Each month, I’ll be featuring an entrepreneur, an industry leader, or expert in the field here on The Talk About Town with the focus on marketing, storytelling, and balancing dreams and the 9-to-5 grind.
Aimee Beam, Founder of Top Knots by Aimee, is an award-winning bridal hair specialist creating beautiful looks and helping women feel their very best for life’s most special moments. Aimee’s passion for all things beauty began early on and after almost a decade in the marketing industry, she’s become a full-time entrepreneur traveling from big day to big day with hot tools and her signature “Top Knots” look.
LG: Thanks for being with us today! Tell us about yourself!
Aimee: Thanks for having me, Lauren! I’m the owner and founder of Top Knots By Aimee (@topknotsbyaimee) – I have the pleasure of styling more than 100 brides a year with my team of 7 stylists in the greater Philadelphia, Jersey Shore, and New Jersey areas. I really love what I do – and pinch myself every day that styling brides on their wedding morning is the full-time job I created for myself. In addition to my NJ cosmetology license, I also have a degree in Journalism from Lehigh University. I live in the Philly ‘burbs with my husband Jon and 2-year-old son Max!
LG: How did Top Knots by Aimee begin?
Aimee: Almost every client asks me this! It happened by accident, but once I got a taste of the on-location wedding life, I was hooked! I had gone back to Cosmetology School after college with the aspiration of owning a hair salon, but once I was in school, I hated cutting and coloring! I was too far into the program to step away once I realized this (I went two years every night from 5-10 pm), but I was thinking about how I was going to use the skills I had learned. I always loved the beauty industry, my Mom was a manicurist, and I grew up around the salon. I got my first client by chance after meeting a makeup artist at a social event in Philadelphia, and she recommended me to the bride. I sweated my whole way through that first hair trial – the only photos I had to show her were of my mannequins! But she ended up loving her hair, and hired me, that was in May of 2013. After that first wedding at the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia, I was so energized by the “job” and the experience of delivering an exceptional wedding morning for a bride – loved everything about helping a bride get glamorous for her wedding day! I went home and started researching how to set up an LLC and built a website later that month. I had a clear vision of the dream job I could cultivate for myself! It would take me many years to make it my full-time job, but I moved forward slowly to ensure it was truly the full-time path that would make me feel fulfilled.
LG: We love your logo, website, and amazing photography. How did you decide on your brand?
Aimee: Thanks! Here is where I use my Journalism degree – I had learned how to build a website in college and I use SquareSpace. Our photos are all used with the permission of our client’s wedding photographers so we always have fresh photo content. The wedding industry is all about sharing – sharing content, sharing photos, and tagging each other for as much exposure as possible. As far as our logo, I wanted something clean that used my name and our photos speak to our level of hair artistry, so I didn’t want anything overly complicated for our logo. A “top knot” is a signature bridal look – obviously we specialize in countless hairstyles beyond this updo but that is where our name came from.
LG: How did you build Top Knots by Aimee’s marketing strategy? How do you attract and engage your clients?
Aimee: The wedding world is so unique! So much is vendor referrals and client referrals! I always stress to my team that every client is the most important client – not just the bride. So many of our brides hear about us because their friend was a bridesmaid loved her hair just as much as the bride! My inner circle of vendor friends in the industry are called “friendors” – these are talented wedding-related business owners that specialize in areas outside of hair – some are photographers, some are makeup artists, some are bridal dress shop owners…we all refer to each other and work together! When brides hire a team that has all worked together before we can collectively deliver a truly cohesive and special wedding experience! Putting time and energy to these relationships has been the best “marketing strategy.” As far as traditional marketing we spend the most time of Instagram – hair is so visual! We get our largest percentage of non-referral clients from Instagram. You can follow along over at @topknotsbyaimee.
LG: What has been a major success in your business? A fail?
Aimee: As a business owner, I fail often! But when you’re wearing so many hats, you get really good at fixing any of the said failures and work to find a solution quickly! As I’ve expanded my team, and am not on-site for every wedding anymore, I’ve learned you can never over-communicate enough when it comes to timelines and what is included in the services. I’ve also flat out have had clients want a total hair change and my rule is no one leaves unhappy. We always offer to start over and take everything out if a client isn’t 100% happy. There is so much I’m proud of about this business! I’m most proud that I’ve created a culture and clientele that other super talented hair artists want to be a part of – I seriously love my team of crazy talented bridal hair specialists!
LG: How do you manage the balance between your role as an entrepreneur with a growing team and your home life (including Max. . . the cutest toddler ever)?
Aimee: I’m still searching for the balance… in my opinion, you have to love what you that much because my business is a lifestyle, it’s not just a job. I get a lot of help which I’m eternally grateful for from my husband, parents, and in-laws. Their support is what makes me running full steam ahead possible! And Max, Max man gives me so much energy! He’s the best baby in the world!
LG: What’s your biggest piece of advice to entrepreneurs out there?
Aimee: I’ve never had one regret from leaving the traditional 9-to-5 world – if anything I wish I had the guts to do it sooner. I really feel like I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing, and am grateful for this adventure I’m on! Also, this life is a hustle – you really have to love it in your bones. It’s harder than any job I’ve ever had, but it’s the best.
LG: What’s the one thing you wish you could go back and tell your younger self?
Aimee: There is a crazy-beautiful SUCCESSFUL life outside of the 9-to-5. I was always so afraid to “break” the norms of what everyone else defined as success as far as climbing a traditional corporate ladder.
LG: Your work is amazing! What’s been the most memorable wedding or event you’ve worked so far?
Aimee: Recently, I was invited to be a part of a styled shoot at Terrain in Devon, PA alongside all the top wedding vendors I admire in the Philadelphia region. My first job out of college was at Terrain at Urban Outfitters Headquarters and it was a very “life coming full circle” moment for me. I moved to Philly for the Terrain job 10 days after graduation 11 years ago, I got the idea to go to beauty school while working at Terrain, and now I was the hired wedding hair stylist for a shoot that was going to be featured on Ruffled Blog at Terrain alongside every vendor I admire in Philadelphia.
Know someone planning a wedding or special event? Be sure to use Top Knots by Aimee and her incredible styling team!
Author’s Note: A special thank you to Aimee for her time and helping me grow as a marketing professional while we were colleagues!