When it comes to styling hair, Alison Wolf is an expert. With 26 years of salon experience and an artist’s spirit, she offers her clients at Franklin Hair Company on Main Street a styling session unlike any other.
Wolf grew up in Newtown, Conn., and attended hairdressing school at age 16. A year later, she was working full time in a salon.
After having her first son, she began searching for positions that offered more flexibility. But she soon realized that opening her own business would not only allow her to set her own hours, but to truly let her creativity shine; so in 2002, she opened the hair salon and art gallery Island Sanctuary in St. Augustine Beach, Fla.
The hybrid business model allowed Wolf to showcase her talents as a stylist and an artist. In addition to her daily salon services, she also offered monthly open houses featuring artwork created by her and by other local artists. Now she’s adapted that model to the Franklin Hair Company.
“Having the gallery aspect mixed in with the salon gave us a really unique atmosphere, and I have replicated that with this salon in Franklin. Our open house events are a really fun way to spend an evening socializing and networking, and it gets people down to Main Street,” Wolf said.
Wolf and her husband both grew up in New England and wanted to move somewhere that would offer their two young boys the same idyllic childhood they had been fortunate enough to experience.
When they began looking at the Nashville area a few years ago, Wolf’s childhood friend urged her to check out Franklin. After a weekend visit, enjoying a meal at Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant and spending the day in downtown Franklin, the family was hooked.
“It’s just like being in a small town in Connecticut, without the harsh winters,” Wolf said. “We love this community and feel so blessed that we found it.”
The family quickly nestled into life in Tennessee. Her husband works as a healthcare executive at Vanderbilt, and they recently purchased a home in Cottonwood Estates. Their boys attend Walnut Grove Elementary and Franklin High School.
Wolf opened her first private salon in Brentwood, but after 18 months, she decided that moving her salon closer to home and where her children attended school would make more sense.
In December 2013, she opened Franklin Hair Company in the loft on the third floor above Papa Boudreaux’s Café, and she loves everything about owning a business on Main Street. Wolf has also begun to incorporate the art gallery component from Island Sanctuary into Franklin Hair Co., hosting events and displaying her own pieces, as well as others’ creative work, in the salon.
She says her clients love having a reason to come into downtown Franklin, and the location is convenient for her clients from Brentwood, Spring Hill and the Westhaven area.
And while there are many great salons in the area, Wolf says her special attention to customer service sets her apart. The phone system in the salon is muted during client services to prevent distractions and noise, and Wolf also does all of the styling herself, refusing to use an assistant. It’s a different atmosphere than what you might expect in a typical salon, one she says creates a truly relaxing, enjoyable, one-on-one personal experience.
“When clients come in for an appointment they are the only customer here, and I am completely focused on them,” Wolf said. “When you come to the salon it’s supposed to be a treat and that’s what you’re going to get when you come here. You should never leave a salon feeling frazzled, or like you didn’t get what you wanted.”
As a former national trainer for Hair Club, Wolf specializes in non-damaging, glue-free hair extensions and corrective coloring. She also recently returned from a trip to Rome, where she received her most recent coloration credential as a trainer for Artego Italy.
She says her favorite thing about the business is the fact that it represents a creative outlet that also allows her to make people feel better about themselves. Wolf believes that a great head of hair can totally transform a person’s confidence, and she takes pride in giving each client that experience.
“Some of my clients feel like they’ve never had beautiful hair in their life,” Wolf said. “When you can give that to someone, it’s very rewarding. It’s magical.”
Franklin Hair Company is located at 328 Main Street. For more information, visit www.franklinhaircompany.com.
“Faces of Franklin” is part of a series on merchants and small business owners in downtown Franklin, Tenn. To read more, go to www.downtownfranklintn.com.