continued Bijou Salon opened in 2007, and has been making steady strides forward as a business since then. In 2009, Baker doubled the size of the 650-square-foot salon and the size of her staff. In 2010, Bijou was named a “salon of distinction” by Salon Today magazine.
For the 2012 Salon Today 200 awards, Bijou was one of only 100 salons recognized for business growth, one of only 27 recognized for philanthropy and one of 28 recognized for use of technology.
During the difficult economic times the past few years, Bijou actually grew by 24 percent during 2009-10, which was the year measured for the award, Baker said. For 2011, the salon had an 8 percent growth.
Philanthropically, Bijou has been giving back to the community since it first opened with benefits, fundraisers and community events. For example, the stylists volunteer to do hair and makeup for every middle school and high school play. Last summer the salon hosted a cut-a-thon to benefit the PARCS project to upgrade the Austin Park playground, and just last week Bijou raised more than $1,000 for the Winterfest Polar Bear Plunge, which goes to various community organizations.
“We always try to do at least one community thing a month,” Baker said.
As for use of technology, “Most of the girls here are very tech savvy; I try to be,” Baker said with a laugh. “We just try to keep up with those things.”
Bijou in fact has a constantly updated website, online appointment booking and Baker’s own blog. In the salon they have iPads that can be used to show uncertain clients how certain hairstyles look, and also can play movies for kids. Baker also offers online training courses to her stylists, and the salon often makes YouTube videos of its work.
Baker’s four-day trip to New Orleans included not only the Salon Today award ceremony, but also attendance at the Serious Business Conference, a styling at the award-winning salon Paris Parker, and the chance to meet Salon Today editor-in-chief Stacey Soble, whom Baker has long admired.