Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dimitri Maragos, owner of Cocoon Hair, located in Mississauga, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a team of 2 artists in a micro-boutique salon that specializes in energizing haircuts paired with complimenting colors that accentuate a personalized look and feel. We are also home to the 2019 Toronto Hair and Beauty Awards Best Salon Makeup Artist Sabina Lozano.
Our clients want an experience that can't be easily found. Uniqueness, creativeness, exotic music with friendly faces. Healthy discussions that create a sense of real connection and trust.
Tell us about yourself
Sabina and I have always aspired to live a life of meaning. Where work is a central component of our self-identity, and through this career of creation, we have the opportunity to help people transform into the best version of themselves. The joy we bring to people's lives gets returned back to us, which in turn puts a spring into our step as we head back to the salon day after day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That is a great question. Actually, it is a series of events that cascaded together. For me, it all boils down to my apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon. I had finished university and decided my life needed a new direction. I had seen academia through to an honors BSc degree in Psychology but wanted something that had a more immediate and direct effect on people. I had no hair experience. I had not gone to hair school. I simply wanted to become a hairdresser and handed in a very artsy-looking resume in person at Sassoon. Landing an apprenticeship there felt like I was in the Harvard of Fashion. I thought, 'why not be as esteemed as any other professional'? This led to me working for the British outfit of Toni&Guy and then opening 2004 my own Toni&Guy franchise in Greece. The opening of that salon was an accumulation of thousand-lifetime dreams. Taking my trade global and being able to do the same work on different people, in different languages, with different cultural norms. It was the most life-expanding experience I could have ever asked for.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Understanding that you have to be all things to all people, at least when you are small. You are the hairdresser, marketer, banker, and educator. When we learn to be hairdressers, we learn to not only understand the current trends but also to predict the new trends trickling through society. The same foresight is needed as an owner. Is my location right? What does new talent want from a career? Am I building an environment that can attract future stylists? What interior design elements do I need to incorporate into my salon? What does 'getting a haircut' mean to the average person today, and what will it mean in 5 years? There are thousands of other salons someone can choose from. How can I ensure the right people are finding ours. It's always and in all ways about looking ahead.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure your skill set and work ethic are rock solid; You won't have time to second guess yourself. There will be so many other things to learn at the start of opening a salon that you want to be certain that your core skills are not in question.
- Ask yourself what is the skill that sets the salon and me apart from the current beauty landscape. Why does this salon need to exist? What is this salon's place in this world? Perhaps we are more social than other salons. Perhaps we are more Avant guard. Maybe it's the speed of services or the intimacy of being in a hair boutique. Whatever it is, make sure you can see and feel that special something and keep refining it.
- Get familiar with payment systems, booking systems, and website development (learn to do it yourself). Your website and social media presence will be your first impression and the main contact point for much of client interaction anytime they are not directly in the salon. Make sure it ascetically is consistent with the salon. This integration of virtual and brick and mortar works best when the transition feels seamless, integrated, and consistent.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
This is a journey. Remember the saying, 'Anything worth achieving is usually hard to achieve.' The rewards, though, last a lifetime.
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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