Despite having the salon for nearly 7 years now, I have never stood proud of the business that my team and I built, too embarrassed by what others may think of me, selfish I know, so here goes....
My name is Shauna, I never really wanted to own a salon but others saw in me what I couldn't, strength, determination, and passion. I love my clients, always have and always would but it wasn't enough for me to actually own a salon. Over the years we have certainly had our ups and downs, and my staff, clients and a few other significant people in my life stood by me, guided me and pushed me. And every so often I have a moment like today when I am reminded of why I began hairdressing 14 years ago.
When I first starting studying I really struggled to land a job in hairdressing, apparently at 19 I was too old, that was the day I found my need to be in the industry, my need to give everyone a fair go, everyone had to start somewhere, to gain experience, the opportunity so many refused me. I decided that I was going to own a chain of salons and employ primarily apprentices to give them a start in their career. But then I got a job in what I thought was the perfect salon, I had a job, we had a great team, I finished my training, I was finally a hairdresser and slowly my dream faded.
A few years past, and over those years I met some fantastic clients, lets call them friends, I looked forward to their visits every 6-8 weeks, I'd skip lunch and work overtime just to accommodate all of the wonderful people in my life (my clients) until I was reprimanded by my boss for not following protocol, they were clients not friends, I was not allowed to talk personally only about hair. Who wants to talk about hair for the whole time they are in the salon!? And on top of this, I was to force people to buy retail! I hated my job, hated the industry, but still loved my clients.
I then moved on to rent a chair in a small salon to care for my clients, there was no way I could walk away and see them treated so poorly at that salon, and our friendships continued to grow. You wouldn't believe it but over the years my clients have asked me to their family parties and gatherings, to the birth of their children, to their weddings and more, as a friend!
Then with a big push from some amazing people in my life I went on to buy Roots Hair Company, small confession I hated the name for a while because everyone had their mind in the gutter, I had my moments too haha. It grew on me, I figured no one would ever forget it. It was great that I could talk to my clients/friends about life, personal stuff without someone listening ready to pounce when I crossed the line from only talking about hair. As the business continued to grow I realised how our salon was different to others and that I now had a new need to be a hairdresser!
I realised firstly that my team and I didn't fit the stereotype of a hairdresser, we weren't better than anyone else, we weren't over the top trendy people, we weren't fashionistas that spent hours getting ready everyday, we were just regular Joe's, well actually Jane's, we were friendly, approachable people. No one ever felt like they had to spend an hour styling their hair just to go to the hairdresser to get their hair done. We were our clients friends, not like in a "hairdresser is a therapist" kinda way, like a true friend, we had the same hobbies, interests, sense of humour (usually sarcastic) and we could truly relate to our clients. And this then became the foundation of my business! CLIENTS ARE FRIENDS!
Everyone I employee shares the same hobbies and interests, is encouraged to sit and simply chat with their clients, and lets be honest if your hairdresser doesn't have enough time or sense to sit and get to know you how could they possibly listen and understand you and your needs and then deliver on them (more on that later). The girls are not forced to sell retail or more services, just simply to build a friendship!
Do you have a friendship with your hairdresser?