Hello Blushing Ladies …it’s your girl Brown Sugar back with a review of a new type of hair salon popping up across the country – The Weave Express. For those of you not familiar with this concept the tag line is "Home of the $50 Sew-In Weave. They offer several types of weave services at varying price points with the entry level weave at the price point of $50. One girl will braid your hair, another girl will sew the weave in and possibly a third will style it. No appointments are necessary as clients are taken on a first come, first serve basis. Eureka..where has this salon been all my life….RIGHT! Pause your excitement as I give you my experiences at The Weave Express in Landover, MD.
My first trip to The Weave Express occurred on December 15th, 2010. I went on a Wednesday afternoon at around 3:30pm…our offices had closed early and I decided to treat myself for my birthday the following week. I walked in and was greeted by one of the owners. We discuss what service I want, the form is filled out (albeit incorrectly) and I get the services started. Let me add the following – it’s best if you come with your own hair washed and dried to ensure “express service” as there is an extra fee and adds time. Although you can bring your own weaving hair to the salon, you can also purchase their brand of hair. First I sit in the braider’s chair. Although I originally requested the ICON weave (which is a fully enclosed weave, leaving none of your hair out) by the time the braider was done I realized that the top of my head was out. Since this was my first time there I figured this would be rectified later. I wait a few minutes for the next available weaver, I hand her my slip and she realizes a mistake has been made. She offers to braid down the top of my hair but I requested to consult with the stylist to see if she could blend the two textures and if so let’s roll with it and go from there. She said that she could blend my hair and the weaving hair with no problem. Wonderful, issue resolved and the weaving continues. The next chair I sit in is the stylist….I requested a detailed cut and curl (normally this is included with the ICON but since my style of hair had changed I am now getting the $85 CELEBRITY and the detailed cut and curl is now an additional fee of like $20…still cheaper than the ICON so I’m all gravy with saving money). This stylist was amazing with her skills. I leave out of there feeling pretty and sassy at around 6pm …2.5hours…WONDERFUL!!!!!! I say to myself I will definitely be back!
My second trip to The Weave Express occurred on Monday, February 21, 2011-President’s day. I get there at 10:15 am ..I have to sign in and I realize that I am number 19 on the list of people to service. Now normally I would say I’ll come back another day, but I ignored the voice in the back of my mind because I wanted to go back to work with a new do. I politely ask the receptionist how long it would be before I get my services started and was told approximately 2hrs. (red flag) I press on with my plan..I get checked in 30mins later and then I leave to go buy my hair…since I have time to kill and all. I come back and the line has moved significantly. WOOHOO. I get my hair braided then I’m sent to the back to wait. There’s a back waiting room? What? How’s that express service? When I realize the back waiting room is full I take a seat under the hair dryer and wait..and wait..and wait some more. The different service techs come back and forth and request clients according to number. Then one braider takes a woman simply because she was nearest to the doorway…as soon as some of the other clients and myself realize that she was being taken out of numerical order we proceed to inform the braider that her number is 21 and there’s 15-18 sitting in the back waiting room and 17-20 sitting in the wash area. The braider seemed oblivious and said to the manager “they are saying her number is 21”…the manager proceeds to tell us that we have it wrong she’s simply getting her weave started. We quickly inform her that…no she’s getting her weave installed and proceed to demonstrate this by showing the manager the chair that she is in. The manager immediately rectifies the situation and gets the process back on track. My head was finally touched again by a braider at around 4pm to get the weave started. After two rows of weave being sewn in I was sent back to wait. Again, how is this express service? I was then called up an hour later to a weavers chair only to be told..”oh, I’m sorry, I don’t do full closures”..back to waiting I go. I get called up 20mins later and before I could sit down in the chair another woman comes over to get her hair styled because the other stylist has to leave early. So again, I am bumped…at this point I make it known that this is the second time this has happened and I’m not pleased. Her response…”oh, really? I’m sorry…” …smoke should have been coming from my ears. The clients that I have spent the day bonding with had quizzical looks on their faces and yet asked…”What’s Wrong?”
I get called up for a third time and apparently the third time is the charm. My weave is finally installed but the stylist that I wanted to perform my cut and curl was leaving. I am little apprehensive about letting the weaver style my hair because she is not a licensed stylist. Hhhhhmmm, wouldn’t it make more business sense to hire someone who can weave and style well? But I digress…she did an ok job but I know the work of the other girl was far superior..so I will have to go back and have it done correctly.
I finally walked out of there at 7pm. By this point the number of clients on the list had reached 50. They were only able to take up to number 30something which meant there were people who had been sitting around all day with their hair half braided that were sent home with unrendered services. I don’t know how I feel about that.
This may have been the perfect storm for a day from salon hell but I would like offer the following suggestions for the owners/managers/staff of The Weave Express, Landover Maryland.
- Determine what your cap is for clients that can be serviced in one day.
- Determine a wait time limit and send clients home if they have been serviced in that time. A four hour wait is unacceptable and bad business.
- Turn your braiders into weave assistants. If you they can start two tracks then they can be trained to sew a half a head of hair. Especially for those only getting partial weaves.
- Have a more open line of communication with your clients. Seeing a tech leave with their coat on is not a good business practice when a client has been there since 10:15am.
- If you are an owner and you walking the salon floor take a moment to introduce yourself and thank the clients for waiting ….breezing through and talking your staff’s ear off only will infuriate the clients more.
- Put your cell phones away. You are in a service based business …no one likes to see you talk on your cell phone while working on a client’s head.
To anyone looking to go The Weave Express I offer up the following tips for you as well:
- Ask about the wait time up front..and include the time it will take from being braided to being weaved. That is what they DON’T tell you.
- Be vocal about the services that you are receiving. If something is not to your liking please speak about it and they will gladly fix it.
- Be prepared to wait. Especially on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Inquire about the licensing of their stylists and how many of them are on duty the day you arrive. Their styles are pretty basic. So if you want something a bit more detailed it is best to seek that service elsewhere.
- If you are truly unhappy with your overall experience at the salon put your grievance in writing. A quick email, facebook message or postal letter will go a long way.
Will I go back? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I need to find a back up person or three. Please post referrals. I am serious about my time and money and do not like to waste EITHER!
Thanks for letting me vent blushing ladies……….