* I didn't have to worry about what I was wearing or how my appointment-prepped hair looked like. I also didn't have to worry about the weather.
* I had control of the ambiance, including what TV show to watch and what music, if any, to play.
*The prices weren't that much more expensive than a typical upscale black salon. Yes, I could have gotten my braids done for cheaper at a random braiding shop in Harlem or Brooklyn, but it wouldn't have been as convenient or specialized.
* Be very clear and direct about how you'd like your hairstyle to look. I knew I wanted square sections, a defined middle part, and undone ends with a bohemian wave pattern. Ella did ask about the length and width of the braid, but I had to address the other details. But again, Ella was very receptive of my requests.
* Make a note that you'd like your stylist to be on time, especially if your appointment is centered on a timely event. I'd been advised to schedule my 6-hour appointment for 7AM (long braids = long time), but Ella didn't arrive until 7:26AM (although she did send a text at 6:55 that she was on her way).
* Also note whether your stylist should be in a certain dress code for your appointment. Ella was dressed very casually, which was fine with me, but her outfit might not have been appropriate for a professional shoot, for example.