Hair Designers to close at end of March

Published 8:59 am Friday, February 22, 2019

A long-time hair salon that has brought style and beauty to Austin will be closing at the end of March.

After the sale of the Plunkett building to KSMQ that was approved by the Austin City Council on Jan. 22, Hair Designers will be closing its doors. Sara Shaw and Stahl have co-owned the Hair Designers and spent the last several decades contributing their own artistic style into their clients’ hair. Through this art, the hair stylists have learned about the people who come through their doors.

“I love the art of hairstyling and creativity, that type of thing,” Shaw said. “I love being around people and helping them. I’ve met a lot of great people, and they’ve been with me for 40 years. I know about their families, husbands, wives and kids. They’ve been my friend, and I’ve been theirs. It’s just been a great experience.”

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Now that the Austin City Council approved the sale of the Plunkett building where Hair Designers is found, the owners of the salon made the difficult decision to close their doors and move on to other ventures of their own. Luckily, the seven hair stylists have found other salons for employment, including Shaw, who will being working at Sterling Beauty Shop, while Stahl prepares for retirement.

“I couldn’t afford to start up another salon and have $30,000 to build a new one,” Shaw said. “Our stylists are finding different places and different employers. I’m 62, and I’m not willing to take that risk again, and that’s why we will be closing our doors. It’s just business as usual until the end of March.”

Despite getting an offer from the Development Corporation of Austin to relocate the salon, Shaw mentioned that there was no compensation to help build the business from the city.

The news of their business having to close since its creation in the late 70’s was difficult, and having to accept that was something Shaw said she was dealing with the last few weeks. There were moments where Shaw felt confused on whether to feel mad, to cry or to laugh. However, she came to terms with it and was determined to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“This week, I’ve got grips on it, and I know it’s gonna be OK,” she said. “There’s a few worries and we’re just trying to tie up all the loose ends. I’m excited to get on with things and move onto my new employment and see the end of it all. I wasn’t ready to end it, now I am. This was gonna be my retirement to work here, and that’s the way it goes. My biggest worry was making sure everyone found some place. My job’s done.”

For now, the salon will continue to accept hair appointments and will be pre-booking until March. Shaw encourages those who have gift certificates to spend them before the salon closes, and all equipment, decorations and products are for sale.

“We will just carry on,” Shaw said. “Hopefully it’ll be a smooth transition into our new employers and book appointments. Some of our stylists are single moms, they have mouths to feed and children to put through college. Some of our hair stylists have mortgages and car payments, and hairdressers don’t make a ton of money. We’ve been approached, and we’ve checked into different offers. Hopefully we made good choices, and everyone managed to find a spot.”

So far, clients have shown support and sadness for Hair Designers employees, to which the outpouring support has helped the owners cope with the imminent closure of their business, and making other arrangements for the future.

“The clients have been a little shocked, too,” Shaw said. “They come in and say they don’t believe this is happening. They’ve come here for so long, and they’re just being very supportive of us. Most of them were willing to follow us to wherever they’re going. We just hope our clients follow us and check out our new digs, and thanks for being supportive for all these years.”