We understand that finding a good salon is crucial. I personally went through phases where I would travel to get my hair in shape. Trusting someone with your hair is a big deal- you trust them to make decisions for you to look and feel your best. A hair salon is no different to a therapists’ office- they offer you confidence in looks and leave you with sage wisdom and guidance to maintain your best.
I went through tens of salons in my lifetime that when I finally found someone that understood me, my character, what was right for the shape of my face, style, personality and in some cases, my job. I also love hair product and the use of good product is gold. Ultimately, I found a local spot, that I can finally recommend to friends. Once found, I was their loyal customer never having to change and even more so with children and no time to experiment. I needed someone whom I can trust my hair with.
However, during this journey I wondered- besides the stylist or dresser – what makes a good salon? A well oiled machine of a hair sanctuary? Years to perfect the service, values and of course, brand to earn credit. It is hard, especially in the ever changing hair and beauty industry. We came across Amanda Hair, CEO of Bob Steele Salons. Going by her name, you would probably think she was destined to be in the salon business. So if you’re thinking of starting a hair salon or perfecting your current establishment, you’ll want to book mark this interview that’s full of tips and wisdom from someone who knows the hair game inside out.
How did you end up in the hair dressing, salon world and becoming a stellar success?
I guess you could call it joyful serendipitous fate. A hairstylist came into the clothing boutique I managed and asked me to be a hair model for her next photo shoot. I did so and then became her client. In 2001, rethinking the lifestyle of retail management, I told my then stylist that I was thinking of a career change and I wanted to do hair! She talked to the owner, Bob Steele, who then came out and scheduled an interview with me. When I interviewed, I came in with the intent of becoming a hairstylist but Bob talked me into management, because of my previous experience. Three years later, I bought into the company and also got my apprentice license to be a hairstylist. One year after that, I became a mom and had to focus on growing the business and paying for my shares in the company, leaving no additional time to finish my apprenticeship to become a hairstylist.
My daughter is now 14 and we have 5 locations. We have tripled our revenue since I became President in 2004 and then CEO in 2009. I’ve received far greater joy by focusing on being a mom while supporting others by providing a sustainable work environment where hairstylists can passionately focus on honing their craft.
What did you do before Bob Steele Salons?
My life before Bob Steele Salon was in management in the fashion/retail industry with a couple of once well-known brick and mortar mall brands. I fell into the retail industry in high school as a part-time job and while in college, I was promoted several times. I eventually left college and began working full-time because I loved the mechanics of leadership and operational management.
What personal values do you carry over to your work (for success) and how does it impact your business?
I try to live every day in alignment with our company’s core values. That’s why I loved the salon company’s environment so much from the beginning. Our core values are C3HIC and we are ‘So Chic’ (our tagline), which stands for the following:
Our core values are our filters and guardrails on how we show up at work and at home. We try our best to mirror these values when selecting team members or when coaching team members to achieve their potential. When someone isn’t a good match, either personally or professionally, it’s usually because we don’t have the same core values. AND, that’s okay. If we aren’t the right fit, we want you to find the right fit. After all, everyone deserves to be happy!
What would you say is the most crucial leadership skill that you have to run 5 busy salons?
The ability to get back up every time I’m knocked down with the mindset to do it better and that failure is an opportunity to learn.
What’s the biggest joy in leading a team of stylists?
I enjoy seeing up-and-coming, mostly female hairstylists enter the workforce and become independent, self-sufficient, thriving, and prosperous entrepreneurs within the salon company. I admire how the artists of the salon company build meaningful relationships with their clients and grow a beautiful business within Bob Steele Salon. I also love seeing the leaders of the company grow into coaches to help others reach their full potential.
The ability to get back up every time I’m knocked down with the mindset to do it better and that failure is an opportunity to learn.Amanda Hair
What changes have you noticed in the business of hair?
Hair salons are rapidly changing due to social media and the onset of independent means of working. I think there is a fit for everyone within the salon industry and it really depends on what type of environment you choose and how well that matches with your personality and work ethic.
What are you most proud of personally and professionally?
Personally, I am most proud of the young lady my daughter has become. Seeing life through her eyes is the greatest joy and gift of my lifetime.
Professionally, I am proud of the impact that Bob Steele Salon makes within our community and the positive change that we have made in the lives of the stylists that do or have worked with us.
What are your essential tips for becoming a successful entrepreneur?
- There is no way a person can run a business alone, especially if you plan to scale. Having said that, you become the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with and for that reason, you should be very aware of who you choose to spend time with both personally and professionally. Take inventory of the people you spend time with and make sure that there is an equal exchange of positive energy within that relationship. If you are going to be growing a business, you need to be surrounded by people who refuel you, not deplete you.
- Take the time to identify what special benefits you can provide to your company and then build a team of people that fulfill all of the areas of your business that you can not.
- Make time to establish relationships with coaches to help you see blind spots and create a network of experts in many fields to exercise as resources when needed. For example, I am a member of many industry organizations to gain relationships with people experiencing the similar challenges. Use those opportunities to problem solve; chances are that someone there might have already been through a challenge you’ll experience. Side note: Most people are happy to share and help others through a path they’ve already created, so don’t feel bad for asking. Mentoring is one of the joys of failing and getting back up.
- Set time aside to work on the strategy of your business, regularly. Being in the weeds doesn’t get you to the next level.
- AIRPLANE RULE: Put your mask on first. If you can’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of the welfare of the rest of your company? Your job is always to make the best decisions and without being clear-minded, your decision making will suffer.
- It’s OK to say NO. Build this muscle and make saying no comfortable. Saying no is an art and will help you clear your path to the right yes.
Most people are happy to share and help others through a path they’ve already created, so don’t feel bad for asking. Mentoring is one of the joys of failing and getting back up.Amanda Hair
A piece of advice you’d give your 20 yr old self?
The goal is to help as many people as you can, without hurting yourself.
What inspires you every day and keeps you motivated?
Seeing growth within myself and watching the point when others believe in themselves and become prosperous.
A quote you live by.
“Every level of your life will require a different version of you.”