As a teenager, I cut my journalistic teeth working at my parent’s small- town, community newspaper. While the last career I wanted to pursue at the time was journalism, it was good pay for a summer job and my bosses were fairly flexible with my hours. I quickly learned though, that being the bosses’ daughter wasn’t always a perk. When the other women in the office had caught up on writing their stories about local weddings, City Hall meetings and social events, they’d start up on a juicy, slow-afternoon gossip session. That’s usually when Mom would hitch her thumb in my direction and tell me to go clean the bathrooms.

While this special issue of Salon Today really centers around succession planning—growing a valuable business, grooming a successor, and building valuable retirement funds along the way—many owners find the future of their salon in the ambitions of their children. In fact at last year’s 2 to 10 Conference in Boston last year, about 90 percent of the salons represented were family-owned businesses. In fact the trend was so strong, the conference, which focuses on salon companies with between two and 10 locations is partnering with Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Family Business for this year’s conference.

Last year, the conference featured a remarkably candid and impressive panel of 20-something professionals who represented the next generation of leadership at their family-owned salons. The panel included Mitchell’s Logan Schmidt, Jean Madeline’s Justin Lehman, Drew James’ Colin Loiacona, Pyure’s Luca Boccia, Qnity’s Erin Kuhn and Weldon Barber’s Angela Nordstrom. As they shared the benefits and challenges of being the bosses’ offspring, I found myself experiencing a sense of Déjà Vu.

While they had a strong sense of security in their positions with predictable growth paths, they were faced with parent-bosses with incredibly demanding expectations and co-workers who sometimes were nurturing and sometimes questioned their worth. Most had gone to college and pursued other careers before finding their way back to the family salon businesses and carving a role for themselves. Most were placing a heavier amount of pressure on themselves that their parents did.

The 2015 2 to 10 Conference is planned for Chicago at the Westin Hotel on April 26-28. If you’d like more information about the conference or about participating in the 2 to 10 project, visit

Maybe Candy Shaw expresses it best in the interview she gave us for “Next in Line,” our succession planning feature in the April 2015 issue. “I was passing my father hair pins before I was 10 and it was just natural to go to work every Saturday. I was a cheerleader and on Friday nights I’d cheer and go home with my friends. Early Saturday morning I would get up, having had three hours of sleep, and step over them on my way to work,” Shaw remembers. “Although my dad was my boss, he was no different at home than at work. He was my father and all he had to do was give me ‘the look’ if he was dissatisfied.”

Hmmm, reminds me of my mother’s thumb.

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