Rachel Eggie-Gibbs wants to change the hair industry. Her plan: mentoring the next generation of stylists.
She’ll do so from her new salon Eggie Salon Studio, which opened on Goodwood Boulevard in November. Inside, she’s assembled a team she hopes to shape into industry leaders.
With employees as young as 19, Gibbs hires for personality and passion rather than experience. Her coaching goes beyond coloring techniques. It’s about marketing, running a business and facing conflict in the workplace. It’s about what to say to a coworker when they forget to clean a mixing bowl. It’s about taking pictures of your work for social media.
Most importantly, Gibbs is teaching her employees to break down the barriers many stylists worry about when considering hair as a long-term career.
“I’m teaching them how to hit goals and raise their prices. Why can’t this be like any other industry, where you have the potential for growth, promotions and moving up?” she asks. “You can only do so much with your hands, and once stylists hit a certain level, they can feel stagnant.”
The 29-year-old has been working toward hitting her own goal of opening a salon for more than half her life. She grew up watching her grandmother, who was a leader in the hair industry and worked closely with names like Sam Brocato and Rigsby Frederick.
By age 14, becoming a hairstylist was Gibbs’ dream. As a student at St. Joseph’s Academy, she would style classmates’ hair for prom. In college, she cut her friends’ hair.
After graduating from LSU with a marketing degree, she moved to Texas to train at the Aveda Institute of Houston. Her first job at Therapy Hair Studio, a high-end salon in uptown Houston, left her forever enamored with salons. She loved the salon’s energy and how the room vibrated with chatter. It was the best kind of chaos. It planted a picture she couldn’t get out of her head: running her own salon in her hometown.
So she moved back to Baton Rouge, and in 2016 launched her hair styling business, House of Eggie. She started small, renting out chairs from salon owners. Her goal was to open her own salon within five years.
In 2019, she began designing Eggie Salon Studio. She worked with interior design firm Tiek + Co., architecture design firm By Day and B & G Construction to build a space that feels like nothing else in town. With Italian black and white marble floors, a brass accent wall and arched entryways, the completed interior looks plucked from Architectural Digest.
Gibbs wanted the salon to be a social environment. The color bar is front and center to create a flurry of activity and excitement that energizes the rest of the space. Large-screen TVs and iPads throughout are loaded with tutorial videos, so customers can learn how to properly use a curling iron or apply styling products. Because it turns out that she doesn’t just want to teach her staff—she wants to educate and inspire her clients to take pride in their hair, too.
“When I ask my team ‘What’s your why,’ they always say the same thing: We have a gift to make someone feel their absolute best,” she says. “When clients leave the salon, we want them to feel they can conquer the world because they look awesome.” eggiesalonstudio.com
This article was originally published in the January 2021 issue of 225 Magazine.