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Meet Terry and Sara Chamberlin of Split Ends Hair Studio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Terry and Sara Chamberlin.

Terry and Sara, please share your story with us.
This past June, our mother-daughter team celebrated it’s ninth anniversary as owners of Split Ends Hair Studio in South Oceanside.

This is not the first business venture for us, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit so when Sara was getting ready to finish college, I asked her what she wanted to do. We decided to open a coffee shop together.

We owned and operated the Solana Beach Coffee Company for seven years. After seven years, our lives were moving forward, especially Sara’s. She got married, had kids not to mention, running the coffee shop was hard work 365 days a year. The last two years of us owning the coffee shop, Sara was going to cosmetology school because she’s always wanted to be a hair stylist.

We sold the business and I went into semi-retirement, going to work for someone I had worked for previously, while Sara continued to do hair.

The entrepreneurial spirit wouldn’t go away for either of us, when you have been your own boss for a while, it’s hard to go back and work for someone else.

After about nine months, we decided we had enough of working for other people and thought opening a hair studio would be a nice new direction to go. Sara did all the work. She found the place and she had two friends from high school who worked at the same salon she did. They were unhappy where they were and decided to join us.

We opened the salon in 2008 at our current location, 607 Vista Way, with three stylists and five chairs. We grew from there adding a stylist just about every year and we even added a chair. We wanted to keep it small, family driven.

There are two types of salons, a booth rent and a commission salon. We didn’t want to be either. Sara wanted to be a hybrid of the two. We are a booth rent salon meaning all the girls work for themselves but we also work as a team. We have a receptionist. Most booth rent salons don’t. You do everything yourself.  We have grown so much through Yelp and social media, we needed some to take calls, make appointments and get new business so the stylists benefit from not having to do all of that.

Split Ends doesn’t use a computer system for keeping track of appointments. We like to keep it “old school”. We use an appointment book and we personally call to confirm appointments. No texts or emails. We like to keep it traditional and personal.

Continuity is a big factor in our success, One stylist has been here for eight years, a couple others have been here for five. We are loyal to each other which is really good.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Although we had experience running a business together, venturing into the hair salon industry was very new to both of us. We started small, with 3 stylists and grew about 1 stylist each year until we reached our capacity of 6 stylists. Along the way we have had trouble hiring a stylist who worked well with the other team members, and of course a revolving door as far as receptionists goes. The longest we have ever had a receptionist is about 1 1/2 years.

Growing the business was also a struggle because in 2008 the only way to get the word out was newspaper advertising, which was expensive and didn’t provide us with the results we wanted.

Once Yelp came onto the scene, however, we grew extremely fast because we received top marks from our customers.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Split Ends Hair Studio – what should we know?
Split Ends does hair…exclusively. You won’t see tanning, waxing or facials in our salon. Or nails. However, Split Ends doesn’t just cater to women. We do men’s hair, kids, perms, updos. We do whole families.

A side benefit of having your hair done at Split Ends is their cookies. I’m actually a bakeaholic. If I don’t bake every two or three days, I start to get jumpy. I bake 300 hundred cookies every Wednesday, four or five different kinds, and our client’s husbands know this. They don’t mind coming here with their wives. They come in, have a cup of coffee, work on their laptops and have some cookies.

My cookies are so popular and the demand was so great for my recipes that I had to start a cookie blog which can be found on our website;

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The teamwork between us makes it all work. We each have our strong suit… I handle marketing, networking, social media and of course, the baking. Sara, on the other hand, is the industry expert and is tasked with building a team of stylists who work together and have a similar business perspective, and selecting our retail products. Sara manages the salon on a daily basis while I come in only a few days a week.

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1 Comment

  1. Ruth

    October 20, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    I love going to Sara to have my hair done … she is fantastic! I’ve only met Terri a time or two, and she is delightful. The shop is decorated for every holiday, and the artwork is truly divine, as well.

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