“For our clients, it’s not just about getting your hair done. It’s about loving the experience.”
You might say Shenanigans Hair Studio was the answer to a single question. It was 1993 and Jody Asmer was over it. “I was managing a salon in a Gwinnett department store. The owners were good to me, I loved my clients, I had a great staff, but I just couldn’t live with what they wanted me to offer customers.” The tipping point? $8 perms and haircuts. Enough said.
It was Jody’s husband Rick who posed the life-changing question. Why don’t you do this yourself? Why not do it your way? And in that moment, Shenanigans went from a dream in Jody’s head to a reality… and a new salon opened near Gwinnett Place mall.
To be sure, Jody’s business plan for Shenanigans met every entrepreneurial lesson ever taught in business school. Do what you know. Put the customer first. Be unique in the marketplace. But mostly, her plan for Shenanigans met her own litmus test: Do what you love.
“I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to make friends and make them look pretty,” recalls Jody.
That might sound simplistic to the B-school crowd, but you can’t argue with this type of success. Shenanigans will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year, serving a strong and loyal client base that seems more like friends and family than customers.
“I have a lot of folks who’ve been with me for the entire 25 years. I do their hair, their grown kid’s hair and their grandchildren’s hair,” she says.
Many of her stylists-Shenanigans sisters as they call themselves-have also been together “almost forever.” Two left the department store salon with Jody to start the business, a couple more, including her daughter-in-law, have 15+ years tenure. The bond among everyone who works at Shenanigans is tight. An annual company trip, holiday gatherings, salon customer events and on-going training forge a warm and collaborative culture that customers also feel.
“I never really wanted a big salon,” Jody says. “We grew because people wanted to be a part of it – both stylists and clients.”
Over the years, that meant adding new services-skin care, nails, tanning, massages and a boutique-but most importantly, staying current on trends, technique and styles in hair care. “The salon is always evolving, we’re always learning, and that’s exciting for us all.”
Shenanigans is now located in Buford Village, its third location. “We moved as the community and our client base has grown.”
Of course, there have been challenges. The recession in 2008 was a tough time, for clients and for the salon. “People were very loyal,” Jody says, “and I don’t forget that.” She hasn’t raised prices on basic services since before 2008 and has no plans to.
To celebrate their anniversary, Shenanigans will offer a rolling calendar of discounts honoring teachers, nurses, veterans, mothers, fathers, and even first timers. There’s a category for everyone. Customers will save 25% in “their month” and that amount will be donated to local charities. “It’s a way to say thank you,” says Jody.
It’ll be a busy year for the Shenanigans family with no plans for slowing down. “I still have a passion for it,” concludes Jody.