Norman hair salon, retail shop creates personal experience
Originally published at OU Daily Dec. 3 2017
On a Monday morning in a vibrant, little shop on Main Street, Erica Smith brings Dana Scott her daily iced coffee in an eco-friendly cup from Gray Owl. Smith sips her coffee, half her hair in a messy topknot, getting ready for a day of work with Scott and their employees.
Scott and Smith run The Social Club, a hair salon and retail shop, combined into one customer experience. The Social Club opened in 2012 when Scott and Smith, who became friends while studying at OU, decided to pursue their dreams of living creatively and purposefully by opening a shop and salon together.
The Social Club was born in a small space off Crawford Avenue in January 2012. Within the open windows of the space, Scott decided to broaden the store’s merchandise from only her own jewelry to retail with candles, cards and small knick-knacks. The duo started selling at Norman’s Art Walk and their business began to take off, bringing more clients to the salon and creating a steady customer base.
From the beginning, the space was personal to them, and they hoped to create a personal experience for each individual customer.
“One of our core values is to make whoever you are, as a person, feel comfortable being yourself. We want everyone to feel like they themselves are worthy and seen,” Scott said.
After a year on Crawford Avenue, the pair decided to make the move to Main Street when a bigger space became available.
Previously, Scott had been unsuccessfully working from home, trying to get her jewelry business off the ground. Smith had been working at a hair salon in Norman, but she dreamt of her own, one-chair salon with a more personal experience for her customers.
With a push from some mutual friends, the two decided to try to find a small space where Smith could run her own shop, and Scott could have an office where she could sell some of her jewelry.
Scott has always had a deep love of secondhand shopping — she describes it as her retail therapy. She realized her home could no longer contain all of the vintage houseware and clothing she loved to shop for, leading her to shop for specific, unique items to sell at The Social Club.
Scott buys all of The Social Club’s inventory herself, from vintage houseware and clothing to handmade pieces from both local and out-of-state artists and designers. Additionally, The Social Club designs glassware and cards, makes its own prints and pours its own candles.
When shopping for the store, Scott said she envisions the customers in her head, hoping that they will come into the store and find the hand-selected items encouraging to their lives and homes.
“I hope that somebody will come in (and) find this item encouraging or bring them joy in their kitchen or on their bar,” Scott said.
For Scott, the most important aspect of buying merchandise is to value the artist as an individual. She requires that all the store’s staff should be able to explain to customers where every item is from, who created it and the artist's story. She believes that if customers know the story of an item and the value of the creator, it makes the item more special.
One local designer that Scott sells at The Social Club is Kathryn Wakefield, owner of her own handmade houseware business, Confetti Riot. Wakefield also serves as The Social Club’s storefront manager.
Wakefield, who is originally from Norman, met Scott in 2013. The two bonded over each other's designs, and Wakefield became storefront manager in 2015.
“It’s the people I work with that makes it so great. It’s such a cool environment to work in. They have something very unique, especially for Oklahoma,” Wakefield said.
While Scott’s niche is the shop aspect of The Social Club, Smith’s is the salon. Smith has been doing hair for 11 years and views her salon as an art platform.
She became inspired by her hairstylist when she was growing up because of her independence and the embodiment of her own unique personhood.
Smith is passionate about bringing good education to the hair community in Oklahoma. She brings in educators from Los Angeles and New York to speak with her stylists in order for them to constantly stay at the top of the ever-evolving business and trends.
Her vision for the salon was to create a place where people felt safe and experienced a closeness with their personal stylist. Smith said she wants the customer to sit down in the chair and feel cared about.
Whether the customer is shopping for a handmade holiday gift or looking for a stylish new haircut, the duo hope to offer a unique and cherished place for locals to visit.
“It’s a safe place for a lot of people to come to,” Smith said. ”(They) can come and feel happy, safe, cool and sexy.”