Imagine being pampered from head to toe and having that luxury brought directly to you! Chop Chop Mobile Salon & Barber brings both beauty and barber services directly to their diverse clientele. Owner, Kesia King, sat down and answered a few questions about this successful, Chicago-based business.
How long have you been in business?
How did your business come about?
Two months before I was due for maternity leave at my full-time corporate job, I was told my position with the Fortune 500 company was being eliminated. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to re-apply for a newly created position right before I left for maternity leave. I was hired for the new role, but it definitely left me feeling some type of way.
When I was on maternity I just kept thinking about how I wasn’t in control of my own destiny and at any point, without any warning I could be out of a job with no plan B. I decided that while on leave I would start a business. I had started one before, a marketing consulting company, but I wanted to do something I was more passionate about. I have always done hair for myself, family and friends and wanted to some day own a salon but I wanted to make it special, something different from the norm – a mobile salon.
I identified a problem as a full-time employee. As an employee, wife and mother my time is extremely valuable. I found myself struggling to keep regular hair and nail appointments due to my busy lifestyle, between pickup and drop off of the kids, spending 8-9 hours at work and then the kid’s after school and weekend activities. I noticed a lot of the other employees also struggled to maintain grooming and they were either rushing out on lunch breaks to try to find a salon or would take days off of work or leave early just to fit a hair or nail appointment in.
This is a problem for both the companies and the employees. Companies are looking at productivity issues when employees leave work early or miss days while employees suffer from work/life balance. The mobile salon was created to provide employees with an employee benefit that made grooming and self-care convenient.
The mobile salon can be onsite 2 weeks per month on a corporate campus. Employees can go on CHOP CHOP’s website and schedule an appointment for 30, 45 or 60 minutes. They receive a text message and email notification letting them know when it’s time to come down to the salon trailer, so that there are no wait times and the employees remain productive at work while taking care of their personal needs.
What makes your business stand out?
Chicago was rated the #1 most segregated city in the U.S. Brick and mortar salons tend to only service those in the surrounding area which means they’re typically all white or all minority. Salon and barbershops are a place where people feel comfortable exchanging thoughts, ideas and personal situations and I thought by making the salon mobile we could create a platform for multicultural connection and exchange.
Our business stands out because as a unisex, multi-cultural salon, you can find a white and black woman aboard at the same time, as well as a Hispanic and Asian man. We also service locations like hotels, corporations and event venues, where there’s more opportunity for people of different ethnic backgrounds to come together and learn about each other in an authentic way, while having their beauty and grooming needs taken care of.
How do you show your customers/clients that they are number one?
Everything we do, every decision that is made is with the client in mind. There’s nothing more important to me than a satisfied client. We work with people that deal with high levels of stress either on a consistent basis or due to the nature of the event. For example, we surprised our first bride with the salon trailer. We were originally supposed to perform the services in her hotel room but she didn’t have a suite so it would’ve been cramped with all the bridesmaids. Although the salon trailer is a more expensive service we made the decision to surprise her with it and provide the space she and her bridesmaids needed.
We had the refrigerator stocked with bubbly and orange juice for mimosas, we brought bagels and cream cheese and light snacks. We knew that her wedding day would probably cause some level of stress and we wanted to remove it and focus on celebrating her big day. For every event (where adults are 21 and over) we bring a couple bottles of champagne to celebrate the occasion and provide our clients with celebrity like treatment at an affordable price.
Which other small businesses do you support? We’d love to support them also!
What do you love most about your business?
I love the fact I get to be around people. I love the fact that I get to get people excited about looking at themselves in the mirror. I love seeing how people appreciate and enjoy a glimpse of “me time.” I love that I get to watch people transform and come out of the chair with an extra pep in their step.
I love that my business is organically grown – I borrowed money from myself. I wrote a business plan that I pitched and won money for as a result of pure hard work and dedication. I had friends, family and strangers give their own hard earned money to support a dream that in that moment wasn’t even tangible but just a thought!
I love that my business brings people together. I love that I work among women that have hustled just like me to run their own small business as stylists, makeup artists and nail technicians and that we can all work together doing what we love.
I love that my business is perfectly imperfect.
What do you do in your spare time?
Ha! What spare time?!?! Well, my family definitely wouldn’t be considered my “spare time” but I am a wife and mother of two. I have a 3 year-old daughter and 9 year-old son. I also still work full-time as a Marketing Manager, managing the deployment of the company’s private label brand strategies. I’m a big sister in the Big Brother Big Sister Program, an avid reader, I love to go out and dance and I like to write and perform spoken word, which I wish I could find time to do more of.
What is the best way for potential customers/clients to connect with you?
If you want to see pictures from our events, motivational and inspirational quotes and see a candid portrayal of the startup life follow me on Instagram, my handle is CHOPCHOPMOBILE.
We’re also on FB & Twitter: CHOPCHOPMOBILE.
If you’d like to book a party, have us onsite for a company event, in need of beauty services for your wedding day or want to apply for a job, visit our website: www.chopchopmobile.com.
Know of a small business in the Chicago area who should be featured? Please send us their information at: firstname.lastname@example.org!