We had the good fortune of connecting with Allyson Garro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allyson, can you talk to us about the impact the Covid-19 Crisis has had on your business.
We closed our brick and mortar shop on March 16th, a few days before the city-wide stay at home order went into effect. Since our temporary closure, we’ve had cancellations of roughly 50 wig parties that were scheduled to occur between March 17th- June 14th. We’ve done what we can to drive more customers to our online store, by offering 15% off and no- contact porch pickups, but Wig Parties have been what we affectionately refer to as the “bread and glitter” of our business. These celebrations have been a destination for bachelorettes, birthdays, reunions and even chemo solidarity gatherings. I’ve become so accustomed to the uplifting energy of festive revelry in my shop, that now when I’m there alone, preparing online orders for shipping, the silence can sometimes feel like a ghost.
As businesses across the state begin to reopen, I’m grappling with the question of how to proceed, when so much of what we do requires intimate proximity. We’re in the business of putting wigs on heads and makeup on faces; how do we do that from six feet away? How do we do that while everyone is wearing a mask? Though eager I may be to get back to offering Wig Parties, among our other services, I’m not willing to risk the health of my team or the community we serve to do that.
This week, we’re beginning to offer semi- private shopping appointments. By keeping an appointment schedule, we’ll be able to control the number of guests in our shop at a time, which will enable us to maintain 6’ of distance, as well as provide us some time to disinfect between appointments. We’re requiring all customers wear a mask while shopping and we’ll be doing the same. We’ve hit the pause button on wig try-ons but we’re always happy to spend some time helping our customers choose the right ‘do during an in depth consultation! Makeup appointments and in shop wig parties will also remain paused while we continue to follow the best practices for all of our health and well being. For people who don’t wish to wait, we’ve created a DIY Wig Party package so they can wig out from the comfort and safety of their own home. We’ve also been shooting little “how to” videos to further assist people who might be trying wigs for the first time in quarantine.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what most sets us apart from other wig or costume shops is our maximum-sparkle ambiance, along with the different services we offer. We’re a safe space for the LGBTQ community, and all are welcome to come explore the different facets of themselves through the transformative powers of wigs and makeup! Our Wig Parties might be what we’re best known for, but we’re also a destination for M2F makeup appointments and makeup workshops for people who are transitioning. We love the diverse and creative community we serve and feel so honored to be a part of people’s milestone celebrations, as well as provide support during big life transitions.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
There are so many amazing small businesses here that I’m missing dearly. Some of my favorites include: Charm School Vintage, Take Heart, Sage and Yarrow, Crystal Works, The Herb Bar, Drumz, Minx and Muse, Cute Nail Salon, and Sister Temperance Tarot.
The restaurants that I’m most looking forward to visiting are Casa de Luz, Bouldin Creek, Rebel Cheese, Counter Culture, Koriente, Saigon le Vendeur, Vegan Nom and Curcuma. The desserts calling my name through the ether are Sweet Ritual, Capital City Bakery and Zucchini Kill!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m so grateful to my parents for always encouraging me to do what I love, even when they didn’t get it (wigs? really?) I also give thanks to the city of New Orleans for planting the seed of my deep appreciation for costumed revelry and parade culture, as well as my early years as a burlesques performer which introduced me to the finer points of showgirl artifice. A shout out to my old manager turned mentor Terri Hanifin who gave me a crash course in business plans and the encouragement to trust my passion. And I have the deepest gratitude for my dear friend and “business wife” Shari Gerstenberger who opened her vintage shop at the same time as I started Coco, and under the same roof! She’s been such an incredible source of support and companionship, as we learned how to do what we do side by side. She moved her business to a separate location five years ago, but we still use each other to bounce ideas, seek solutions and talk shop. And lastly, I have to mention my boyfriend/partner/fiancé Justin Wilson, who has been my personal videographer/collaborator and cheerleader since we first started dating in 2015, but especially now during the pandemic crisis. He really knows how to keep me positive! We were scheduled to marry on May 31st, but that too has been postponed…
I took this pic 🙂