“People call me successful. I’ll call myself successful when the business is running without me. I’ll be just sitting under a palm tree reading the reports.” June certainly fits my definition of a successful entrepreneur, if not her own. She opened her first salon in 1995 and has expanded to three Acapello Salons and the Men’s Room, with a total of 40 staff members. Her business has won national and local recognition. Acapello has been one of the Salon Today's (Vance Publishing) Top 200 salons in America for the last two years, and has just won a local “Best of the Best” business award for the fifth consecutive year. June plans to expand to still more locations where the market needs the exceptional quality her salons provide.
She is an industry expert, a technical expert, and a business expert. With the growth of her business, she has realized that she cannot be the only expert. June has hired top quality “partners” with great potential. It made sense to her to mentor her employees to realize their various potentials. She has recently shifted the structure of her business to develop selected staff members to become effective mentors themselves. June says “It motivates me as much as the new coaches to see how quickly they grow.”
June is an accomplished mentee, as well as mentor. She uses the Aveda organization to continue her own learning, which she brings back to the staff. She connects with owners of other larger and more successful salons for inspiration and guidance. She still turns to her original mentor, with whom she has worked for years. He has helped her most by asking direct and simplifying questions. She talked about a time when she was waffling about opening a salon in Scarborough, Maine. She approached and walked away from the idea three times, then asked for his help. She says “He asked me if I wanted to grow my business. I said ‘yes.’ Then he asked me if I could do it in my current space. I said ‘no.’ Suddenly, the choice was clear. He cut through the complications I’d created, and I knew exactly what to do. I opened the new salon. He never tells me what to do, even though he is an extremely successful expert. He just asks questions.”
Until recently, each Acapello and Men’s Room location had a manager, but the role seemed heavy for people who gravitate towards artistry and guest service. They have been trained in cosmetology, not business management, and the manager structure ceased to make sense. June would have had to hire “managers” from outside her organization. Instead, she transformed the leader role to one of “salon coach.” Individuals applied for the coach jobs, and were carefully selected according to their strengths and aspirations. June says “The goal is to get everyone to where they want to be. I partner with people who want to be successful.”