Allie Miller is co-owner of Washington Square Studio, an Athens salon that recently opened its doors downtown.
Before managing Model Citizen Salon, Allie was a hair stylist, and she’s teamed up with former Model Citizen co-owner Shayne McBride to give the town a new tag-team salon experience, one in which Allie cuts and Shayne colors.
Setting Up Shop
For the last several months, Allie has been focused on getting the salon space ready for action. Between painting walls, meeting with photographers, and working on the website—and after four years in the business of running a salon—she’s ready to get back to cutting hair.
Allie was born to professors in Athens, and after moving to Austin, hiking the Appalachian Trail, and living in New York, she had no intention of settling back in her hometown. But when she visited, she saw a community in which she could thrive:
The help-each-other-out relationships I witnessed and established are a big part of why I fell back in love with Athens and decided to make it my home.
Allie knows that starting over takes hard work and patience. But what you do and what you have a passion for is often different, and she thinks it’s worth the struggle to try something new. With her new studio, Allie is creating a salon experience that’s more intimate, and hands-on at a smaller scale.
Creating Events, Creating Connections
Allie loves planning events, and she’s detail-oriented, making her an accomplished organizer. She’s driven by the idea of bringing people together that might not otherwise meet. She and Shayne started focusing on organizing events at Model Citizen, and they’re continuing to connect with the community through new initiatives with Washington Square. Their parties both help nonprofits and unify locals with the Athens Fashion Collective.
Event planning has enable Allie to build a lot of great relationships, and she wants her customers to benefit from the connectedness she’s enjoyed. As she gets to know her clients, she introduces them to anyone in the community that they should meet.
Have Your Cards Ready
Allie’s passionate about local food, music, and arts, so she attends events that interest her and seeks out like-minded people from there. Nine out of ten times she talks to someone with whom she has someone else in common, so just showing up helps her to build new relationships.
Because most casual conversations do come around to work, Allie keeps her cards on her, even if she’s not out to pass them around.
“I don’t ever suggest someone try me if he or she is happy elsewhere, but sometimes people want a change for a variety of reasons, and want to try something new. Sometimes they know of someone who might be interested. So maybe they’ll think of me someday.”
As a stylist, listening is huge to Allie’s career, and an important part of her skill set. She listens to what people like and what people need, and through those meaningful connections, she is rebuilding her clientele one person at a time.