The company name “Ooh La La & Friends” has undertones of beautiful women putting on a show…well, that’s not too far off the mark! Early in 2012 Amanda Carmickle and Cheri McCurdy had a desire to open an eclectic home décor store that would have diversified offerings for retail as well as classes and supplies for the home decorating do-it-yourselfer. This wasn’t a “spur of the moment” idea. For ten years, Amanda had wanted to combine her skills as a hairdresser with her love of home décor and open a store and full service salon. Fully aware of the current economic cycle and the marketing difficulties associated with a retail operation, they were a little concerned and rightly so.
The Uintah Basin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offered help with financial projections and business planning which included marketing and market analysis. Things began to gel. The home décor store’s target market would be women of moderate income and where do those women go regularly? To the hair salon. It was a very good fit. Amanda had been a hair stylist for 6 years. Cheri had expertise and experience in accounting and business. Amanda and Cheri soon firmly decided that by devoting some of their floor space to booth rental for a hair salon and spa that the hair stylists would bring their target market into the store. The hair stylists were excited to be part of it because they knew the home décor offerings would bring in their target market. It helps that visitors are personally greeted and offered refreshments as they walk in the door. Other amenities include friendly stylists, cozy surroundings and warm towels.
“The simple synergy of this concept sets Ooh La La apart from other salons in the area” says Mark Holmes, Director of the Uintah Basin SBDC. “I’m also impressed by the amount of sales in the supplies area. This has become an important part of the operation. The response to their Chalk Paint® is amazing.” As women wait for their stylist, they see the extra-ordinary décor. In true Utah Pioneer spirit, when they find out they can take classes and buy supplies to make their own creations, they dive right in.
And so the show goes on. The one year mark is a difficult milestone for most businesses during good times. Achieving that goal as the region slowly emerges from the great recession is truly an admirable feat. The Utah Small Business Development Center Network congratulates these beautiful women on their anniversary and we hope their show goes on for a long time to come.