STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Several years back, Meghan Prendergast, 30, inspired her client, Amanda Shapiro, 23, to become a hairstylist. It wasn’t long after that the two became friends and found themselves working at the same salon.
Fast forward four years to March 2020, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) shuttered the globe. That’s when the pair of hairstylists came up with a business plan to open their own salon — The Werk Room in Charleston.
In fact, they planned their entire business model in five weeks.
“The pandemic gave us time to think about what was making us happy and what wasn’t making us happy,” recalled Prendergast, who has been in the hair industry for 11 years. “Timing is everything, and this gave us a great window of opportunity to do something since Amanda and I were both on the same page at the same time.”
They secured a 1,000-square-foot space and had it renovated as soon as construction was allowed to commence in Phase 1 of reopening amid the pandemic.
“We took a leap a faith, and we think there is no way this won’t be a success,” said Prendergast.
THE GRAND OPENING
When they opened on July 7, they were greeted by many of their loyal customers — most of whom were not able to get their hair cut, colored or styled while salons were shuttered during the first few months of the pandemic.
“Now that salons are open, people are running to pamper themselves, make themselves feel good, and, honestly, spend money to do everything and anything they can to come out of quarantine,” said Prendergast.
In fact, The Werk Room’s grand opening had special meaning for the two owners, as well as for their many clients.
“It wasn’t just about opening after quarantine; it was about opening a brand new salon,” said Prendergast. “I think all of our clients are supper excited for us, and everyone is just ready to get their hair done and make themselves feel good.”
The full-service salon offers color, cuts, formal stying and makeup application, said Shapiro.
“We specialize in color and extensions,” she said.
CREATING A HAPPY ENVIRONMENT
Shapiro and Prendergast said they believe the key to success is creating a happy work environment.
“We want to make sure we are running a well-oiled machine just so that all of our staff is happy. We really believe that if all of our staff is happy, it will create a really nice work environment for our clients to always be happy as well,” said Prendergast, who noted the salon has three stylists in addition to the owners.
THE WERK ROOM AT A GLANCE
Address: 97 Storer Ave.
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New Businesses in Focus is a weekly column that relates the stories of new Staten Island businesses owners.
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