One of my favorite things about what I do is being in the business of connecting people. Whether it’s plugging people into my business or product…or making an introduction to someone else in my network who could be a great resource…this is one of my absolute favorite components of my career.
The entrepreneur I have the pleasure of introducing you to today is someone whom I was introduced to last Summer by my fab fitness pal Leks. And if you read my recent blog post about my “hairvolution”, you know how my experience in the world of hair has impacted self-esteem. I so admire those brave enough to venture into the world of hair…because it plays such a pivotal role in how one feels about one’s self.
Rachael Howard and I could easily talk hair and skin for HOURS. She’s incredibly passionate about hair and how new looks, colors, etc. make her clients feel. Pulled straight from her website, I couldn’t have said it any better myself…“Your hair is your identity–it portrays who you are, where you are in life, how much you care that day, and the person you strive to be. Hair talks!”
I’m thrilled to introduce you to fellow entrepreneur, hair visionary and stylist extraordinaire, Rachael Howard…
Let’s start with the basics. Rachael Howard launched Studio 3081 in July of 2012. Her full service salon is located in Thompson’s Station, TN and specializes in Wella Color and Di Biase Extensions.
Alright, let’s dive into the details, Rachael. What led you to your career as a hair stylist? Is there a particular area in the hair world that is a specialty for you?
I have always had longer hair. It is by far my most favorable attribute. I would watch shows and see others hair that I admired, then would try to replicate them on my Barbies or dolls. For a spell of time in my career, I was resolute on designing the next best shoes for pregnancy, but I dropped that after my interest in hair spurred. Then, in college I got daring and colored my hair. I never went back! I see how much hair affects people in a positive way and I love that! I wanted to be one of those artists that make that one girl with low confidence or self-esteem look at themselves in a totally different perspective, even if for just a second. Making it ok to go to prom, or a date, or out with friends…It is a beautiful thing; to watch someone look in the mirror and go from avoiding themselves, seeing every flaw to admiring what they look like.
There really is no area that I particularly favor. It really just depends on the type of outcome I’m going for! However, I love to get creative with color. There is an endless knowledge in the beauty industry, and color is by far one I can’t get enough of! Then, the Di Biase extensions – those have literally changed peoples’ lives right in front of me! The whole entirety of what I do I try to specialize in. It is ever-evolving, introducing “the next big thing”. One of my favorite things about what I do. It is anything but boring!! It’s creativity at its finest!
What makes you passionate about hair?
Ah, I suppose the reality that I took hair to a different level. I love how much it expresses an individual and his/her identity. I couldn’t be a stylist that just went straight on the floor after finishing school. I had to learn more! The fear of having someone entrust me with their hair, and not do what they expect horrified me. So, I trained under a coloring director and a cutting director, to which I give both the credit of most of my ability to do the work I do today. I breathe hair! LOL
How/when did you make the decision to go from employee to entrepreneur?
With the encouragement of my husband, who is an entrepreneur himself, we decided to start up the Studio. It was just too good of a position; to me a mom and do what I love, to not start up the Studio. It would be a lot stricter of a situation if I were to work for someone else. This is a dream come true, and I honestly have my husband to thank.
What has been your best method for generating new business?
Word of mouth. I am a referral-only working Studio. So, I am very thankful my loyal clients trust me and tell others to come check out what I offer!
What do you think holds people back from starting a business?
The unknown of what could happen. Sometimes, especially in this particular industry, it’s the start-up and all the details, then having trust worthy employees. I am thankful I can work alone and that is enough. However most businesses thrive, I believe, from the hard work of those within the business and most of all, loyal customers.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I love my “work”. Although to me, it’s more like a passion, something I enjoy doing. Most days, it isn’t work at all. But, being a mom and wife, my first obligation is my family. I am blessed to have hours of operation to where there is work and there is family time. I honestly have the best of both worlds and I am so grateful for that.
If someone is thinking about starting a business, what is the first thing you would tell him or her?
Research. Listen to others that have done what you are passionate about doing. Know there’s always room to grow, and want to. Make goals. Dream! Then strive to make it happen. Encourage success for others and succeed yourself.
How do you unwind in your free time? Any hobbies?
Most of my free time is family time. My boys are my world and I love being a mom. I try to stay fit, so when not pregnant (as I am now), I enjoy taking short runs and toning when I can. Otherwise, it’s riding bikes, walks to the park, watching movies, making crafts, and whatever else the boys and I can get in to!
What is something that sets you apart from other stylists?
This is an interesting question. In my opinion? Being a stylist is part of who I am. When I do hair, I’m in a different element. Almost a high, you could say. The euphoria I get when someone comes into the salon feeling down or upset, and leaves wanting to “put some makeup on and go out!” there is simply nothing that compares. I can change that one woman who hardly wanted to get out of the house because she had horrible fine hair, so she thought, have beautiful full locks want to have her husband take her out that night?! I mean, my work is done!
I do this because I love it. I don’t know everything. I am in this for the long haul and I can’t wait to learn something new! The passion I have for what I do makes me stand out a bit more than others. When I do a client’s hair, it’s as if I were in their shoes. I take it very seriously. This is your identity and it is serious. It’s not the money at the end I look most forward to. It’s the reaction of satisfaction, confidence, excitement and thankfulness that makes my “job” more like a gift that I can keep giving, and with that, I am blessed.
What a fun interview! I love being around passionate women like Rachael. Hair styling is a high for her…speaking with positive, self-driven people like the fabulous folks here is a high for me!
What “golden nugget” did you pull from today’s interview? I’d love to know what resonated most with you. Please share and let’s dialogue in the comments!