Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Malina Tang, owner of Salon Gamme, located in Montréal, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a hair salon specializing in coloring, primarily for dark hair. I've been blonde for several years, but I'm of Asian descent and have naturally dark hair. I was often intercepted to find out who my hairdresser was, and that's how I built my own clientele and eventually the salon and my team. Of course, we offer our services to everyone, but we tend to attract customers with the same hair type as me. Other salons go so far as to refer these clients to us.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Malina Tang, and I am 35 years old. I completed my hairdressing course at the Académie Tornade in Montreal in 2009. Following the course, I did little work as an employee and quickly started taking on clients on my own.
In 2018, the previous owner of the salon where I was working was looking to sell the business. My colleagues didn’t want to stay through the change and wanted to follow me if I opened up another salon. So I decided to buy the salon with my husband rather than open one from scratch.
Today, we have eight employees and are actively looking for new talents.
My team and my clients are sincerely what motivates me every day. I hope to be able to continue to inspire my team to make a good living in the hairdressing profession and continue to style my clients' hair during various important events in their lives, such as their graduation, wedding, etc.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Before becoming an owner, I would see some of my co-workers sometimes sitting around all day without having a single customer. These colleagues often came up to me asking for tips about Instagram, marketing, and hairdressing technique since I was always busy with clients. Today, in contrast, we are so busy that we seek time for ourselves. I see my stylists being able to go on dining out, doing activities, travel, and even buy themselves a house. Seeing my team progress both in their career and personal life is probably my greatest accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think it's probably finding the right balance between being professional and having empathy and compassion for my team. It is also difficult to make big decisions for the good of the whole team, knowing it can be a concern for others. Of course, we would like to please everyone, but it is not always possible.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Whether you start a small business or go solo, treat it like a real business. This means developing a business plan, having an elaborate marketing plan, opening up a business bank account, separating everything from your personal finance, etc.
- Do some calculations! It's important to do the math and make sure your business is profitable! Numbers never lie.
- Prioritize customer service. Every company claims to do it, yet few actually practice it. I like to use my experience as a client with other businesses as an example with my team, then we discuss it and learn from it. The customer doesn't always have the same perception of the service as you, and it helps us improve to see it from their side.
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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