Long Island nglccNY members had just begun to build networking momentum when the COVID crisis came along and halted in-person M3s.
nglccNY Chair of Media and Communications Cindi Creager recently caught up with one of those members, Freddy Mattera, owner of WAVES Hair Salon to see how his business is doing and ask about his future plans to collaborate with the Chamber.
Cindi: How long have you been in business?
Freddy: Fourteen years as the owner. I moved twice. I had a small salon with eight stations in Smithtown. And then, I decided to make it larger and built a 4,000 square foot salon with 26 stations, a full spa, eight color stations, eight hair sinks and eleven color bar stations. 5 years ago I purchased another Salon in Sayville with hopes of making a chain.
|Photo credit: WAVES Salon|
Then COVID hit while I was paying $16,000 a month in rent for that second space. When you're a hair salon and there are no weddings, there’s no traveling, and nothing going on, you really can't sustain that. So, instead of closing my salon, I sold the Sayville location in November. And then I built a small salon in Hauppauge with thirteen stations and I opened up on December 3rd.
I sold my other smaller Sayville salon to my manager, so we’re now sharing a website. It's technically my website, but I wanted to help her stay afloat because you have to take care of each other.
Cindi: How is it going now?
Freddy: We're doing well overall, considering the economic climate. With vaccines rolling out and the news getting a little more upbeat (restaurants opening at some capacity) people here on Long Island are going to want to get their hair done to go out for dinner here and in the city. And then a month later they're opening up for weddings. So once weddings open, we're going to be busy again, because people going to a wedding want to make sure their hair looks good. So I have a feeling that we're going to get a nice big surge in the next few months.
Photo credit: WAVES Salon
Cindi: That's great. Best of luck with that. Now let’s switch gears slightly and talk about how you ended up getting involved with nglccNY and why.
Freddy: I'm pretty new to it. Joseph Milizio and his husband Kevin Claus invited me to a meeting and I went and then I opened up my space to hold gatherings because it was a big space. I hosted one, which was wonderful. Great people. Great networking. I only attended a few Long Island M3’s and then it kind of fell off because of COVID.
Cindi: Why do you think it's important to have organizations like nglccNY?
Freddy: Owning a business is personal. When you actually see people face to face and talk to them, I think it's more powerful than just putting out ads. Ads are great and social media is great, but there's something to be said for actually talking to people face-to-face. It’s important. You learn from each other and you get more inspired.
Cindi: Do you think it can help your bottom line? Word of mouth?
Cindi: As you look ahead I’m sure you're working to build your business back up after a crazy time in our world. What message would you like to get out to fellow nglccNY members?
Freddy: Support small businesses. Supporting small businesses is going to help everybody.
Cindi: What is your hope for collaborating with ngccNY in 2021?
Freddy: I would like to meet with fellow business owners virtually just to keep it going. And then of course I would definitely be happy to use my salon again as a hosting place when we can all meet in person again.
Cindi: What advice would you give other small businesses who have gone through something similar to you and are working to reinvent themselves after COVID disruptions?
Freddy: No matter how many times you get knocked down, I believe things happen for a reason. Reinvent yourself. Sometimes you have to take a couple of steps back to go forward. So for small business people out there, I just say keep going, hang on, stay strong, use all your resources and don't be afraid.
|Photo credit: Freddy Mattera|
Cindi: That’s great advice. Thank you, Freddy. We wish you every success as you move forward in 2021!