Cindi Quinn-Ventura knew she was going to work in the beauty industry long before she ever opened Katherine Drew Salon in Livonia, Michigan—she just wasn’t sure what her career was going to look like.
“I grew up on a farm, and beauty rituals were not part of my life—I didn’t even wear makeup until I got to college,” she says.
And when Quinn-Ventura discovered the world of hair and makeup, she fell in love. However, she wasn’t confident she could take care of herself financially with a career in beauty, so she used her degree in business to launch a successful corporate career.
Pursuing a Passion
After decades working in corporate America and gaining experience in marketing, human resources and finance, Quinn-Ventura was ready to become a salon owner.
“In September 2018 I retired from my corporate job and purchased an established salon from a friend,” she says.
The first few years were rough. Quinn-Ventura experienced staffing changes, had an accident that put her out of commission while she recovered, and finally, weathered a global pandemic.
But she emerged stronger and even more dedicated to her business plan and mission.
“I took advantage of the pandemic shut down and rebranded the business,” she says. “I came up with a new name, repainted, hired a business coach and got all new systems before I reopened in June 2020.”
All Systems Go
Upon relaunching the salon, Quinn-Ventura’s goal was to find the most efficient systems to decrease chances of human error while maximizing her bottom line.
During Covid, she joined the Beauty Business Reset (BBR) group, an online community that hosted weekly webinars featuring different vendors or salon owners.
“I was able to vet systems through other owners in the group,” Quinn-Ventura says. “Experienced owners were asking questions, helping me streamline the process.”
She ended up bringing on Rosy Salon Software, integrating it with Salon Ninja, an automated marketing system.
“Then I added Vish, a color management software, to my toolbox,” she says. “Those three systems all talk to each other.”
When paired with a new website, a strong internet search presence, social media, and Quinn-Ventura’s marketing background, these systems helped create a strong foundation for a successful business.
Technology tools are just a part of Quinn-Ventura’s story. She has also put a strong focus on her culture to ensure a thriving business.
“We have a team environment,” she says. “Everyone is involved in helping hire new people, who must fit in with our vibe.”
Quinn-Ventura also spends a lot of time on employee engagement, helping her stylists keep their chairs booked, supporting them with education and conducting one-on-one meetings, where they discuss personal and professional goals.
“I also do little things like bring in lunch or host a happy hour,” she says. “I want them to feel a personal connection to me—not just a team connection.”
When Quinn-Ventura relaunched her business after the shutdown, she wanted Katherine Drew to appeal to everyone. So she structured her front desk to accept different forms of payment, including American Express, as well as contactless forms of payment. She prominently features the free signage and supplies American Express provided her, so she can let her customers know which payment methods she accepts so they can pay the way they choose.
“A lot of guests are thankful we were accepting American Express,” she says.
And as a small business owner, Quinn-Ventura says American Express is an important part of her success and elevates her image in the eyes of her guests. American Express provides ongoing support to small businesses year-round through the Shop Small® Resource Hub where small business owners have access to complimentary marketing supplies and resources; the Business Savings Suite for services ranging from technology to shipping solutions; and Business Class for Merchants, featuring insights, tips, and inspiration, and more.
“I use my Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card to make business purchases with my vendors,” she says.
“I also use my Card to make purchases that support our education initiatives,” says Quinn-Ventura. “like flying in amazing educators.”
Planning for Profitability
Quinn-Ventura currently has 12 stylists, two lash techs and a paramedical tattoo artist, who specializes in scar and stretch mark camouflage.
“I try to offer services other salons in my area don’t have,” she says. “It takes a lot of creativity and research to offer services that aren’t available at my competitors.”
In addition to the paramedical tattoo artist, Quinn-Ventura has also added an infrared sauna and a Hydrafacial machine.
“I’m seeing a big move towards optimizing your health,” she says. “So we added these spa services to meet that need and give my business a competitive edge.”
Always learning and evolving, Quinn-Ventura recently won a grant that included business coaching from a local college, and she continues to attend those BBR calls to network with other salon owners.
“Numbers don’t lie,” Quinn-Ventura says. “You need to have a good handle on them and understand how much is coming in, how much is going out, and what’s leftover—and don’t forget to pay yourself.”
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