Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lena Reitz, Co-Owner of Hair Boss Salon, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I co-own and operate a Hair Salon in Hollywood, CA, called Hair Boss. What sets us apart from other salons is we specialize in Hair Extensions and really elevate the services that we provide when it comes to working with Hair Extensions. We also have specialists who color, cut and style like conventional salons, but with the knowledge to work skillfully and mindfully with hair extensions in a safe and non-damaging way. Often Hair Extensions are secondary to the services provided in salons, where it is a primary service our team specializes in and receives ongoing training to be at an expert level. Our clientele is vast and extends from the entertainment industry to nurses, moms, and everything in between! Typically anyone is looking for an enhancement to their hair, whether that is subtle or exaggerated! We get a lot of referral business because our clients tell their friends and family about us, so it's exciting to meet and service the extended loved ones of our dedicated clientele!
Tell us about yourself
I always say I have been obsessed with hair since I was very young. As early back as I can remember, I was styling hair for my friends, family, barbies, and dolls. I remember once being at a Renaissance fair as a kid and standing and staring at the booth where they were doing hair braiding; just mesmerized and couldn't wait to try it out at home. Then as a teenager, I got into metal music and loved how the artists in the bands had really unique hairstyles. It's what sparked the intrigue to get into Hair Extensions and specialize in hair design so I could make extraordinary and unique hair. Once I got my first salon job in Hollywood at age 17, I learned natural hair extensions. When I completed my first installation on a training model, I immediately took it out and wanted to do it again and again and make it better each time. Once I got to the stage where I felt I had perfected that method, I moved on to learn all the available methods on the market. Eventually, I created and trademarked my own method called Skinny Weft. I now offer education to stylists who want to become certified, and I have opened multiple successful salons where this has become our signature method. It spread like wildfire, and once clients tried it out, it became their preferred method! The demand is what keeps me growing the business and continuing to push us to be the best that we can be. Seeing and hearing all of the positive feedback from clients and how life-changing this method is, gives me a sense of purpose!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I wouldn't say there is just one big accomplishment. In our second year of being open, my Canada salon location won Best Hair Extension salon in the whole province of Alberta, then shortly after, our Hollywood salon location won Best of West Hollywood Hair Extensions. These were very proud moments. I'm also elated by the little things. Such as every single positive review we receive from a client with such nice things to say about their experience. Also, being able to do interviews like these and share my story and hopefully inspire others! I always give back!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think everyone is going to have a different perception of their experience being a business owner. I personally felt relief when other entrepreneurs expressed that it is okay not to have it all figured out and to expect to make many mistakes. In the beginning, I sometimes felt like all of the challenges and adversities were too much to handle and that it was impairing my ability to be proud of what I had built or take in those moments where people would express being proud of me and excited for what I was accomplishing. I felt like my excitement was under layers of self-judgment, imperfections, and feelings of letting myself or others down. I had to work really hard at letting myself be okay with making mistakes and not being perfect.
If I was to narrow this down, I would say the hardest part for me was trying with every ounce of capacity I had to be a good enough leader to my staff amongst all of the challenges I was facing as a new business owner. You have to work hard at keeping yourself positive and motivating a team while being the one to also be wearing all of the hats and dealing with all of the growing pains of a new business. Sometimes It's just next to impossible to remove all of the emotion out of your leadership, especially if you are managing and owning/operating your own business. It's hard having to be the enforcer of rules and maintain your standard, and lay down the law when at the same time, you grow close with your team. I feel like learning boundaries and overcoming this is a constant work in progress. No one is perfect, but I'll never stop trying to grow and do better.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get a business coach or mentor.
- Knowledge is power. Keep on learning, taking classes, and growing.
- It does get easier! Every adversity has within it the seed to an equal or greater opportunity - (Napoleon Hill). I always reference this! Lean on your mentors and support group and overcome every challenge you are faced with. You will always come out stronger and grow your capacity to handle situations as they come. Think solution-based instead of staying stuck in the problem.
- I'll throw in a 4th! Make sure you go by the book! Learn your laws and follow them! Get good HR support and get all your paperwork in tact!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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