Editor's Note: Congratulations to Melodie for successfully making it through her first year as a new salon owner! You can read all of Melodie's posts by clicking on the Melodie tag at the left column of this blog, under "Post Categories." If you are a new salon owner and want to be our next Blueprint of a First Year blogger, e-mail sree.roy[at]bobit.com and tell us a little about your new salon.
Today is our one-year anniversary. It has been an amazing year, and I can say that I've never enjoyed being in this industry more than I do now. After owning a salon many years ago I wasn't sure if I was making the right decision by opening up a new salon in an area where I knew literally no one. I also had been burnt out so much from my previous salon experiences. At the same time, I knew that working for someone else just was not an option. This has proven to be an adventure of a lifetime. It's had its ups and downs but mostly ups. We've had to overcome several obstacles but have made it through our first year relatively well.
One obstacle was the fact that we selected a very unconventional location to open up. This may not have been such an obstacle had we already been established. But we weren't established and were starting from scratch. Going into a warehouse had both advantages and disadvantages. We were able to keep our overhead low while we built our reputation. This location provided conversation pieces when we were out in the public (everyone was interested in why we would go into a warehouse and where the warehouse was). So it has generated a lot of curiosity. Being here also provides an "escape" for our clients. The inside looks totally different from what you would expect when you drive up, and it gives the feel of being "transported" into another world. The downside to this location has been not having other businesses to draw off of and not having the walk-in traffic. We sit back off the road a bit so are not easily visible, and it is a turn-off to some folks (a rare few that is). But the good far outweighed the bad. And the drawbacks just meant we had to get out in the public a bit more. It forced us to up our game and actually get out and meet people rather than waiting on them to find us.
The other major obstacle was starting out on a shoestring budget. This has not been easy to overcome but we have managed. We have learned to just grow with the business. We were originally going to start a renovation of our unused portion of the building. But due to the cost involved we had to put this on hold. We made the decision to be a debt-free company, so borrowing the money to finish the space just was not an option. So we've just been working on things a little at a time as finances permit. It will just take us a little bit longer to see the renovations complete. But that's OK. We are not in a hurry.
—Melodie, Tickled Pink Salon & Nail Spa, Clayton, N.C.