Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Brinks.
Lauren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Our family shop can trace its history back more than 100 years: After serving in World War II, my grandfather, David McGee, attended barber school in Atlanta in 1949. Shortly thereafter, he began working at the Blue J Barbershop on Wynnton Road in Columbus, Georgia. For almost 60 years, Dave and the shop were a pillar in the community, but he passed in 2006 and without him, the shop wasn’t the same. My family decided to permanently close the business in 2009. More than a decade later, after several unsuccessful attempts to find a kid-friendly hair care establishment for my own children, I was inspired to venture back into the barbershop business. I knew that other parents throughout Atlanta were experiencing the same, so with a new location and a re-imagined focus we opened The Little Blue Jay in May 2019. We aspire to not only enjoy the same success that the original Blue J had on Wynnton Road but to provide families a fun and engaging hair and a boutique shopping experience that inspires them to be part of our barbershop, and our own family, for generations to come.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Owning your own small business has definitely been a struggle. I was seven months pregnant when we finally opened our doors! I dealt with construction issues, flooding issues, permitting issues, you name it-we probably went through it. We wanted to make sure that we hired the perfect employees, so the hiring process took a lot longer than we expected and we pushed back our grand opening several times. Some nights were really hard and really long. I remember sitting on the floor at 2 am one night putting together furniture with my pregnant belly wondering if it would be worth it. Six months later and I can absolutely say it has been worth it! I love going into the shop every day and interacting with our customers. We have gotten such wonderful feedback and have already started to build a long list of regular clients. A recent customer brought her daughter in for her first haircut and afterwards, she thanked us for making her experience so magical. MAGICAL! This has been the greatest job so far and I am so grateful.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Little Blue Jay – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
The Little Blue Jay is the only kid-specific salon and boutique in the Atlanta area. I wanted the visits to our store to be a complete experience, so I tried to think of everything. A light and bright store with soft neutral colors. A playroom to keep the kids entertained before, during, and after their haircut. A coffee bar to re-energize those tired parents who have been chasing their toddler(s) around all day. A boutique with one of a kind, affordable clothing, toys, and accessories.
I would say we are known best for our creative space, great haircuts, and friendly staff! We specialize in children’s haircuts but also have the capability to do cuts for moms and dads. We also have a great space for event hosting too.
I feel that the complete experience sets us apart from other kids’ salons. It is not just a haircut. It is a visit to our playroom, it is a shopping spree without breaking the bank, it is a time to chat about the newest babies being born and businesses being opened. I try my best to know as many moms, dads, nannies, grandparents as I can and know what is going on with them. I love getting to know people and feel like some customers have already become friends!
I think I am most proud of being able to carry on the Blue J name and tradition. Some of my fondest memories are playing with my sister at the Blue J while my dad and grandfather counted the money. Spinning in the blue chairs and getting to pick my bubble gum out of the glass jar. Now, my children are coming with me to work and spinning in the blue chairs and I know this will be some of their fondest memories too!
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am looking forward to the continued growth of The Little Blue Jay! Hiring more employees and expanding the boutique. Quite possibly even considering the possibility of The Little Blue Jay number two, stay tuned!
- $19.99 for kids cut
- $21.99 average price for clothing
- $2.99 average price for bows
- Address: 4687 S Atlanta Rd SE
Smyrna, GA 30080 (Located in the Vining’s area, 2 exits south from Suntrust park, directly under St. Angelo’s)
- Website: www.thelittlebluejay.com
- Phone: 770-874-3233
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @thelittlbluejayatl
- Facebook: @thelittlebluejay
Daniel Beatty, Atlanta Architecture Images