R.G. Shakour, Inc., a family owned company in Westborough, MA specializing in salon furniture and interiors, is celebrating 90 years in business.
Raphael G. Shakour, a skilled craftsman, immigrated to the United States from Syria with his family in the late 1800's. In 1925, he opened R.G. Shakour, Inc. by going door-to-door to meet the needs of salon owners, offering them custom made salon cabinetry and furniture. Jon, Ralph’s son, followed his father’s lead continued to serve the salon and spa industry, offering complete salon design and installation. Today, Renee and Nicole, Jon’s daughters, concentrate on store growth and education in the supply division of Interiors by R. G. Shakour.
MODERN SALON asked Renee Shakour to talk about how a 90 year old company stays successful and relevant.
MS: You have launched a new Website Store so that, in addition to shopping at your warehouse, customers can now order directly from you online. You have also launched a blog. What has prompted these udpates?
RS: The desire to stay in the forefront prompted the decision to proceed with a state-of-the-art website. The business plan shifted from a fully hands on approach to a blend of the physical and digital worlds. The newer generations do not want to be limited to shopping in one location or at certain hours, they want to research new products while waiting for clients, they want to share ideas through the growing world of social media and above all, they want to compare prices.
R.G. Shakour developed a site that captures trends in Italian furniture, a budget line for startups and a portfolio of completed salons. There is a 24 hour on-the-go shopping capability as well as links to Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Twitter. And for the customers that like a more personal touch, we’ve grown the showroom to 15,000 square feet with salon coordinators ready to help. The staff of designers and custom cabinet makers has an average of 20 years experience in the beauty business.
MS: What is the secret to working in a family business and maintaining personal and professional harmony?
RS: Communication and balance are the keys to a successful family owned and operated business. Expressing each family member’s opinions has always been important, but in the end we make sure we share the same goals and core values. My father always taught my sister and I that the most important person in our business is the customer--they come first! We pride ourselves on customer service and have taken that role very seriously in our business. Having clear areas of responsibility has allowed us to elevate our personal and professional relationships.
MS: If a salon owner is on a very tight budget, what is the one element you tell them not to skimp on?
RS: I would recommend all salon owners invest in a quality, comfortable shampoo system. Creating a “Lather Lounge” area with adjustable wash units and footrests will elevate a basic service into a spa like experience. Purchasing durable units will also save on the bottom line budget, cutting down on plumber’s bills and replacement parts.
MS: You have been very involved with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), taking on leadership roles. How has it helped and informed your business decisions?
RS: My involvement in the PBA has allowed me to be well-informed with the current laws, regulations and trends within the beauty business. That information gives R.G. Shakour, Inc. directives to focus on throughout the year, whether it is a charity that is in need or new legislation that should be addressed. As the saying goes ‘knowledge is power,’ and PBA is an endless resource of well-educated beauty professionals willing to share their knowledge.
A salon that was completed by R.G. Shakour in 1938.