When the barber lounge turned 5 in January.
It got me thinking about how it all started and why I opened the barber lounge in the first place. So I revisited my old business plan and looked at pictures of how it all started, remembering past events and staff that has since moved on.
After working at various salons all around San Francisco, I couldn’t find a salon that felt like home, so I worked from my tiny apartment in the Castro. Washing my clients hair in a utility sink in my laundry room and watching The Rosy O’Donnell show or Oprah while cutting and coloring my clients hair in my little living room. I put my poor clients through a lot of moves all around the city. Working from my apartment allowed me to finally save enough money to buy my loft across the street from the barber lounge at the Yerba Buena Lofts. This was a great move up for me. It felt like a real business, I was on the ground floor and actually had a storefront and I finally hung my tile.
I was making great money, traveling a lot, I had an amazing clientele, but I was missing something. I missed working with a team having co-workers and working around other creative people. So I started to write a business plan, it changed a lot over time and finally I finished it in the spring of 2006.
I started to look for space downtown and noticed a for lease sign right across the street from my loft.
The space was quite a bit bigger then what I was looking for but I immediately had a vision of how the space would eventually look. I somehow got an SBA loan and used the equity in my loft and multiple credit cards to open the barber lounge. After almost a year of construction, planning and a lot of worry and stress we opened in January 2007.
I was the only stylist, I had one esthetician, Kristina at the front desk and Dean as my manager. Still working in a construction zone, I slowly started to build the business and the staff. There was a lot of stress and a lot of worrying especially when the bottom dropped out of the economy.
There were definitely times where I didn’t think I would make it. But I continued along, throwing parties and hosting events in the space, marketing and trying to recruit more staff.
Over the years the BL has carried multiply product lines and we even created our own private label line called “Barber Botanicals” before finally going Aveda Concept. Over the five years I’ve seen a lot of staff come and go, trying to get together the best team possible.
I’ve learned a lot about managing people, customer service and running a business through trial and error.
This was truly my business school education. Over the years maybe because of fear or maybe just trying to survive I lost track of what I really set out to achieve.
I set out to create something new and different and I set out to be the best.
So now… after 5 years of doing business, I’ve pushed the re-set button and re-launched the business. We have a fresh new website, a new outdoor sign and a new commitment to excellence and stellar customer service.
The old barber lounge as you have known it is over.
Its time to get back on track, to be new and different and to be the best!
And thanks to all those that have helped us get to where we are today.