The Simply Luxurious Life®: Swink Style Bar – A Simple Luxury  

February 7, 2012

Swink Style Bar – A Simple Luxury

Pampered, beautiful, confident, rested. A simple luxury that I highly recommend you try at least once, or regularly if you can, is a blow-out and style. First of all, while it will feel like a guilty pleasure because you are being pampered, the time you save, the confidence you gain and the stress you should eliminate any feeling of guilt.  After all, we must take care of ourselves if we wish to be the best for those we love, care for and work with.

Recently, one of my readers upon hearing that I was jaunting up to Seattle for the weekend, offered a complimentary blow-out at her style bar in Seattle Swink. Already quite curious about the blow-out bars I had been hearing about popping up around the U.S., I gladly took her up on her generous offer.

With a busy weekend planned and a wedding to attend Saturday evening, the last thing I wanted to stress about was my hair, although I knew (as we all do) that if I was confident my hair was looking its best, I too would feel much more confident.

Greeted warmly by their hostess with the offer of a complimentary beverage, I took some time to decide on the style (click here to see a sampling of their options), and upon meeting my stylist, she quickly took what I had imagined and confidently and swiftly mastered the exact look I was hoping for (“girly & tousled”) without batting an eye with regards to my long, fine hair that (at least for me) never seems to hold a curl for more than an hour. And the best part, which for me will always keep me returning was that the next morning, even after an evening of dancing, my hair looked even better – I kid you not. I received a handful of compliments and found myself thinking, how can I budget a blow-out into my weekly schedule? (Click here to see my twitpic after my visit to Swink.)

Needless to say, if there were a blow-out bar in my area, for $30-$55 a week, I would find a way to treat myself regularly simply because it saves so much time, perks up my confidence just a bit more due to the fact that I’m not worrying about how my hair looks and quite frankly, such a service is priceless. After all, a woman’s most prized accessory is her hair and finessing the best style for your face takes time, let alone creating it every day.

Named by Elle magazine as one of the "Top 100 Salon's in the US" as well as Seattle Bride Magazine Editor's Choice "Best New Place to Get Beautiful", and Seattle Magazine’s "Best Place to Get Your Hair Done", I highly recommend Swink Style Bar for any special or daily occasion that requires you to look and feel your best.

Impressed with the success and business plan of Swink (which opened in November 2009), I wanted to interview Natalie Angelillo who is co-owner of the style bar with Jacquie Byrne, to learn even more about Swink and why women, all women, really should treat themselves to a blow-out more often. Also, as a female entrepreneur, she is a wonderful example of having your cake and eating too but as she explains it’s about passion and designing a plan that works best for each individual as you work your way toward success and maintain it.  I’ll let her explain.

1. Being the first blow out bar in Seattle, what prompted you to take the risk as an entrepreneur and open Swink?

I have always been an entrepreneur. Before opening Swink I was involved in several successful start ups and then coached and mentored other entrepreneurs so I was very aware of the risks and rewards of an entrepreneurial endeavor. My business partner and I opened Swink in November 2009. We are not only the first blow dry bar in Seattle, but the first on the West Coast of the US!  It was a tough time economically, but we knew we had a great idea and we were excited to bring it to life.

2. What is the background behind choosing the name Swink?

Swink is a totally made up word. We spent months trying to come up with just the right name. We wanted something that had the right "feel" for the business but something that we ultimately could own and define. We absolutely love the fact that it has become a verb. A customer said to me the other day, "Getting beautiful in Seattle, now means to get "Swinked!""

3. What type (ages, professions, etc) of clients walk through your doors?

All kinds of women come to Swink. It is truly for anyone, for any reason. When we first started we were our target customer - 40 something, busy moms, professionals, actively engaged in community life. However, our clients range from 6 - 86. They are all kinds of women and it has been getting to know them and their stories that has made this so fun for us. 

4. For what purpose (work, special events, daily errands, just because, etc) do your clients wish to receive a blow-out?

The reasons are as different as the women who walk in the door. We do hair for all of the expected reasons, or no reason at all. Women come before business meetings, prom, bridal, auction, date night etc..but we also see clients who come in before getting Facebook photos, before an interview, a first date, or even because they just  had a break up. Every woman knows what it feels like to have a "bad hair day." We are here to prevent any woman in Seattle from ever having a bad hair day again!

5. How long can a blow out last?

Our stylists are specially trained at "Swink School" before they ever step on the floor to take real clients. It is a combination of technique and the right products for that client's specific hair type that is critical to making a blow out last. That, and experience. Our stylists have done thousands and thousands of blow outs in the past 2 years! Getting the most out of a blow out is our specialty. We have clients who don't even wash their own hair anymore, they just have a standing appointment every week. 

6. What products do you suggest clients should use to maintain their blow out?

There are a couple of really simple things women can do to make their blow out last. Some of the things are things our mother's and grandmothers have been doing for years! 1.) Wear a shower cap in the shower. 2.)Sleep on a silk pillow case (this is good for preventing wrinkles too!) A few products that work magic, that our mothers didn't have include: Kevin Murphy's dry shampoo. Its made with rice powder, which naturally absorbs excess oil that can build up throughout the day and after workouts.  Another incredible blow keeper is Davines' texturizing spray. Simply spray this onto any part of the hair that has become misshapen from sleeping, zap with the blow dryer, and blow out looks brand new! You can use this for bang touch-ups as well.

7. What do you expect from clients when they sit down to have their hair blown out?

We expect them to relax and enjoy the transformation! We offer a complementary beverage, do a consultation so that the stylist knows what the client wants, and then the client is shampooed, conditioned and massaged. During the blow out our clients can read a magazine, chat with the stylist or a friend or get some work done. We offer free wi-fi so no one even needs to know they aren't at work! The process is fairly quick 30-45 minutes and they are out the door and on their way looking fabulous.

8. Where do you see Swink in the next five years?

We want woman to think "Swink" when they want to look good and feel good - fast.  This is about even more than a stop-them-in-their-tracks blow out. We want women to view Swink as their beauty and style partner. To come as often as they want, for a quick beauty fix. Hair, makeup or lashes. We know that when woman look good, they feel good. And when woman feel good there is no stopping them!

9. What is the hardest part about being a female entrepreneur?

Its probable the hardest part about being a woman in general - balance. I have two great kids, a French bulldog and a busy professional and social life. Its just finding enough hours in the day and at the same time keeping everything in perspective.

10. What is the most rewarding part about being a female entrepreneur?

One of the best parts this time around, is building this company with so many other really smart and talented women. My business partner is my best friend and in a similar situation with life, work and kids. It is a unique and rewarding partnership that I have not seen with many of my male counterparts. We are able to get an incredible amount done because we really understand each other's "whole" life.

11. What advice do you have for anyone who wishes to be an entrepreneur?

I thrive on being passionate about something and then working to see it become a reality. Swink has truly become a passion and my purpose. Starting any business is incredibly challenging even in the best economic times so I think it is very important to really love what you do. It makes sending that 1:00AM email a little more bearable...:-)

Visit them at their two locations:

Swink Style Bar

Downtown Seattle - 206 682 7070

611 Stewart Street
Seattle, WA 98101

University Village - 206 673 5070

4610 Village Court NE
Seattle, WA 98105

{A special thank you to Natalie, Brittany (my stylist for my appointment) as well as the entire staff for a wonderful and memorable visit.  I look forward to returning during my next visit to Seattle.}


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