This article is part of our series on business owners accessing Square Loans to help grow their business. Learn more about Square Loans.
Jordan Walker has always been entrepreneurial. So after seven years of working in hair salons across Ballarat, he realised he wanted to start his own business. Despite having a comfortable job, he was restless and wanted the independence that comes with running your own show.
“I was losing a huge chunk of my earnings paying rent for a chair in someone else’s salon,” Jordan said. “I‘d built up a really strong client base and had lots of regulars, so I was comfortable that I could make more money on my own and start a thriving business.”
With only $300 in his pocket, Jordan had to be thrifty about how he set up. Initially using a space at the local Federation University of Australia in Ballarat, Jordan spent the last of his earnings on decking out his garage at home. With a hairdressing chair, a sink and a magazine rack installed, Dexterity Salon was born from humble beginnings in 2015.
“I was really fortunate: for the first few weeks, I was completely booked out. That gave me time to build up a bit of a buffer and helped as I started to look for somewhere a little more permanent to set up.”
A year after cutting hair in his garage, Jordan found a home for Dexterity in Ballarat Central, where he’s been for the past five years. Partnering up with friend and make-up artist, Catherine Louise, Dexterity’s growth meant that at the end of the lease, Jordan could expand to take over from Catherine and occupy the entire premises.
Since then, he’s transformed Dexterity into a household name in the area, and has picked up several accolades at local business awards.
2020, however, was unlike any other year his business had faced.
“Before COVID, we were growing strongly and were ready to expand our physical footprint and double our salon space, while bringing on more staff and apprentices,” Jordan says. “However, we were forced to put these plans on ice.”
For many, 2020 was a year that was all about survival. Jordan, however, took this as an opportunity to take some time to reflect on his business.
“We were shut down for around six weeks, but this was a good excuse for me to take a holiday. I’d been squirrelling away for a trip to Europe, so I was able to survive for a while on that,” Jordan said. “My job is my life, and so the COVID-19 lockdown gave me a chance to take my foot off the accelerator and sit down and really think about the future.”
Jordan spotted an opportunity to double down on the retail arm of his business, but needed additional funds to help create more of a buffer and to buy retail inventory.
“If we couldn’t have people in the salon, at least we could get shampoo, conditioner, whatever they needed out to wherever they are.”
In order to access extra capital, Jordan applied to be a part of an early access program for Square Loans, Square’s new business loans product in Australia.
“The reason I joined Square initially was because the big banks treated me so badly,” Jordan said. “The whole application process for my Square Loan was a breath of fresh air. When COVID-19 restrictions and other factors are moving and changing so quickly, we were lucky that getting a loan with Square was so quick and simple. We didn’t have time to provide reams and reams of paperwork.”
“Our Square Loan helped us to buy inventory to keep money coming through the door, and has enabled us to now start to expand our business, as we had originally planned,” Jordan said.
“My repayments are super simple and I’ve already paid back the loan fee during my first month’s takings.”
“Our online retail helped us bring in revenue even as our doors were shut, and is now a permanent part of our business.”
The future looks bright for Jordan and Dexterity. While growth is still the priority, global domination isn’t on the to-do list.
“I want to bring in more staff and grow, but within reason,” Jordan says. “At Dexterity, we’re like a family and I want to keep it close.”
“I’m passionate about training and development. I’ve been lucky to have had people support me in my journey, and I want to make sure I pay that forward.”
This year, Jordan expects to add another two staff members, open up a second floor in his salon, and continue to grow the retail side of his business.
Dexterity Salon is just one business that’s benefited from the advantages of Square Loans. To find out how your business can make the most of a Square Loan, visit the Square website.