As for accountability—how can I not be accountable? When your name is on the door, you take the glory but also all of the blame when something goes wrong.
Throughout your professional history, what’s the best lesson you’ve learned after making a mistake?
Not to plan your business on a best-case scenario. It’s not a question of WHAT IF things go wrong, but WHEN things go wrong, because they will. You need to ask yourself, “How will I weather the storm?” and be prepared.
From whom or what do you draw your strength, courage, vision?
My husband, Arik. His creative sensitivity, dashing good looks, as well as his MBA and business experience, make me feel safe and inspired to continue building our business in good times and bad. From myself I get my drive and determination to succeed and to never compromise on my beliefs.
I also get it from books—Jim Collins, Sheryl Sandberg, Oprah. Also, reading interviews with CEOs about how they run their companies.
On TV I like A&E and CNBC biographies on those who have built a business legacy. They are a great reminder of how much perseverance it takes and that no business was ever built smoothly. Many have overcome not just setbacks, but even catastrophes.
As you grew your company, what, if anything, has held you back?
Being bogged down with salon operations and often unable to focus on growth and the bigger picture, as well as some of my own personality traits that I’ve had to work hard on to overcome. Owning a business brings to the surface all of one’s personal fears and inner challenges.
What is the number-one quality you look for when hiring employees, and how do you evaluate if they possess that trait?
The most important thing I evaluate when hiring is whether someone will be a good fit for our company. Over the past ten years, we have taken great pains to build the right team and culture. If someone’s personality or attitude goes against the grain, they stick out like a sore thumb and often become disruptive. Along those lines, the personal traits I look for are vulnerability, humility, an openness and desire to learn, as well as a strong work ethic. Overall manners and social graces are also important since we work with the public.
There are things I can teach and things I can’t, so what I focus on in prospective hires is the latter. I can teach them the technical craft and business building skills, but I can’t change their personality or their work ethic. A willingness to be a good student will eventually lead one to be a great stylist. During the interview process I can usually tell if someone possesses these qualities, and if not (since some are very skilled at interviewing), these challenges usually comes out during the initial 90-day probationary period.