Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Morgan Kruizenga, owner of Chemistry Salon, located in Berkley, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Chemistry Salon is a state-of-the-art, sustainable and educational-based salon located in downtown Berkley Michigan. I will only partner with responsible-green bio-diverse companies (such as Davines, Natulique, and Cult & King) that are in line with our belief in making beauty truly beautiful. We are also one of the few Green Circle Salons in Michigan. Through Green Circle, we are able to recycle and repurpose over 95% of our waste, so it doesn't end up in a landfill. My mission has always been to create the most eco-friendly, creative, educational, and original salon experience for both hairdressers and clients, so I made sure Chemistry Salon manifested that for all our future generations. I have always had a passion for education and growing the next generation of hairdressers. Chemistry Lab Education is my fast-track advanced education program that every stylist here is a part of. This program helps inspire and create successful hairdressers. We also bring in Global and National Educators throughout the year with our in-house education.
Tell us about yourself
I have always been passionate about hairdressing and have been in the industry for over 35 years. I was fortunate to attend a trade school and was able to graduate from high school and cosmetology school at the same time. My background from the start of my career has always involved aligning myself with educational, creative, and high fashion hairdressing companies.
In the '90s, I had the opportunity to join the Toni & Guy Ambassador program. Which gave me the chance to become a platform artist, then a local and national educator, and later grew into the role of the Midwest Educational Director. After about ten years in these roles, I was selected to become one of the few art directors in the USA to launch the Toni & Guy New York Madison Avenue Salon. At this location, I was able to work as both a hairstylist and an educator. Some of my training and inspiration have come from traveling and studying with top hairdressing Academies. Continuing Education is a key component of the culture at the salon. After working at the Madison Avenue Salon for a couple of years, I returned home to Michigan and started growing my family.
In 2018, my husband Ken and I started looking for a salon location. We found an over 80-year-old transmission shop in Berkley, MI, and started the ten-month renovation. In May 2019, we opened Chemistry Salon.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been staying on target with my goals. Such as having a space that encourages creativity and sustainability and is doing good not only in numbers but also in how we take care of each other and the planet for future generations. Being a woman-owned small business that offers health insurance and a simple IRA plan for my employees was at the top of my goals, and I was able to stick to my goals even though the pandemic started within the first year of being open.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Struggles are always worth it! The beginning stages of getting your Business started and matching your vision are the hardest part. Taking on a project of this kind was painstakingly hard; when we eventually found it, there were so many obstacles to overcome. We wanted to make a positive impact on the community wherever we were entering. So when we fell in love with an over 80-year-old transmission shop in Downtown Berkley, we knew a big project was coming.
My husband Ken and I then started the enormous task of transforming a dilapidated building into a very beautiful, green, low carbon footprint modern salon. This was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done (and I've done some unconventional and hard things in my life). That's another story, though.
However, I would not change a thing about this journey. I'm not sure if it's good karma or just luck, but through this process, so many things that seemed at the time to be a challenge or disaster ended up being a blessing. Sometimes we have to trust the universe's divine timing. I'm very grateful for this experience and learned to always keep your goals front and center, believe in yourself, and get ready to work.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Keep to your business plan - why is your business unique from other businesses like yours. Try to differentiate your business in at least 2-3 different ways from other businesses. Whatever your vision is, stay true to the original plan; however, you should always stay nimble, so you can pivot when you need to.
- Make sure you have capital; I would say it is best not to over-leverage in loans, and having a great Accountant is a must!
- Always plan for growth and an exit plan. Do as much homework as you can before you open, such as: a business and employee policy manual and a good POS system, and look into B-Corp companies that are leaders in both being business for the force for good and environmentally conscious!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are a 'grow within' company and respect work-life balance, so there are always opportunities for our employees to grow with us. We offer health insurance and a simple retirement IRA for our employees. We have five stylists on the floor and two assistants, Erica and Quillian, that are growing rapidly. Quillian, my daughter, is our salon coordinator and our first apprentice, getting ready to test to get her license.
We offer a range of hair services at Chemistry. Here are some of our Stylists' specialties but not limited to:
-Valerie VanSlambrouck- designed cuts, dimensional color, and tape-in extensions.
-Jaclyn Wilhelm- blowouts, balayage, hand-tied weft extensions, and dimensional highlights.
-Hannah Fitteg- bob cutting, creative color, updos, and multiple highlighting techniques
-Katrina Rollins- curly hair, modern shag, tailored cuts, creative color, and highlights.
-Morgan Kruizenga- styling, tailored cut and color, precision cutting, balayage, and highlights
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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