Why Capturing an ST200 Honor for 2018 is Particularly Meaningful

An interesting thing happened after we email announcements to this year’s Salon Today 200 just before Thanksgiving. As usually, we received responses from several sharing their excitement over the recognition, but this year, there was an added message: “Thank you, we really needed that!”

Whether it was the political climate, the business environment or personal challenges, it seems 2018 was a taxing year for many salon owners. Intrigued, I reached back out to all 200, and invited those who were willing to share why a Salon Today 200 honor is so special. Following are a sample of responses:

“The Salon Today 200 is VALIDATION. Sometimes our profession gets treated as a hobby and people don’t always take it as serious as other careers. Being acknowledged by your magazine is validation to our clients, families and friends that we really are creating something special.”—Whitney Leidner, Refinery Salon

“This award has a special meaning for me and my team! At the beginning of the year, I stood in front of my team and said I felt the tension in our salon and I wanted to create a culture shift. Needless to say, I had three longtime stylists, who made up a third of our service sales, preparing to go booth rental. As heartbreaking as that was, I wished them the best and encouraged the rest of the team not to get caught up in the negativity. I invested money into a team engineering retreat that was life changing, and we are experiencing growth in spite of losing those stylists.”—Shelly Malizola, Allure Designs

“We invest so much heart, time and energy growing career stylists who can thrive in this industry. I care deeply about my team, the community I work in, the professional integrity of this industry and growing our small business to its full potential. It’s not easy, and it takes countless hours. Thank you for providing a platform where we can share our passion.”—Patty Cappola Brokaw, Cappola Brokaw Art of Hair

“2017 has been the hardest year for me personally. After a 26-year relationship, never did I think I would get a divorce. Even though it was my decision, it’s been the hardest, most analyzed thing I’ve done. Ginger Bay is my happy place, but I know I’m distracted and my work quality is not at its best. Being honored makes me feel validated for all the hard work, time, talent and sacrifices I have made to get here. It inspires me to keep getting up every day, keep pushing through and improving and giving back. Thank you for the opportunity to analyze our business practices and improve our strategies. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to win and feel like we earned it.”—Laura Ortmann, Ginger Bay Salon and Spa

“With the changing of the industry, the competition of booth rental and the segmentation of the industry, it feels great to know we are holding our own. It’s inspiring to see the salons who do care about teamwork, striving to provide customer service and providing a career path for their teams. We are honored to be part of this prestigious group and excited for 2018.”—Jauna French, Heath Salon and Spa

“This year was tough as we added on a spa to our location and have been working really hard to make it successful. Being honored is a great motivator to us—we love being recognized alongside such great salons and spa in the nation.”—Rachel Smith, Razmataz Salon

“Kicking off this year with our 18th Salon Today 200 award is particularly sweet as 2018 marks our 30th anniversary. It’s an immense task to grow annually, over a 30-year period in a changing economy. We are collectively proud of our achievements and looking forward to celebrating with our ST200 colleagues in New Orleans!”—Ginny Eramo, Interlocks

“Success starts leaving clues and I gathered this as a big clue that we’re making strides. Thank you for recognizing our efforts.”—Amanda Olusanya, Allen Ray Salon

"This has been a tough year for our business. We’ve worked hard to keep our culture strong and stay true to our mission. We’ve had ups and downs and tears. We’ve learned the value of sticking together and supporting each other.  The reward?  Being a Salon Today Honoree!!!  Go Team Aya!!"--Charlene Stratton, Aya Salon and Spa

“After having such a great year in 2016, we lost four veteran stylists within a few months. We didn’t grow as much as planned this past year, but we are excited to see what new opportunities 2018 brings our way.”—Sonya Gettinger, Hollywood Hair Salon and Spa

“As salon owners, we don’t have a boss to give us an evaluation of our performance, and it’s easy to get bogged down with everything we feel is going wrong. Being named to the ST200 makes me realize we are doing a lot right, and is such a sense of accomplishment. Thank you, it really makes a difference!”—Laura Watkins, Pure Salon Spa

“When I would read of people having walkouts, I would cry for them. Little did I know that I would soon be part of one. It’s true that when owning a business, you think you do everything you can for growth and to keep moving forward, when really you are doing everything to keep certain staff members stabilized. Being lured by a former employee, two of our big producers started planning their move to booth rental and three loyal staff members alerted us. While we lost quite a few clients, we hired three new team members and have gained new clients. We’ve gone down in numbers, but have absolutely zero drama. It’s true that after storms come the most beautiful flowers and rainbows.”—Kim Baker-Bringas, Bijou Salon

"Being recognized in the categories we were this year, it really comes full-circle in making us realize the 'why' in what we do. As a multi-location salon group, our focus is wanting to give to our guests, give to our community, and give to our staff. This purpose has allowed us to grow, optimize the guest experience before they even walk in the door and well after they leave, and set the bar high in the industry for employee benefits."—Doug and Jana Van Polen, Serenity Couture Salon and Spa

“Being honored for ST200 2018, especially in the three categories of Culture, Education and Profit Center, means so much to us. Our three core values at Gila Rut are, and have been: Education, Growth and Relationships. What a validation this issue has been for us. Lining up with who we are as a company. This honor and recognition is about our team, our relationships and the connections they have with their guests! Our previous year has shown us some very real challenges with staffing, embezzlement and California State Law changes… not small stuff. If we can get through all of that, we can get through anything! This recognition is super sweet on the heels of a mountain climbed and conquered!”—Keri Davis-Duffy and Karla Lopez-Martinez, Gila Rut, San Diego, CA

“Thank you so much for all you do in honoring the work our Professional Artists put in every day! It fires us up to be honored and to see the great strides others are making in our industry!”—Leigh Adamson, Quattra Via Aveda

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