Today we’d like to introduce you to Jess Belfry.
Jess, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit as long as I can remember. That spirit was further developed during my tenure at AG Hair, a family-owned, professional haircare manufacturer based out of Vancouver, Canada.
Working for a family-owned company, I was able to see first hand the amount of dedication it takes to stay true to your values, to appreciate your team helping you to reach your goals, and the importance of giving back both to the local community that supports you and also to a greater, global reach.
AG Hair was an incredible company to work for, however, the amount of travel needed to reach the goals that I had set for myself was not feasible while trying to raise a family. At the time, my husband had started his own business and there came a time that we realized his business could not grow to it’s fullest potential with me on the road all the time.
With my family’s support, I decided to open a beauty routine retail store. My goal was to use all of the knowledge I had gained with my year’s in the professional beauty industry and bring that to the consumer. I focused on helping consumers find the right hair care and skincare routine and taught them how to use the product properly to get the best result.
After about 8 months of owning that store, I began working towards an online retail store and expanding our wedding business under the name The Lily Collective. Around this same time, the owners of a blowout bar approached me to purchase their business. I knew that it was the next natural step in growing my reach, so I purchased the business and did a rebranding to what is now known as Hustle & Blow Dry Bar.
Hustle & Blow Dry Bar and The Lily Collective are our future focuses. Hustle focuses on blowout bar services with a full botanically-blended lifestyle retail store. While The Lily Collective focuses on the wedding business including hair, makeup, photography, and planning, along with a full retail store online so that the brides and bachelorette parties that visit the Savannah area and fall in love with our products have a place to purchase them once they get back home.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
This journey is definitely not for the faint of heart! As much as you can plan and anticipate based on past experience, there are always obstacles and challenges that arise…. almost daily! When I first began the beauty routine retail store, I am pretty sure that every time I tried to explain what the business was, people looked at me with a glassed-over expression. Why would they shop with me when they could go and get the same product at a big-box store?
But, staying persistent in my messaging and showing people my passion for ingredients and confidently being able to explain why their current beauty routine was falling short of their expectations, I gained followers.
As a mother of 2 boys, one a senior in high-school, the other in 4th grade, the work-family balance is another constant challenge. When I decided to stop traveling, I made a promise to my family that I would not miss another performance, sporting event, or birthday. People always tell you that the time with your kids goes by so fast, but it’s really not until you reflect on the past that you realize how right they are!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hustle & Blow Dry Bar – what should we know?
Hustle and Blow Dry Bar is a blowout bar offering hair styling services, make-up application, waxing, and facials. We specialize in being product experts. An amazing stylist is only as good as the product he/she uses. All of the products we use are botanically blended, meaning they use up to 100% naturally sourced ingredients that are free of gluten, parabens, & PABA, and are PETA-Approved. We support professional hair care, skincare and cosmetic brands that are family or stylist owned and manufacture in-house.
In addition to the services we offer, we provide How-To Classes. We do this as one-on-one instruction or as a fun Girls’ Night Out. We have had classes in the past teaching our clients how to rock a better ponytail, how to pull off the latest braid styles, and even how to contour based on your face shape. During the class, you are provided with all of the tools and products that you need. This gives you a great opportunity to try out new products without having to make the commitment to purchase them first.
Our Try Me Bar is also very popular. Every lotion, skincare product, and hair care product that we carry is available as at the Try Me Bar.
I am most proud of the amazing connections that we have made within the community. We are asked to collaborate on projects with some of the most talented photographers and bloggers in the area. This community outreach has also given us the opportunity to give back through charitable causes. We are currently raising money for the training and adoption of a Golden Retriever named, SD Tennessee, thru the SD Gunner Fund. SD Tennessee is currently undergoing training to assist a local boy with autism.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I could not be where I am without my supportive husband, Ryan. He set his career aside to focus on our boys’ while I began my career path at AG Hair. When I told him that if I was going to leave AG, I would want to own my own business, he supported that and even offered assistance in the build out and was a great sounding board when I felt completely overwhelmed and questioned my career decisions. Watching his career take off when I stopped traveling was extremely rewarding for our marriage. It was the power of compromise to it’s fullest!
John and Lotte Davis, the owners of AG Hair, are also powerful role models in my success. Their steady growth as a company was not an easy road, but even with all of their success, they stay true to their values, they are grounded, and they celebrate where they began, which is a very humbling story.
Daily, the team at Hustle and Blow and the community that supports us deserves the biggest credit. Without a committed team and our clients trusting us and believing in us, we would not be where we are today.
- Blowout + Style starts at $40
- Formal Up-Style starts at $65
- Makeup Application starts at $40
- How-To Instruction starts at $30
- Address: 5521 Abercorn St. Suite 300
- Website: www.thelilycollective.com
- Phone: 912-346-6021
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hustleandblowdrybar/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hustleandblowdrybar/
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/the_lilycollective/
Bud Johnson, Zoe Christou Welsh, Kayley Savannah, Whitney Collins Photography, Lily E Photography