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Management Practices

Helping Hands

Melissa Hill | July 10, 2011 | 12:31 PM

After working together at salons in the Denver area for almost ten years, Amy Lerch and Gina Martinez had a very distinct vision when it came to their own salon, Blondies (www.blondiesdenver.com), which opened in January 2005. One of their first orders of business was to reach out into the community and give back.

“In the past, there was so much we wanted to do, but we didn’t have our own salon,” says Lerch. “Now we’re finally getting to implement everything we’ve wanted to do over the years.”

Working with Local Organizations

One of the main beneficiaries has been Denver CASA (Community Appointed Special Advocates), a program that helps out single moms and their kids. After attending a breakfast where they learned about the work done by CASA, Lerch and Martinez last year launched Cuts for a Cause, a Sunday in June where the stylists cut hair all day and donated the proceeds to CASA. They encouraged clients who were attending to bring a friend and the day included drinks and a BBQ on the salon’s patio. The salon also works with Bridgeway, which also helps young, unmarried single moms. Volunteers from the salon meet with participants at their homes, as they are about to give birth or a couple months afterwards, and perform services for them for free.

“We also talk to them about their career and their future, and even about hairdressing too,” says Lerch. “We give them advice as women in business and it’s been really great. They’ve been very interested and very encouraged.” It’s all a part of Lerch and Martinez’s mentality—one that is shared by many in the industry. “We feel that if you’re privileged enough to have a great job and a great business, you should definitely give back. If we can do just one little thing to help these kids and single mothers, it’s important,” says Lerch. “At one point or another, we’ve all needed help too.”

Creating a Place for Clients

When it came to actually putting together their business, the duo knew they wanted an altogether different atmosphere from the ones they had experienced at other salons where they had worked.

“We were really looking for a place to work that was more of a family environment, where we feel like a team and that we’re all there for the common goal of being successful,” says Lerch. “We also wanted it to be a place where people could come in and enjoy themselves and not feel intimidated or like they’re in a pretentious place.”

To that end, they had fun with the colors and theme of the salon. The main hues are bright lime green, hot pink and chocolate brown, and all the logos and fonts include polka dots and stripes. Other fun stuff includes complimentary brow tints with color service, the salon patio where clients can wait for their appointments or let their color process during nice weather, a “Find Your Inner Blondie” quiz that matches a client’s mood with a signature aroma that is then mixed in with a complimentary hand massage, and finally, a signature drink menu that offers a variety of pink and green refreshments. “We really want to make people feel welcome,” says Lerch, of their customer service philosophy.

“We want to make them feel like they are important to us, and that everyone who walks in, gets the latest and greatest.”

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