When the pandemic forced businesses to shut down, entrepreneurs particularly in the beauty industry were hit hard. Johanne Brierre, entrepreneur and Head of Growth at BKLYN Commons, saw how the pandemic affected small beauty businesses tremendously. With a heart to help New York City’s community of beauty professionals, Johanne founded the NYBeautySuites: the first flexible workspace for licensed and insured beautypreneurs.
In partnership with BKLYN Commons, Central Brooklyn’s premier coworking space, NYBeautySuites allows seasoned beauty and wellness professionals to rebound, while also assisting new beauty professionals who are launching their business. From estheticians, to hair and make-up artists, to lash and nails technicians, to massage therapists, NYBeautySuites is perfect for individuals looking to grow their business in a creative and collaborative workspace.
Check out our interview with Johanne, where she tells Sheen the importance of having community in business, how to readjust and thrive in an ever-changing environment, and how she’s shifting the way that beauty and wellness professionals do business.
Tell us a little about yourself, and your background in business!
My name is Johanne Brierre, and I am the founder of NYBeautySuites. I like to think of myself as a business architect, redesigning the future of communities where we live and work. I am Haitian-born and Brooklyn-bred, and I have an extensive background in hospitality and entrepreneurship. In 2016, I helped launch and grow BKLYN Commons, Brooklyn’s central hub for small businesses and Creators, and a community-driven coworking space home to more than 300 unique small businesses.
How did NYBeautySuites come about? What’s lacking in today’s beauty industry that inspired you to bring this idea to life?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced so many beauty and wellness professionals to shut down their livelihoods throughout the world, but especially here in New York City. I saw first-hand how the lockdown affected individuals on a personal level. As storefront rents and COVID-19 safety requirements increased, family members and friends struggled to maintain their beauty and wellness businesses they had worked so hard to build. Beauty professionals needed assistance and they needed it fast. NYBeautySuites became the solution. A flexible workspace and content creation zone open to “beautypreneurs” and their clients, NyBeautySuites’s mission to provide up-and coming beautypreneurs with workspaces, tools, and resources they need to thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.
Why might a coworking space like the BKLYN Commons and NYBeautySuites be a good fit for an entrepreneur?
We specialize in providing memberships to entrepreneurs seeking flexibility, innovation, and amenities. BKLYN Commons and NYBeautySuites understand small businesses because we are small businesses. Our workspace is community-driven and our members support each other through shared resources, networking and connection.
What services and opportunities does the NYBeautySuites provide?
NYBeautySuites offers month-to-month private suites, extensive amenities, as well as community and curated networking events. We also offer a self-care suite with The Amulet Fairy for all beautypreneurs and their clients to enjoy a safe and special wellness experience. In addition, our members have access to world-class photography and podcast studios to create engaging content to support their businesses.
What makes someone a good fit for a salon suite rather than a conventional salon environment? Is there still that community aspect of a hybrid model?
NYBeautySuites is built upon our community. Internally, our businesses collaborate to thrive and grow, leveraging content and resources. Externally, our community members from Brooklyn and beyond have found a new and innovative space for their beauty and wellness needs. It’s a model that enriches everyone.
Why is it important for wellness and beautypreneurs to prioritize the marketing side of their business, and how does NYBeautySuites assist with that?
Traditional paid marketing efforts tend to exclude many small businesses and entrepreneurs. More modern strategies such as content marketing, social media influencers, and viral visual mediums have the potential to be more efficient and cost-effective. That’s one of the primary reasons NYBeautySuites offers photography and podcast studios where members can prioritize both marketing and content initiatives that help maximize productivity. For example, this year we offered complimentary headshot photography for members, as well as one-on-one marketing consultation for assistance with branding, website development and more.
Since starting in 2021, you’ve opened 2 locations already! How has the journey been and what do you attribute its success to?
In short, the journey has been unbelievable. My partners and colleagues simply wanted to help our community and the businesses that define Brooklyn. Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Business Improvement District (BID) have been tremendously helpful and are so supportive of our community here. They have provided many resources for small businesses like us, from listing our website in various directories, highlighting our stories on their platforms, and collaborating on opportunities that help us expand. The truth is we have discovered a niche that was unforeseen until now. The space and event curated program are designed to support our business community where both members and partners can find value. We are growing fast, and we are so appreciative of our community members who believe in our visions—many have moved and signed the lease without seeing the final products! Success drives all of us: our communities, partners and the clients who have continually supported these small business owners here.
You’re very passionate about entrepreneurs and providing them with necessary resources to thrive. What advice can you give to new entrepreneurs on standing out in any industry?
Share, collaborate and connect. Expand the reach of you and your business through positive, supportive relationships. Find an experienced mentor. Shepherd a new professional. And maximize your network to grow. The sum of our parts is always greater than the whole, especially when we work together toward a common goal.
What’s next for you and your businesses? Any more expansions in the works?
Growth, and more growth! Our community has welcomed our businesses with open arms, and the demand for our workspaces is ever-growing. We recently expanded our location in Flatbush, and are looking to continue similar projects in the future. NYBeautySuites is also actively looking for strategic business partners to offer more value to our members, further enrich our community, and grow our amenity options.
For more information about Johanne Brierre and the NYBeautySuites, visit nybeautysuites.com!