It started simply: a school project. Laura Côté, a South Salem resident, was studying cosmetology at Northern Westchester BOCES, where she had to design a business plan and present it to the class. “I wasn’t planning on starting a business,” she says. “I just wanted to pass.”
Côté had been working with children at a childcare program since she was 13 and was working at a salon after school—and saw how the two didn’t mix. “I watched how all the kids were having tantrums getting into the chair,” she says. “And the parents would get embarrassed. It’s stressful.” And, she admits, “a lot of stylists hate children. They tell me all the time.”
There came Côté’s idea for her school-assigned business plan: Happy Cutz, an at-home haircutting service for children. “I make the kids comfortable,” she says. “They play video games or read a book, and I cut their hair in their own bathroom or outside. Their parents can be making dinner at the same time, and the whole thing takes fifteen or twenty minutes.”
Côté’s BOCES class selected her presentation to enter the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s County wide BizPlan Competition—where it won, sending her on to the National BizPlan Competition. Today Côté, 21, runs Happy Cutz in-between studying business and marketing. After she graduates, she plans on doing Happy Cutz full-time. She charges between $20 and $35 per cut, depending on how far she has to travel.
If your kids are looking a little shaggy, but you dread taking them to a snooty, child-unfriendly salon, you can e-mail Côté at happy firstname.lastname@example.org.