Michaella Blissett Williams, owner of Salon 718, with four locations in Brooklyn, New York.
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Michaella Blissett Williams, owner of Salon 718, with four locations in Brooklyn, New York.

Michaella Blissett Williams started her first salon in a studio in Brooklyn, New York and now she is four locations strong. Driven by her connection to her local community, Michaella is fueled by her ability to grow her team through education and outreach.  She recently joined the Goldman Sachs & Bloomberg’s 10,000 Small Businesses Mentorship Program, linking with their wealth of business advisors to grow her business and her team in 2019 and beyond. She and her team aspire to be experts and educators within the industry and have a mission to spread the message that beauty is inclusive.

As part of our Profiles in Leadership series, SALON TODAY recently caught up with Michaella for some one-on-one insight:

ST: From where does your entrepreneurial drive originate?
Michaella: “I have always wanted to learn about the business world and how I could steer my own path within it while positively impacting others.”

ST: How would you describe your management style? What do you think makes you a good leader, and in what areas would you like to improve?
Michaella:  “I serve my team first. I feel that if you do this, your customer experience will follow. A happy, inspired and educated staff is crucial to developing an amazing customer experience. How my staff feel about their careers drastically impacts those clients they touch. I would like to work on reaching more people—even outside my team—and educate our industry on ways to achieve financial freedom.”

ST: What’s the best lesson you’ve learned after making a mistake?
Michaella: “Last year, I had to let a high-performing staff member go. It was a risk, but they didn’t match with our culture. I learned our culture and ethos were more important than the bottom line.”

ST: What “Ah-Ha” moments of clarity helped you shape your business?
Michaella: “I learned that business is more than just one individual—it’s a team effort and this builds a foundation of culture. Once a team member adopts this culture, they view the business as essentially their own, and become committed to it and their own success.”

ST: Who has been your biggest mentor and what have they taught you?
Michaella:
“Richard Calcasola exposed me to this whole world of the beauty industry and showed me how I could carve out my own place within it and make this a real career. Joy Critchlow taught me the importance of diversifying my income so I would have the ability for growth and financial freedom.”

ST: How do you set goals for yourself?
Michaella: “I do love small wins, they keep me and my team motivated, but my eye is always on the big audacious goals. I like to set big goals, several years out and push hard to achieve them. Even if I don’t succeed, the journey is usually so well worth it!”

ST: What is the biggest threat beauty businesses like yours face?
Michaella: “Booth rental agreements. I feel that most people want to be part of a team, and part of something bigger than themselves. This is where education comes into play. I want to expose my team to the best opportunities to develop their skills and create.”

ST: What’s the best opportunity for businesses like yours over the next five years?
Michaella: “Technology platforms and social media, which are ways for us to interact with our industry colleagues, product developers and our clients. It’s about creating a community in a new way.”

ST: If you weren’t in the beauty business, what would you be doing?
Michaella: Real estate development.

ST: What’s the best thing an employee/colleague ever said about you?
Michaella:
“That I believed in them and supported them more than their own family. I am glad I can be there for people who perhaps in their past received no positive influences.”

ST: If you were to look at a scrapbook of your professional career, what would be your favorite page and which page would you like to remove?
Michaella: “My favorite would be the recent celebration of seven years for our Dekalb Avenue location and the opening of our Dumbo salon. I would like to remove the page of my attempt to open a nail business.”

ST: How would you like to spend your retirement?
Michaella: “In a warm place with an amazing view of azure and turquoise, crystal clear waters enjoying great food and wine with beloved family and friends.”

ST: Describe your target client and your target team member?
Michaella: “They are one and the same—professional, cultured, understated, great conversationalists, direct in their communication and driven.”

ST: Whom do you lean on for advice and support?
Michaella: “My husband.”

ST: Describe your company’s culture.
Michaella: “We promise to create (with a unique, sophisticated touch) a community (filled with integrity) inclusive (of all beauty). Let’s break that down. Our promise if our vow of trust. We create—we are passionate artists with licenses to create. Community is where people gather to exchange ideas/discoveries/solutions and empower each other. Integrity is to do the right thing, it’s our moral compass. Inclusive means all things beauty under one roof.”

ST: What makes your beauty business unique?
Michaella:
“Our inclusiveness—we aim to train and educate our team to be able to serve any client who walks through our doors.”

ST: What business project are you working on now?
Michaella:
“I am working on an Education Academy. My next professional step would be to develop my mentoring to educate people within our industry to achieve financial freedom.”

ST: If someone were to write a book about your life, what would be an appropriate title?
Michaella:
The Little Salon that Could because I think most people just dismiss the idea of another hair salon, but I knew it could be so much more.”

ST: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise most people you know in the industry.
Michaella: “That I am well invested in real estate—again speaking to the importance of diversifying.”

ST: What do you hope is your legacy?
Michaella: “I hope we made an impact, that I helped elevate my team and that they have great success. I would want to be known as an educator and a mentor who spread the word that beauty is inclusive.”

ST: Why did you want to join Intercoiffure?
Michaella: “To have the ability to meet people within our industry, learn and collaborate with them and to be part of the community.”

ST: What has been the biggest benefit you have received from your ICA membership? 
Michaella:
 “Having the ability to meet industry leaders and get exposed to trends, developments and industry news.”

For more information about Intercoiffure Canada America and becoming a member, visit Intercoiffure.com.