios West, Anna Williams, a non-surgical hair loss specialist, opened Dream Weaver Custom Hair Design almost five years ago. She has been in the hair replacement-related business for more than 20 years.

Williams provides non-surgical hair replacement and custom hair systems for men and women who have suffered hair loss, such as from alopecia [a type of hair loss occurring when one’s immune system mistakenly attacks the hair follicles] chemotherapy and other causes.

She said she likes privacy for her clients.

Marcus D. Blair, owner of The Marq, opened his barber shop in September 2016. Leaving a previous organization, Blair said Studios West offered him an opportunity to grow.

“Being here is actually like a team concept,” Blair said. “Even though every [business] is individually owned and operated, we look out for one another,” he said.

Studios West also has Whitney’s Salon and Custom Air Brush Tanning, owned by Whitney Sheppard; LyBella Classic Skin Care, owned by Lydia Manzano; Bee in Your Bonnet, owned by Jennifer Prater, Sara Rutherford and Vicki Palmer; Jama's Salon, owned by Jama McMahan; Patricia Wade Studio, owned by Patricia Wade; DiAnna's Touch of Beauty, owned by DiAnna Galloway; Nail Escapes by Marty, owned by Marty Millsaps; Studio Spice, owned by Vicki Stafford; Studio Bleu, owned by Bonnie Wilson; Kurves Threading Studio, owned by Fariyal Pirani, and Susan & Jason at Studio H, owned by Susan and Jason Herrera.

To book an appointment, visit Studios West’s website at www.studioswestsalon.com.