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Get To Know… Sharon Smith, Connect Hair Studio (GV32)

My name is Sharon Smith, owner and master hairstylist at Connect Hair Studio Inc. located at 274 Burton Ave. in Barrie.

Way back when, I owned a very busy and popular salon in Belleville but lacked the depth of business knowledge to make it really successful.  When I moved to Barrie to be closer to family I was quite happy working for others, but eventually the urge to break free increased and I started to feel becoming an owner again was going to be my destiny. 

This time I took a very smart step and completed a Grow Vantage course (#32) before launching into the hectic world of business ownership again.
Seven years down the track and Connect Hair Studio Inc. is now very much a part of the fabric of Barrie. Essentially the business is branded in two ways which complement each other and support my philosophy that a successful local business has to be a business that gives back to their community.

Our first brand is commitment to quality and to really hearing what the client says.  We combine that with the knowledge of our highly skilled team to produce an outcome that reflects who the client truly is.
Our motto is “..more than a perfect haircut”.  It is a statement that says we will go above and beyond to make the experience of our clients meaningful.  We form long lasting relationships with many of them.  Dr. Lew Losoncy, a psychologist who has dedicated his career to the hairstyling industry in North America, summed it up when he said:
“…You not only cut hair, you transform images and destinies…”

One of the areas where we seem to have developed a niche market is that of makeovers.  A radical change of hairstyle is not uncommon in younger people.  What we see are the clients who reach a stage in their lives where they need to feel almost reborn.  Because a hairstyle is walking, visible proof it is also important to prepare the clients psychologically of the change.  They must trust every one of my team to be working with them.  We always try to be aware that many of our clients have worn a similar style for most of their lives and change is a daunting undertaking.
During the pandemic we have adopted a ‘#just wait’ stance.  People often ask me whether we will know if they’ve done a little self-colour or, dare I mention the idea – a self-trim.  WE KNOW, PEOPLE.  We are paid professionals.  You Tube is not going to ‘cut’ it.   It might also be worth tucking a mental note away – if you mess up your colour it is potentially going to cost you a lot more to get it fixed!

There have been tempting requests for home visits, cash incentives and barter deals but we knew we had to stay strong as a team to protect each other first.

Getting our clients back is like welcoming a family member back after a long holiday away.  We miss our clients and all of the laughter, tears and life changes that we are blessed to share with them. 
The second arm of our branding is that we like to try to support business and the community.  Every month since we opened seven years ago Connect Hair Studio Inc. has cross-promoted another local business.  We also have run a series of fundraising events in-salon for local charities.  Every decision to support a charity has come directly from hearing a story of need from a client.

For the past two years we have spearheaded the production of the Raw & Reflective calendar supporting the work of Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka.  Initially it was to honour and support the many clients who are impacted by many forms of cancer – plus it seemed like a fun idea!  Covid-19 has pushed everything, even cancer, into the back row.  Gilda’s offers all of their programs free to their members and, with many traditional fundraisers not able to happen, we are glad we have been able to do our part.

So that is Connect.  That is what we do. 
Patricia Dent

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