Posted on February 1, 2017
2016 may have had its highs and lows, but it was a pretty rocking year for Holiday Childress! “I found out I was having my first baby girl, I came out with a solo album, and I opened my own salon business,” he says.
Opening a studio in October at Sola Pack Square in North Carolina was an unexpected move for Holiday. Growing up, he’d “always felt an aversion to hair salons,” he admits. Entering the beauty industry, then, came out of necessity.
Holiday has always had an ear for music. His dad and his grandpa were Air Force pilots, and Holiday’s first musical inspiration was the sound of jet airplanes overhead.
“I started playing guitar at age 11, and I started writing songs at 13,” Holiday says. Two years later he played his first gig in Atlanta.
At 17, Holiday linked up with a few other musicians, and formed The Goodies, the art-rock band he’s played with for two decades. With Holiday at its helm, the trio toured the southeast in the 1990s and early 2000s; the show continues today at venues in Asheville.
To make ends meet, Holiday picked up restaurant work here and there. “I did that for many years because it’s flexible,” he says. By 2007, though, the musician had a wife and two children to support. “I needed a day job,” he explains.
Between nursing and hair, Holiday settled on the latter. “I originally wanted to start a barbershop, but there was no barber school here in Asheville,” says Holiday. His only option, then, was cosmetology school, and that’s where he learned the ins and outs of cuts and color.
Post-graduation, Holiday interned at a busy hair studio in Asheville. “I surrounded myself with the most successful people in the salon, and that’s when I realized I was interested in color,” he says.
More specifically, Holiday is keen on natural looking color. “As soon as it’s trendy, it’s over,” he says, offering, “Really good and subtle natural hair color is what captures my heart. It’s sophisticated and understated.”
Five years into his second career, and Holiday had reached the point where he was consistently booked solid. “I couldn’t figure out how to get to the next level, and I wasn’t going to open my own salon,” he says.
Music, you see, was still the main event, and Holiday knew he wouldn’t be able to continue nurturing that passion if he had to manage employees and operate a business.
When a friend hyped Holiday to Sola Salon, he couldn’t believe his luck: “It was what I needed to grow professionally, without the responsibility and risk of owning a brick-and-mortar,” he says.
In October, Holiday launched his studio at Sola Pack Square. The midcentury modern space looks like something straight out of Dwell magazine, thanks to the stylist’s wife’s design skills.
“The last three months have been unbelievable,” Holiday divulges. He’d expected to lose money during his first year in business, but so far he’s come out way ahead. And it doesn’t hurt that Holiday’s salon is located underneath Asheville Music School, which has been a good source of walk-in business for the musically gifted stylist.
Days before launching his salon, Holiday also released his first debut solo album, Mind the Gap, which has critics calling Holiday a cross between Prince, Queen, and Tom Waits. Needless to say, 2016 was a big year!
Music and hair might seem totally distinct, but the two fields have been a natural fit for Holiday. “I enjoy taking care of people, and I like making people feel good,” he says. Both careers are “about the people and the relationships,” adds Holiday.
At Sola, Holiday is free to focus on developing all of his relationships — and his dual careers, too. “Being at Sola — it changed my life,” he says, adding, “I suddenly felt completely responsible for my own destiny.”