Amoy Pitters, a long time New York-based celebrity hairstylist, is one of a handful of highly regarded hairstylists among the African American community that is truly worth her weight in gold. Globally, the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨meÂ of hairstylists frequently emerge as a European male—or, for that matter, male in general. Pitters stands strong as the African American, female salon owner “to the stars.” Amoy Couture Hair is a serious reflection of herself—a woman who is all about the business.
Chosen as one of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 small businesses in 2015, Pitters’ Amoy Couture Hair was the only hair salon among a total of 23 businesses chosen to participate in an eight month course, which afforded the opportunity to learn how to take one’s business to the next level in a major way.
Pitters thrives on both professionalism and flying under the radar, and maintains her solid reputation in a growing industry where so many have remained mediocre or failed. She works hard and continues to dream big, aiming to one day handle the tresses of First Lady Michelle Obama or media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Â We’ve uncovered what makes Amoy Couture Hair tick, and ultimately what keeps it as one of the top African American-owned salons in New York City. A combination of not only sound business practices, but diversity and innovation come into play.
As far as sound business practices go, Pitters shares, “I’ve worked for other salons—but smaller salons—when I first started. Then I moved on to freelancing. Then I kind of started my own thing and expanded my salon to where I now have five to six employees. Now it’s a different ball game. I have to choose my battles. Do I want to travel all over the world and freelance? I have to choose, because the minute you leave, they (employees) feel like they can do whatever they want and you’re missing out. It’s that double-edged sword; you have to give something up. [I could] work for all these years or work to build my brand and a salon—I chose to go with a salon. Â You know, after you get to a certain age, you don’t want to chase that check.”
Pitters advice to other salon owners and stylists who wish to follow in her footsteps:
- Work hard and push yourself.
- Make sure the business end of your company is handled really well and very carefully (i.e. taxes, payroll, etc.).
- Never give up on your dream.
Diversity is present in every aspect of her business. “I have very diverse stylists and the clientele,” she says. Clients can expect to see Jewish women, a Latina women, and so on at Amoy Couture Hair.
What may be more difficult to spot is one of the many celebs or socialites rumored to have their tresses coiffed at Pitters’ salon. “I’ve been doing Joan Smalls (the model) for 10 years in the salon. Mariah Carey, for instance, will never come to the salon. I have to go to her and travel to wherever she is. So, that’s the difference when you have a celebrity that’s just starting out versus when you meet one that’s already made it. Joan doesn’t mind coming in the salon, Naomi (Campbell) loves coming to the salon, but there’s a few that will never come. They have their salons at home.”
Trending right now at Amoy Couture Hair are extensions and color. Pitters elaborates, “Extensions—everybody wants extensions, whether it’s full-sewn extensions or a few pieces of clip-ons. Everybody wants color—a fancy color or a biolage line. Everybody wants fabulous hair. Back in the day, it was a best kept secret, and now it’s the ultimate accessory. It gives you status—like, ‘I got my hair done at Amoy Couture Hair!’ Everybody knows you’re not paying two dollars to come here and your color; you have your color done by ‘xyz.’ It’s status.”Â The biggest bonus? Pitters tests all styles and products on herself.
Upcoming entrepreneurial plans include a line of hair extensions that will carry the Amoy Couture Hair name and an app; a user-friendly, service oriented app that will allow present and potential clients to purchase extensions and make appointments. To be a major player in almost any field today, the use of technology is key. Clearly, the hair care industry is no exception. Pitters’ fresh take on servicing clients through the newly created app is destined for success. Already approved by Apple, the app will allow a target demographic of customers ages 18 -65 to preview what they would look like with various hairstyles.
“If a woman is investing in quality hair, I want her to be able to see what she would look like with the style and color before she makes this investment,” says Pitters. Â Eventually the brick-and-mortar location will go global, allowing Pitters to refer clients to other locations. Â If they cannot make it to New York, think London or Paris as an alternative. Pitters states, “I want to make money while I’m sleeping.”
Look for Amoy Pitters’ Amoy Couture Hair app to launch late summer/early fall 2016. For more info visit www.amoycouturehair.com
All photos courtesy of Amoy Couture Hair & Amoy Couture Hair Instagram