Posted on July 13, 2016
To her clients, industry veteran Michelle Jacobs is known as The Hairgenie. “My husband came up with that,” Michelle says, explaining, “He says I perform magic on hair.”
Michelle’s story – her journey to Sola – is atypical, to say the least. That’s because she opened a studio through Sola Salons after she’d run a successful brick-and-mortar salon for over two decades!
“I opened my first salon when I was twenty,” Michelle begins. At her shop in Falls Church, Virginia, Michelle employed three barbers and three stylists — all the while building up her own business and honing in on a specialization in extensions.
“To be honest, I loved having that salon,” says Michelle. Running a small business “came with ease,” she explains, adding, “I like working with people; I liked helped stylists build their clientele up by handing down jobs.”
Michelle might work magic behind her chair; after twenty years of managing others, though, the monotony and stress had taken a toll on this particular genie. Having employees had positive aspects, true — but it also meant Michelle was responsible for, well, everything! “When something went wrong, I had to handle it,” Michelle says. “I wanted a different pace,” she adds.
She got that change of pace in September of 2014, when she closed her salon and launched a new one at Sola Salon Tysons Corner. Running a business through Sola has been 100 percent stress-free, Michelle reports. “If something goes wrong, there’s a building manager to handle that; it’s like being catered to for once,” she explains.
Michelle’s husband, by the way, was the one who approached her with the idea of transitioning to Sola. “He knows I love Tysons Corner,” Michelle says, referring to the massive Fairfax County mall she frequented most mornings before heading to her previous gig.
When Michelle glimpsed the new Sola Salon coming to Tysons Corner, she knew it was a good fit for her upscale clientele. “I call my clients genie gems because they’re precious to me,” Michelle says.
Her “gems” didn’t hesitate to follow her — after all, they’d come to depend on Michelle’s high-quality services and unique – time conscientious – approach to extensions.
“Everyone does extensions, but I have a system I invented,” Michelle explains. She calls it the HairGenie Quick Weave System, and it was instituted and perfected years ago — “Back when my husband would come to the old salon,” says Michelle. Her right-hand man noticed Michelle’s guests spent a very long time sitting, waiting to have their weaves sewn in track-by-track.
“With my system,” Michelle elaborates, “there are a few tracks per unit, and that cuts down on the time it takes to thread.” Michelle estimates her weaves are completed in half the time it takes to do extensions the traditional way.
Another point of distinction is Michelle’s focus on hair care. “All of my clients have healthy hair,” the stylist says. In fact, her genie system even promotes natural hair growth. “It’s less timing, less threading, and also less tension on your edges,” says Michelle.
She’s never been afraid to innovate, and Michelle is the first stylist in the D.C. metropolitan area to be certified in shrink link extensions, a durable method utilizing small, transparent tubes made from a hi-tech polymer.
When Michelle opened her salon at Sola, she thought one studio would be plenty. “But with all of the clients I have, I needed two studios,” she says. Now, the big studio is where Michelle preps her guests. “Then they come into my smaller studio, and get one-on-one time,” she adds.
Michelle’s bottom line definitely got a boost when she moved to Sola. “The revenue is good, and I see more of it,” the stylist says. Having had the experience of running a large salon with a slew of employees, Michelle appreciates the fact that there’s less overhead and headache at Sola. “I no longer have to deal with electric, water, cable,” Michelle explains. Hassle-free entrepreneurship has helped Michelle find the extra time needed to launch a second business — selling her own brand of hair that can be used in-studio, in her weaves.
The money’s good, and so is the atmosphere. “It’s upscale,” says Michelle, “But still highly customizable.” Working within a “street of salons” jives with the genie. “To me,” Michelle adds, “Sola is like the Rodeo Drive for salons.”