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A Motivational Movement: Story of the Daymaker

Laurel Nelson | March 6, 2017 | 8:35 AM
David Wagner, who penned the book "Life as a Daymaker" launched Juut Salonspas 30 years ago.

Lighting the creative fire can be achieved in a variety of ways—some owners motivate through a sliding commission scale. Others use retail competitions. And some invest in outside education to inspire and support their staff.

David Wagner, owner of 11 Juut Salonspas in Minnesota, Arizona and California, is famous for a very different method of motivation—Daymaking. A daymaker is a person who performs intentional act of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.

The early years of Wagner’s career were in the 1980s, a time of materialism and self absorption. It was during this decade of decadence that Wagner, who opened Juut in the late ’80s, decided he wanted to run his business differently.

“I had this inkling that I wanted to be part of something not just cool, hip and fashionable, but also something with meaning and purpose,” he says.

In 1986, Wagner had a client who was planning to commit suicide. But after experiencing Wagner’s kindness and attention during her service, she did not, and later told Wagner how his compassion saved her life, which further propelled his desire to contribute to the world in a more significant way.

A student of anthropology, Wagner studied all sorts of cultures from gangs to the military in his pursuit to create the right culture for Juut.

What he discovered was that people want to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to feel connected—and Daymaking was born.

Inspired by the Daymaker Movement, Anthony Lickteig of Juut Salonspas, is attentive of every detail of customer service.
Inspired by the Daymaker Movement, Anthony Lickteig of Juut Salonspas, is attentive of every detail of customer service.

“Beauty trends change seasonally, but Juut’s culture has not changed in 30 years,” Wagner says. “In fact, it has actually become more relevant as the world speeds up and people feel more disconnected than ever—kindness is the new black.”

Because of Wagner’s commitment to the movement, Juut employees are motivated to serve their clients with kindness, lift each other up and always look for ways to make someone’s day.

Andi Tarte, director of education at Juut, has been with the company almost 30 years, and focuses on teaching employees to be Daymakers for each other; in turn, allowing them to be Daymakers for their guests.

“When I think about how to guide them, I think about where it all starts—with David and Charlie Wagner,” she says. “The intention of love is such a real thing, and they are the ones who set that intention. David Wagner is the most generous salon owner in this industry—not just financially, but from his heart as well.”

The Daymaker culture permeates every part of a Juut employee’s life. Tarte says it comes down to making a choice every day, every hour and every minute—to see what’s right in things or what’s wrong.

“We’ve been talking about love as one of our values for the last 20 years,” she says. “And that was really brave back then—nobody else was doing it. But we jumped in with two feet.”

Maria Sapletal, manager at Juut’s uptown Minneapolis location, has been with the company for eight years. For some of those years, she managed the academy, where she coached new stylists through their training, including a weekly Daymaker class.

During the Daymaker classes, students from all different backgrounds and areas come together to find themselves and learn how they can impact the world.

“It’s a cool bonding experience because we learn not just what our purpose is in being an artist, but also how we can change our clients’ day, year, etc.,” Sapletal says. “Students feel empowered by the fact that they have that purpose and it’s so much more than a job.”

Sapletal continues,“It’s not about the beauty industry for me—it’s about the environment I’m in and the tools I’m given. I don’t take that for granted. It has changed me personally and professionally.”

Wagner’s Daymaking movement is three decades strong and thriving. His employees keep it alive and breathing every day, and Wagner himself speaks inside and outside the beauty industry on the topic.

“Daymaking is never going to go out of fashion,” he says. “It’s only going to become stronger as the world is more in need of simple kindness, compassion and inspirational acts of love.”

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