Ask any salon owner what their biggset challenge is and I would bet money (I don’t gamble normally) they would say staffing. You may ask what about staffing is hard? Well, everything. Everything from getting good candidates to apply, to ensuring they are properly trained, and even ensuring they are open and nice to clients. Oh, they have to show up too! It’s not easy.
David and I have had the salon for 29 years We were kids in our 20’s, having no idea what we were doing yet loving the challenge. Throughout the years we have had some excellent hairstylists. We had no management experience so we learned on the job. What seemed hard and uncomfortable became second nature. I like to think we became better and more empathetic to the people who deserved empathy.
We operated most of our 29 years at 30th and Baseline, it is a 1970’s north facing strip mall. We kept stylists on a average of 3-4 years in that location. At 3 years a good hairstylist should be seeing her clientele grow and be consistently busy and having a stable paycheck. In other words, a awful time to move. So that was always disappointing.
When we realized our location was being considered for redevelopment, we got nervous enough to start looking to buy our salon’s next location. As luck would have it, there was a very rare opportunity in North Boulder to buy a 1000 square foot spot. We were taking out loans and spending money on our new salon in March of 2007.
In our first year at 4550 Broadway (our new spot) we lost all our stylists from the old location and we hired some stylists that were not the right fit. They didn’t stay. It was a tough time.
In April of 2008, a young stylist walked into the salon. Her name was Shauna and she was looking for a new salon to move her clientele to. We sat in the back room and instantly made a connection. I remember thinking, “We speak the same hair language.” My luck really started to change after hiring Shauna. We hired some other long term, lovely stylists and the business started to take off.
Shauna was a big help in our hiring success. We interviewed potential stylists together and we got good at it. Not everyone worked out but we hired a great (the dream team) team of long term stylists. We interviewed a beautiful, blonde girl, I admit I was intrigued by her looks and she was nice. In hindsight there numerous red flags during the interview and it would not have worked out. I avoided that because Shauna felt strongly she was not a good fit. I passed on her and I’m convinced Shauna saved me time, money and heartache. I’ve never had a good luck charm, I felt I had found one, in a person, in Shauna. I’m not kidding.
We were able to build a team that stayed for 7-10 years, making it easier on clients and general operations of the hair salon. When you have a team of professionals who know what it takes, you don’t have to manage them. They manage themselves.
Last July, David and I started talking to Shauna and her husband Juri about buying the salon. Shauna is ready to start on this journey of business ownership and I couldn’t be more proud of her and us for being able to keep our first baby, Chicago Hair Salon, operating long after we are gone.
Shauna and Juri are the new owners of Chicago Hair Salon. You can still find David and I in the salon on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays just doing some hair.
The last 2 years has been the easiest, funnest and most serene time for me as a salon owner thanks to Shauna, Palmer, Amanda, Sarah, Bekah and Kara. It is a great way to leave it