A one-of-a-kind business that serves individuals of every kind. That’s Hello Hair Collective, a nontraditional hair salon in St. Paul, Minnesota, owned and operated by two industry veterans, Goodie Audette and Natalie Hansen. Hello Hair is rooted in creating an environment that is inclusive, welcoming, eco-conscious and transparent for clients of all sizes, colors and genders. It’s a business model that caught the eye of Bremer Bank two years ago.
For founders Goodie and Natalie, Hello Hair was developed from a combination of their experiences, their passions and a shared vision to build a salon like no other. “We both came from traditional industry stylist roles and worked for larger companies, but we actually met at a CrossFit gym,” Goodie said. “We started working out together, going for coffee and growing our friendship. Eventually, we started working for ourselves, testing new concepts and building confidence in our ultimate business model.”
Like banking, the salon business is all about personal relationships. So it’s no surprise that Hello Hair was referred to Brandi Nelson, director of SBA lending, by a Bremer employee who was also a client of Goodie and Natalie. “They’re two hard-working women with a drive to create a successful business,” Brandi said. “They’re good people who are good at what they do. They care about the environment and their customers. It’s really rewarding to support a business with these values.”
Bremer banker Kimberly Magnuson echoed Brandi’s take on Hello Hair. “They’re focused on more than just haircuts,” Kimberly said. “They’re offering an experience. They care about helping people. Giving them confidence and, above all, helping all people express their individuality.”
“We gravitate to our individual strengths,” Natalie said. “I lean to the banking and tech side because of my former role, whereas Goodie was an independent. She doesn’t want to spend time on a computer and prefers being with people.”
So, what exactly does that look like at Hello Hair? For starters, they buck industry standards by offering 24/7 online booking for all services. There’s no front desk at the salon. Plus, they emphasize total transparency, booking their services by time with hourly pricing, so customers know just how long a service will take and how much it costs. Hello Hair is also a Certified Green Circle Salon, which means they recycle 95% of their salon waste. Even the furniture is different, with chairs to fit clients of all sizes and shapes.
“We flipped the script,” Natalie said. “We tried something new with different expectations that was technology driven. We wanted something more and saw potential for what our industry could be. It’s great to see it all come together. People see it. They feel it.”
And it’s those people who’ve helped Hello Hair grow and succeed. “You can’t be a company without a team. And that includes our bankers,” Goodie said. “We’ve already recommended Bremer to others twice!”
By foregoing industry norms, Hello Hair is looking to create a future all its own. “I would love Hello Hair to be an anchor in the community – a place other stylists come for education and inspiration,” Natalie said. “We’d like to employ a handful of stylists from different backgrounds who can work in one space that’s a good fit for all.”
Both Goodie and Natalie agree that having a banking partner they can trust has helped them realize their vision of opening a salon and grow for the future. “Go with Bremer,” Goodie said with a chuckle. “They cared about us personally and professionally, our business, and why we wanted to do it. Look for the banker who sees you, who understands what you’re about and what you’re aiming to do. We all rise together.”