Kingston’s Trendsetter Hair Clinic uses pandemic-imposed break to focus on digital
Trendsetter Hair Clinic’s wait-list of names for people wanting a haircut just keeps growing and growing – but only at the top.
“Everybody wants to be first on the list,” says Paulette Guelph, owner of the midtown Kingston wigs and specialty hair studio, with a laugh. “I have a long list of firsts.”
It’s no surprise Guelph has been getting a barrage of texts, social media messages and calls looking for a coveted spot at the studio when it opens. For the past 20 years, Guelph has been tirelessly serving her community. In fact, the pandemic marks her first rest. “I've been doing this business for a long time,” she says. “I could never afford to take the rest I’m getting now so in a way it's a blessing… that's how I'm seeing it because I don't have a choice.”
Naturally, Guelph isn’t using the time to rest, she’s using it to tackle some projects she’s been wanting to get to for a while now. “There have been a lot of things that I've been putting off,” she says.
One of the biggest items on her own to-do list has been to build-out the business’s digital presence including a web gallery for Trendsetter Hair Clinic’s wigs. She wanted something that would showcase the products but still draw customers into the shop to really let Guelph and her team build relationships with them. She’d begun working on before she heard about Digital Main Street, a program that combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario and the Ontario BIA Association to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities. “That project had been sitting dormant for about three years because I didn’t have the extra money needed to continue it.”
Guelph applied for the Digital Transformation Grant – $2,500 in funding and a series of online seminars to help her develop a better understanding of digital footprint. She received the grant a few weeks into the pandemic and picked up where she had left off with the project, hiring the team she needed to get the gallery up and running.
The hair studio owner says she still has a bit to go before the wig gallery is on the site but it feels good to get this momentum and focus her efforts somewhere that will benefit the business as the pandemic continues to evolve. And not just the pandemic, Guelph says she recognizes habits are changing, and she wants to meet the right mix of digital presence and in-person experience when she re-opens.
“In this new age of technology and commerce and the way online is really (taking) I think you'll have to try and see how best you can do both,” she says. “That’s what I’m looking to do.”
Written by Andrew Seale
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, and Yellow Pages.
This case study was completed during a prior expansion of DMS in partnership with the Province of Ontario and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In June 2020, a $42.5-million investment from FedDev Ontario and an additional $7.45 million from the Government of Ontario brought together the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Communitech, Invest Ottawa and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association to expand the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19.