Choosing and sticking with a career path is hard business, and Erin Frazee has some experience with that. However, when she set her sights on hair, she knew there was no turning back. Gradually she built up a following doing hair in a small studio space in Rocky River, and eventually she knew it was time to expand. Erin’s salon, Heyday Collective, is an oasis in the form of a salon offering microblading, custom color, and Erin’s own style of hand-tied extensions. I sat down with Erin as we discussed the path that led her back to the Cleveland area and into her luxury salon.
Haley Mills: What were you doing before you opened the salon?
Erin Frazee: I didn’t start my career in hair - it was a career change for me in my mid-twenties. I had gone to college, gotten a degree in Creative Writing and didn’t really have a plan for it, so bounced around between a few entry-level jobs, got married really young and landed in South Florida for a while where I had my first taste of entrepreneurship as a wedding planner (which, side note, isn’t as glamorous as it sounds!)! When that marriage ended in divorce, I moved back home to Ohio and realized I had been blessed with an incredible opportunity to start over. I have a very strong creative side and knew I wanted to be able to make a living using that talent, so I enrolled in cosmetology school… it was the perfect answer for me. I wanted to create art every day, I wanted to empower other women, and I knew that one day, I wanted to be my own boss. I had grand visions of what I wanted to do with it… but this didn’t happen overnight of course!
As a stylist, I worked in a handful of salons, big names with 20+ stylists, and much smaller ones with 5 or fewer stylists. I worked for a well-known hair product company and traveled the country educating other stylists, and I did my own thing for a while, freelancing as a bridal hair specialist. At this point, I had remarried, and my husband and I had relocated 5 times over the course of 6 years, so building a loyal clientele in one salon was impossible. I had other hobbies like yoga and wellness (oh, and then a baby!) that took precedence while hair took a backseat… but when we finally moved back to Cleveland and knew we would be staying put, I was ready to make a career of it.
I opened my first little studio in Rocky River in 2016 as an independent stylist with about four clients! Ha! Luckily, a little thing called Social Media served as my best form of (free!) marketing. I spent every free minute I had either learning how to market myself, or learning new techniques that would make me better, and different. I quickly outgrew my tiny, windowless studio, and I knew I wanted something more. I was offering luxury services of custom color and hand-tied hair extensions at this point and I felt I needed to upgrade my space to be able to reflect that specialty. I opened Heyday Collective in September 2018, in the heart of Ohio City, on the second floor above Forest City Shuffleboard.
HM: What is the best part about owning a small business?
EF: I think the best part is being in good company with all of the many small business owners - particularly women - in Cleveland. There is so much camaraderie and collaboration going on, and on any given day I have at least a dozen other women I could reach out to for help or advice or just a listening ear, to celebrate successes and work through struggles. It’s one of the biggest reasons I wanted to open a business here - simply to be a part of that community.
HM: What’s the hardest part about owning your own business?
EF: I think the hardest part or maybe just something that I’m struggling with right now is keeping the big picture in mind. I went from being a one-woman show to now having to shift my entire organization style to be able to support growth. It’s a constant challenge to remember that you can’t operate the way you’ve always operated if you intend to grow.
HM: Who currently works with you in the salon?
EF: I am currently the only hair stylist at Heyday Collective. I specialize in hand-tied hair extensions and I’m currently looking into some other options as far as non-surgical hair replacement because there definitely seems to be a demand for it, but for now our salon offers exclusively hand-tied hair extensions as it’s specialty hair service.
I have a bridal specialist, Megan Cox, who will be joining our team this summer, and we are so excited to be able to offer bridal styling! We’ve had so many inquiries and our space is so perfect to be able to host bridal parties. So keep an eye out for that announcement!
Alison Smith is Heyday Collective’s brow artist, and she specializes in microblading and powder brow artistry.
I’m currently interviewing associates to grow with our team as well.
HM: Tell me a little bit more about the hand-tied hair extensions, mainly just because I’m curious!
EF: Yes! I have been trained in multiple methods of hand-tied hair extension installation, so my own method is unique and combines the best aspects of several methods and eliminates the flaws. I create a horseshoe shaped track around the head with beads and thread, and then attach multiple hand-tied wefts of human hair, which I have custom-colored myself. This method of installation can be used to add significant length to the client’s hair, or simply volume to fill out the haircut at the client’s natural length. My main goal is for the extension hair to look like real hair so that wearer can feel confident and beautiful. It has become my most favorite thing to do as a stylist, which is why I chose to offer exclusively extensions.
HM: Where is your favorite place to have brunch in Cleveland?
EF: We’re currently on a brunch rotation, so this is such a perfect question! We love Fat Cats in Tremont, they have an awesome brunch and I think it's kind of a hidden gem - the octopus is incredible. We recently went to Heck’s Cafe in Ohio City and I love that as well - the Ohio City Burger is my fave. Luxe is also a favorite - we actually got married on their patio! Cleveland has so many great spots, so we’re still exploring!
HM: What is your favorite season in Cleveland?
EF: Definitely spring - especially since you are asking me this question in March! We wait for Spring in Cleveland! Everyone is just so overjoyed to be able to open the windows and breathe some fresh air… I know I’m not alone when I say I cannot wait!
HM: Where is your favorite place to be in Cleveland?
EF: I love Ohio City! This is going to sound so cheesy but I love being at my salon! I put so much love and passion into designing this space, I am slow to leave at the end of the workday! Plus, I feel like there is so much going on around us right now with regard to development, I just can’t wait to see what's going to happen here in the next few years.
HM: Is there anything else you’d want TCBL readers to know about your or about your salon?
EF: I don’t think I have to tell people that we’re different than most salons they are used to… but we are! Almost everyone who visits says we are an oasis in Cleveland and so unexpected. As a boutique space, Heyday Collective is more calming, more serene than the average 15+ chair salon… my client the other day described her appointment time like a spa retreat! We are small and private, and because we are women-centric and don’t offer men’s or kid’s services, it has become the ultimate women’s self-care environment. Most appointments are longer service times so we keep that in mind and have every luxury available to keep our clients comfortable and happy, from scalp massages with complimentary deep conditioning treatments and essential oils, to lemon-ginger detox water, healthy gluten-free snacks, a lounge area to relax, and of course little indulgences like prosecco and dark chocolate. We have so many incredible women in our community and it feels so good to be able to offer them something really special.