A Place close to her heart
IT'S The Place that Kiralee Cramer Honor has known all her adult life after buying the Bourbong St salon as a teenager determined to own her own business.
Kiralee took over the salon, worked six days a week, built up her client base and ran The Place as a one-woman show for many years.
But a decade of hard work, a rotating staff of eight, a husband, a home and two kids later, she says she wouldn't change a thing as her salon celebrates its tenth anniversary this week.
"For the first two years (when I started) I was here on my own. I had no staff," Kiralee said.
"And each year we just got busier. But I was really excited about it. To tell you the truth, I loved working for myself.
"I always wanted my own business, so it was always going to happen and I really enjoyed it."
Kiralee said she knew from the start she wanted her salon to be more than a haircut or colour.
"I had worked for someone and I wanted to open up a boutique salon that more concentrated on the customers experience in the salon," she said.
"That's why we do head and hand massages and pampering; they have wine and things like that."
Kiralee said that important element of her salon came from her own experience at others.
"I'm a person that enjoys that. I love massages and things like that," she said.
"And people these days want to have an experience. It's not just about getting their hair done. It's all about the service on top of the hair. That has to be good."
Kiralee felt it was the added element that gave her salon an edge on its competitors.
"(And clients came from) word of mouth, even to this day, it's all word of mouth," she said.
"I always think if you do a great job, people will talk about it."
She said follow-up phones calls were another important element of her salon.
"When a client's in, we do a courtesy call the following week to see how their hair is.
"And that always gives you the opportunity to see if there is something they're not happy about and you can always fix the situation before you lose them."
That's because, Kiralee says, she is not only in business of hair but also the business of people.
"Small business is really hard. It's a lot of hard work and it's a lot of long hours," she said.
"And you're really dependent on your clientele, you're dependent on people supporting you and being loyal and staying with you.
"You've got to make sure you always give amazing service to keep them coming back to you."
But Kiralee said that wasn't something she'd had to worry about with some clients on her books for more than a decade.
"I've actually got clients I've had since I did my apprenticeship."