Just about last week we've had an opportunity to have an amazing photoshoot and interview with Brittany Pery, owner of the Live Free & Dye Salon in Poughkeepsie, NY. Check out the interview below and stay tuned for more in our Spring 2022 Print Issue to be published at the beginning of May.
Exclusive Interview with Hairstylist Brittany Perry – Owner the Live Free and Dye Salon – Interview and Photography by Maxwell Alexander, EIC, Hudson Valley Style Magazine
Maxwell: Let's get right to it, Brittany, while you are doing the highlights magic here on our favorite Fitness Trainer Whitney Sterling, tell us a bit where all this creativity comes from?
Brittany: Thanks for hanging out with us today! I am a mother of two and as you probably noticed, soon to be three! I've been in the industry for sixteen years now, it's what keeps me sane. Growing up around the salon life was inevitable - both my mom and aunt were hairstylists too, so I guess you could say “it’s in my blood” to be a stylist.
Maxwell: Yeah, your talent speaks for itself and I definitely see that on top of it you've got to practice your skills for quite a few years. Tell us more!
Brittany: Six years ago I moved to the beautiful Hudson Valley with a dream. I am from farther upstate (Brookfield, NY) and although I love my hometown and where I grew up, I knew it wasn't where I belonged. Because my husband grew up in Highland, NY, we decided that Highland would be the right place for us to raise our 2 children, Louis and Alice. After a 10-year career upstate, I had to start from scratch in the Hudson Valley area since all of my clients were out of reach. In the first salon where I worked, I was basically working for free, and I knew that wasn't sustainable.
Then I received a referral from a family member to work at a salon in Milton, NY and spent five years there. While it was great, I met a lot of people and built up a clientele, but I knew I needed more, I needed my own salon. This was my dream and now I have an opportunity to work on it.
Especially as a mother of two small children, I needed more flexibility. I wanted to be able to do things in my own way. The hair industry can be challenging. There are no proper lunch breaks, everything has a time limit, and you're on your feet all day long. Hours can be long and you are in high demand, and a lot can be expected if you are in an unrealistic timeframe. I wanted to change that. I wanted to be able to take on as many clients as I liked during the day. I wanted to be able to take a lunch break. Having the ability to control what kind of appointments I did was important to me. I loved the work I was doing and I wanted to stay in love with it. As a result, I wanted to be able to bring my children to work in case of a snow day or day off from school and I did not have a babysitter. As a stylist, I wanted to work at a salon where others could do the same and earn the money they deserve.
My next step was to find a space for Live Free & Dye Salon. The universe told me to take my time, don't rush. Because of my spontaneity, I often take action before thinking things through. It's both a blessing and a curse. Then, thankfully, it didn't work out and I took my time because the next thing I knew the world had shut down and we were in quarantine dealing with the chaos of Covid. I had this time to save money, do research, organize myself, and make sure I was ready for the responsibility of owning a business, which for the record I don't think you're ever ready for but we'll just say more prepared. Even though I didn't have a space, I knew I had to find something and make it happen.
One day, Assunta (owner of Derma Laser Center) called me to arrange a virtual happy hour because she needed to talk to me. As we talked, she asked me if I was looking for a space. During the closure, the previous owner of the suite, where she had her business, decided to leave and she was going to take over the lease, so she asked me if I wanted to come in and open a salon, and just like that everything fell into place and I was able to make my dream come true.
With very little money in my bank account, I had to get creative in setting it up. My goal was to keep it simple and minimalist. Simple but cute. My goal was to make it feel like home: cozy and relaxing. Salons can be overwhelming and very in your face, and I did not want that. My contractor, Cos, was very patient with me and my vision and did such an amazing job at setting everything up for me exactly how I envisioned it. He even handmade my front desk, because I wanted to make sure everything was one of a kind. Oh, and he had only 3 weeks to work so I could open on the date I wanted. And on August 17th, 2020 I opened the Live Free & Dye Salon!
Maxwell: Wow, that's intense! Indeed, this pandemic has broken so many dreams for a lot of people, and at the same time gave us time to rethink our lives and get back to it with even more passion and commitment. You are the true testament of that!
Brittany: Yes! We’re getting close to our 2nd year anniversary, I’m expecting my 3rd child, we were finalists for The Best of the Hudson Valley and I couldn’t be more proud of this beautiful salon I have created and can’t wait to see how we grow in the future.
We've got an amazing team here with 3 great hairstylists who work beside me: Rebecca, Jessica & Enza. Rebecca specializes in extensions, Jessica specializes in bridal styles, and Enza specializes in barber cuts.
I love being able to support other locally owned businesses, especially local women-owned businesses. We do monthly giveaways for our local women-owned businesses in the Hudson Valley and sometimes even sell their merchandise in the salon. You will always see the beautiful work of El Marie Macrame by Lindsey on our walls that are for sale. I like to have pop-up sales and do what I can to support all of the hard-working local businesses around me. Supporting locals is so important!
Maxwell: You're such an inspiration for all of us, Brittany, and we are looking forward to catching up with you soon!