Avoir Salon and Color Bar, owned by Sharlene Wiggins, is now open in downtown Albany. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — Downtown Albany has another new business and little extra flair now that Avoir Hair Salon and Color Bar has opened its doors on Washington Street.
Sharlene Wiggins, who co-owns the business with her husband, Semario, said that after working as a stylist in the downtown area at Infinity Salon, it was time to create her own vision.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to open my own salon,” said Wiggins. “I wanted an opportunity to bring across my vision, something with a fresh and modern feel.”
As part of the modern feel she hopes to present with the salon, she said she really wants to stay on top of the latest trends to make sure she can offer her clients the best possible salon experience.
“I want to stay on the cutting edge of the industry, stay abreast of what’s going on,” Wiggins said. “One of my main goals is to offer my clients a new salon experience.”
Part of offering a new experience, Wiggins said, was the decision to open a color bar in the salon to open the door to different clients who might want to try the salon experience from a different angle.
“I decided to open the color bar to create a niche market,” said Wiggins. “That might attract a different market.”
In addition to having a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Albany State University, Wiggins also recently earned her cosmetology instructor’s certificate from Albany Technical College and wants the new salon to be place where young cosmetologists can learn and gain on the job experience, something she felt she would have liked to have more of when she was learning the business.
“I’m all for growth,” Wiggins said. “I want to show them everything I know. There’s only so many clients I can see in a day, so I try to help the young people, give them things no one told me; all the things I had to learn the hard way over the years. It really just helps everybody out.”
In addition to Wiggins, Avoir currently features three other stylists and Wiggins hopes to bring in more down the road when she installs another booth. She also wants to add a makeup counter and makeup artist to create a complete experience for her clients.
In bringing her vision to life, one thing Wiggins knew from the start was that she wanted to open the business in downtown Albany.
“I like being in downtown,” Wiggins said. “There’s just something about working downtown; being in the middle of all of it.”
One decision that Wiggins did struggle with though was whether or not to hire a barber and try to attract a male clients. While she’s quick to point out that anyone is welcome, she has tried to design the salon with the concept of catering to a female clientele.
“I made it just a spot for the girls,” said Wiggins. “I like it with just the girls. A lot of women, especially the older women, don’t want guys to see them getting their hair done. I wanted to make it comfortable for them.”
Avoir officially opened March 1 and is located at 317 N. Washington St.