Though many businesses in Austin are suffering, hair salons are still thriving with some shops pulling in more than 100 customers a week.
“People get their hair done when they don’t have money because they want other people to think they have money,” said Keva Barnes, owner of Hair-Biz salon, 5307 W. Chicago Ave.
Hair-Biz hasn’t lost more than “maybe one or two” customers over the past several years. Barnes said most of the time, she’s so overwhelmed with appointments that she can’t accept them all.
Erik Hurst, an economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said how much consumers spend depends on the level of demand and the recession does not affect all spending.
“We still eat dinner every night,” he said. “Some spending is much more responsive than others.”
There is, however, one exception: Business at salons that don’t offer hair weaving is down.
Joann Washington, owner of Bell’s Hair Studio located at 5222 W. North Ave., said she’s noticed a drop in sales and blames it on her decision not to do weaves.
“I feel it does more damage (to the hair) than good,” she said.
While many businesses compete heavily and raise their prices to get ahead, some Austin salon owners say they don’t see the point. Even those that aren’t doing so well.
Tony Scott, owner of Shear Imagination, 5957 W. Madison St., says the quality of his work brings in customers and keeps them coming back, regardless of the recession.
“We don’t lower the prices at all,” he said. “We just keep it going. It’ll pick up.”