We sat down with Lauren Hart of The Root Salon in Phoenix, AZ to learn all about her business. Lauren is a color correction specialist and prides herself on providing an incredible experience to every single customer. Her commitment to excellence has earned The Root Salon a spot on Salon Today’s Top 200 U.S. Salon list 7 years running. Read on to hear Lauren’s story.
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
I’ve been in the industry for almost 40 years. Prior to owning The Root Salon, I was running my business out of a small studio. It was pretty just me and my assistant, Roxanne. I was doing great! I had more business than I could handle and the huge wait list to prove it. The problem was the space. There just wasn’t any way to develop Roxanne any further. When a friend told me about an opportunity to move into a slightly larger space, I jumped at it. It really was an accident. I had no formal business plan but it has been an incredible experience.
I’m used to making things work. I grew up with parents that offered no support system to go to college, I entered a program at my high school that allowed me to go to beauty college at the same time that I earned my diploma. When I graduated, I was 3 months shy of 18 — the age you need to be to take the AZ Board. I took a shampoo position until I could get my license and worked my way up from there. The rest is history. I truly love what I do. I love my clients, my team, and my city.
Why do you love doing business here in Phoenix?
Well, Phoenix is my hometown. I grew up here. I’ve watched this city grow. The area I do business in has changed so much over time — it’s become some of the most expensive real estate in The Valley.
The climate also creates unique challenges for my industry. A lot of people move to Phoenix from all over the country. After a few weeks, they panic over how their hair is reacting to the dry climate. Being a woman who grew up here and a great hairstylist, I love being able to help coach new clients on managing this climate. Phoenix is such a friendly place and full of so much opportunity. I’m proof of that.
The best part is that Phoenicians love me as much as I love them. I’ve been included in Phoenix Magazine’s Best of the Valley for the past 4 years, Ranking Arizona’s Top 4 salons in the state for the past 5 years, and one of Salon Today’s Top 200 hair salons in the U.S. for the past 7 years. Don’t believe me? Check out my Yelp page!
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
Stay true to your brand.
I’ve faced a lot of challenges over the years. I’ve had employees walk out. I have had my fair share of ups and downs. Throughout the highs and lows, I always remember that I have a following who loves what I do and I just have to keep on doing it.
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
First, two very practical things:
Find a good mentor
Don’t borrow too much money (a good mentor will tell you that)
Second, be passionate — it’s the most important thing. Throughout the inevitable ups and downs, be sure that you are able to remember why you’re doing this. You may have moments where you ask yourself, “Is this worth it?” Your business is more than just you. I’ve had the ability to grow my employees and build career paths. I’ve been able to use my business as a way to give back and pay it forward. That’s what keeps me going.
Behind every business is a great story. Download the Yelp mobile app to find a great business in your area. Business owners, share your story on your Yelp by using the free tools at biz.yelp.com.