Like many others, the owner of Ginger Root Hair Salon in St. Charles, IL, Frank Perrelli, followed in his family's footsteps when he entered the salon business. Inside his salon, a photograph hangs on the wall of a young Perrelli blow drying his brother's hair and he has been honing his craft ever since. With seven other hairdressers in the family, it was hard to escape his destiny.
At Ginger Root, the mission is to make clients to feel like a star; but as an exhibit design company with 20 years in the beauty industry, our team at Katherine Frank Creative knows the road to success cannot be paved without hard work and commitment so we sat down with Perrelli to find out how he got here and seek his advice for future salon entrepreneurs.
1. What do you enjoy about owning your own business?
I love being my own boss.
2. What is the most challenging aspect and the most rewarding?
The most challenging aspect is dealing with the day to day operations of running a salon, managing team members, ordering products and supplies, scheduling classes.
The most rewarding is seeing Ginger Root's team members' careers flourish. I love to see someone new, just starting out in the business, with all their passion start building a loyal clientele.
3. Did you start behind the chair? How did you make the transition from artist to owner?
I come from a hairstylist family. My father has been a licensed and practicing cosmetologist for 50 years and I have seven other hairstylists in my family, so I grew up in the business. I also watched my father and mother own and operate their own businesses.
I did start out assisting in a salon when I was 21, assisting for a year and a half, and then went on to work behind the chair. My transition from artist to owner really felt inevitable to me. I worked and learned, not only to cut and color hair, but about owning your own salon. I watched and figured out what would work for me as an owner, and what didn’t quite fit.
4. Your daily business consists of styling hair, doing nails, applying make-up, etc. but the business you’re really in is improving client’s self-esteem. Do you have any feel good stories about a client’s experience?
One of my clients came in one day and told me she had cancer. She lost all of her hair. When it grew back in I gave her that first haircut. When I was finished, she looked in the mirror and the tears started to fall. She was so happy to feel like herself again. It was incredibly rewarding. That is why I love this business. You have the ability to make someone's day better immediately.
5. What's the secret to a salon’s longevity?
Good service is key. Consistency and being a good listener are the next two most important things to remember as a stylist. Also, as an owner, I feel like it is important to model the behavior that I want in my team members. I try to treat my team members the way I want to be treated.
6. What advice would you give aspiring cosmetologists? What is the most important aspect of their education?
I tell all of my new team members to watch senior stylists, to listen to how they conduct their consultations so they can learn how to listen to people. And, ask questions. Lots of questions.
7. If you had to leave your salon for a year and the only communication you could have with your employees was a single paragraph, what would you write to them?
I know I am not here to lead you, but we have such a great team at Ginger Root. Always remember, when you come to work, leave your worries at the door and have fun. This is a fun business! Remember our mission to be good listeners and create to make people feel happy about what they see in the mirror. And when they smile, that is your guest telling you thank you, and that they appreciate you.