How this salon made online retail a key part of their business

Purely Curls

Hair salon owners Amanda and Peter Rickman wanted to grow their online retail shop by investing in more inventory. Now, sales comprise 30% of their revenue – up from 15-20%.

At a glance

A Prospa Small Business Loan helped Amanda and Peter of Purely Curls to:

  • Expand their salon business to a new location.
  • Grow their online retail sales from 15-20% to 30% of total revenue.
  • Envision more ways to share their passion with others, such as providing more curly hair education.

As a self-described “curly hair geek”, Amanda loves being in the business of helping people fall in love with their hair. While working as a hair stylist, she became inspired to learn more about how to cut and style curly hair after realising there was a gap not just in her own knowledge, but a gap in the market waiting to be filled.

“I thought to myself, ‘I need to find out how to do curly hair properly, because I don’t want people to come to the salon and leave with bad hair,” Amanda says.

With this in mind, she travelled overseas to hone her skills as a curly hair specialist, and today she’s applying this knowledge and expertise as co-owner of Purely Curls, a curls-only salon with locations in Townsville and Brisbane.

Although husband and co-owner Peter initially had a behind-the-scenes role in the business, he joined the salon team to help look after the growing number of clients. He says he loves his job as a hydration consultant, teaching customers how to care for their curls.

Their business goal has always been to give people the best possible service, so they’ll return.

“My favourite part is the enjoyment that we get out of transforming somebody’s hair,” Amanda says.

Hear more about Amanda and Peter’s story:

Growing their online presence

Amanda began working as a hair stylist in salons almost 15 years ago, but the focus on curls came in 2013. She started small with a curls-only salon built in their house in Townsville, and a year later Amanda expanded by renting a chair at a salon in Brisbane, where she would spend one week a month.

But as word got out, demand for her services grew, and in 2017 Amanda and Peter realised it was time to open their own salon in Brisbane. Since then, they’ve continued to expand, recently moving to a bigger location and now employing four stylists. The pair also pass on their skills to other curl enthusiasts through training and education.

This growth has also included establishing an online retail store, which offers curly hair care products and accessories. In 2018, Amanda and Peter decided to focus on building up their stock, as many of their products need to be ordered from overseas.

Previously, their product suppliers offered repayment plans on purchases. But when they started asking for payment upfront, Peter says, he and Amanda had to look at funding options. Most of their savings had been poured into opening the salon, so the two looked into getting a small business loan.

“Prospa has been there for us when we needed help with expanding our business, and we feel confident that they’ll be there to help us in the future.”

“We weren’t interested in going to a traditional bank because it’s just too long a process,” Amanda says.

So, they reached out to Prospa and from the start, the level of service was a standout.

“There was no red tape like you get with going through a traditional bank,” Peter says.

“The ease of providing documents and giving the information needed to assess our application was fantastic, and once we were approved the funds were in our account within 24 hours.”

Having access to funds so quickly was pivotal in helping Purely Curls expand their retail offering and keep pace with growing demand.

“We had our retail offering at a very small scale, but the loan helped us kick it off and now we’ve got the funds there to keep it up,” Peter adds.

Looking to the future

At the start of the pandemic, Purely Curls also saw an increase in online sales as more people looked to stock up on products while at home.

The increased revenue from retail sales has given Amanda and Peter more freedom to think about future opportunities to grow their business, and they are looking forward to expanding their salon to a new location soon – although current state travel restrictions are making the process more complex.

However, Amanda is most excited about spending the next few years focusing on bringing more curly hair education to Australia. Passing on her knowledge about the art and science of curly hair care is a passion of hers, and she wants to make sure more curls get care and attention they deserve.

“Our goal for the future is to really invest in this and create more curly hair education classes,” she says.

The increased revenue from retail sales has given Amanda and Peter more freedom to think about future opportunities to grow their business.

With travel restrictions and lockdowns likely to continue for some time, she says they are also investigating how they might offer education online to reach more people.

Purely Curls has been a labour of love for both Amanda and Peter, and the two agree that having access to a small business loan through Prospa has been pivotal to their growth now, as well as helping them imagine where they would like to take their business next.

“If we hadn’t found Prospa, there’s no way we would have been able to expand like we have,” Amanda says.

“We feel confident that Prospa has been there for us when we needed help expanding our business, and we feel confident that they’ll be there to help us in the future.”

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