Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?

I grew up in Lake Villa. I have worked in Libertyville for 30 years! Owned my salon 23 years.

 

Do you have child(ren)? Age(s)

Yes, A grown daughter 28 years old! She is a Urgent Care PA in Des Moines Iowa.

What are your favorite things to do in the area with and without your kids? Family friendly restaurant? Date night?

My husband and I love Independence Grove for a nice hike, we also enjoy local 5Ks at the park. We also enjoy supporting the restaurants in Libertyville.

 

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!

I own Allure Designs Salon in Libertyville located in Downtown on Milwaukee ave. The salon has won industry awards the last 5 years being awarded as a top 200 salon in the US by Salon Today.

We have won awards for our employee compensation, benefits, Retail and merchandising, customer service, profit center, education program and Growth of the company.

We have a unique business model offering employees a paid training & internship the first year of employment, full benefits such as health, dental, vision, disability & life, insurance. Vacation pay, maternity pay, profit sharing bonus, 401k plan and off-site education. Our stylists enjoy traveling to advance their education. We sent a stylist last year to a New York academy, Fashion week in London, business seminar in Texas and New Orleans for Serious Business.

I am on the board of Libertyville’s MainStreet and a co-chair of the Economic Vitality business group. I love helping other businesses find success and giving back to a town that has supported my company.

 

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

Libertyville has been a wonderful place to own a business. The community really supports their local businesses. I have loved owning a business in Libertyville. First Fridays, Farmers Market, Wine about Winter and Lunch in the Park has helped us get exposure and bring new customers into the business.

 

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m an introvert. Being in front of people on a daily basis is not easy for me but I love people and the interactions we have at the salon. I would rather be in the background and watch my staff thrive. I’m a simple girl who loves anything salon or fashion related. Decorating is also a passion of mine. The clients know there is constant changes in the salon decor. Rarely will they arrive at the salon and have it look the same as their prior visit. Something will be moved or different.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?

20 Years ago I went through a divorce. A client suggested I take my daughter out to dinner once a week to connect with her out of the house. It was the best advice! We connected on a deeper level and she was away from her friends, tv and the PHONE! (I wouldn’t let her be on her cell phone during our time together.)

 

What are your favorite places to travel near and far and why?

I love the Caribbean, Italy, France, Greece and Croatia.

My husband and I took a trip last year with my daughter and her Fiancé and it was a trip of a lifetime! We flew to Portland Oregon and rented a car and drove down the coast to the redwoods in California. Stopping at national parks. We drove back up the coast to Cannon Beach in Oregon and enjoyed campfires on the beach, the most beautiful sunsets, sunrises & seafood!


Which podcasts and/or TED Talks inspire you the most?

Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, Robin Sharma, and Mel Robbins are my favorites!

 

Tell me about your favorite book/s.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Leaders Eat Last, Girl Wash your Face, Start with the Why, Braving the Wilderness and The Universe Has your Back and Chop Wood Carry Water are at the top of my list!

 

What is next for you?

Survive and Thrive this year in spite of the COVID pandemic! Help my community and city put their lives and businesses back together this year.

I decided to Create a new business model for my company as I was forced to close the doors March 18th. Here is what we have done in 4 short weeks. I am still employing my full-time employees and part-time employees during our closure.

Here are some highlights:

I voluntarily closed my doors a few days before Governor Pritzker ordered the mandated closings for non-essential business. This was my way of doing our part to slow down the spread of this deadly disease.

I am going into our third week of closure for services. This was 75% of my business prior to COVID .

I decided to keep my team on payroll for as long as my cash reserves would allow. I wanted to keep the staff working to preserve their health insurance and mental state. Ive been in business for 23 years and have a unique business model for a salon.

We offered guaranteed salaries, full benefits, such as health insurance, 401K, vacation & sick days, maternity pay, paid education. I don’t pay commission on ANYTHING. The team has a shared bonus pool each month above their salary. This has taught them to always operate as a team. I push them daily to have the “WE” mindset.

After a few days of closing, I had a zoom meeting with my staff to let the full time employees and part-time employees know I would be creating work for them to work virtually and rotate into the salon to ship out inventory. I created teams to work on specific projects. We have accomplished the following in such a short time. The revenue instantly started pouring in! Its no where close to what it was, but if it continues, I will be able to keep the staff working remote until we open!

During the first week of closure I started “Connection Calls.” I would call each employee  and check in on how they were doing.

The staff was in distress! Very stressed and anxious and not ok with not feeling productive. The calls were broken up into the following topics.

  1. Personal
  2. Where the employee feels “stuck”
  3. What are they doing to continue making healthy choices. (Diet, exercise, fun, entertainment.)
  4. What did they feel they could do to contribute to the business while we were shut down. I pointed out their strengths and ideas I thought they could do while working remotely.

I could hear the hope and aspiration in their voices as I painted a picture of us all working remotely during the closure. I realized what I have always known. People want to shine and work to contribute to society. They just need Leadership!

I created a remote work plan for the team within 4 days of our closure. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it was possible for a Salon Team to work remote and bring in revenue.

I created a shared Google Doc where they log their hours and work on shared projects. I created team captains for project management and education. Taught them ZOOM and other tools to work remote.

Here is what we accomplished in two weeks:

We launched an online Shopify store for all of our boutique items and products. This was on my year “to do” list and we will have it completed in a very short time, due to the great effort by my staff members.

The staff has made 15-20 videos to promote our salon products and releasing them daily. Check out my FB personal or the Allure page. We have product orders rolling in daily from these videos.

I have set up virtual education for the stylists and estheticians.  We are going through the Sassoon academy and learning their core haircuts virtually! Our educators are doing virtual lessons to follow up with the staff to make sure they are learning the styles correctly. Everyone took home a mannequin and stand our last day of work to continue their education. Estheticians are learning new spa services virtually too.

The staff is creating virtual classes for our community. For example, one is a braiding class. We teach kids how to make a braid board using items from home and then how to braid.

We did a “Brews and Braids” class where fathers can learn how to braid their daughter’s hair.

We launched DIY Kits and sold 35 in the first two days. We found a way to make professional salon services. The DIY clients get a virtual consultation unless they feel they don’t need one.  We will send a kit with everything, a “how to” video, and a step by step guide. Virtual consultations are available for new clients for a $30 charge.

DIY Facial Kits went live and within an hour we sold 10 kits!  They are a huge hit.

One of our stylists is a personal trainer. She is creating staff workouts and meditations. The first mediation was geared for employees to look at themselves as a leader. I have seen an improvement in their moods and attitudes since the closing was a shock to all of us.

My staff is writing blogs daily while connecting them to products and services.

I’ve been able to pay my staff at this point so they don’t need to file for unemployment. I keep telling them it’s because they push so hard when our doors are open. It allowed me to have a good savings plan. I am currently paying their health insurance premiums 100%.

A couple people have asked if Im concerned about clients learning how to do these services themselves after life goes back to what it was. Here is my response. “ Life will never be the same as it was one month ago! Its a new normal and we need to look to the future and how we can innovate as times change. I refuse to not do things out of FEAR. This is a whole other issue. We can’t just expect the government to always bail us out. YES, we need the money from the government but we also need to help each other to not only survive this but THRIVE during this year. This will allow us to deal with the insurmountable debt our country has taken on.

One client messaged us after using our DIY color glossing kit. She stated that she has a new respect for our industry and will NEVER be doing these services at home again. She is still working remote, and appreciated having her DIY boxes to look professional while working remote. She also said she felt better immediately after using the boxes

We hope you are able to adapt and pivot as well to thrive during this time!

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