A Cut Above owner Dana Rader recently celebrated her salon’s 30-year anniversary. The News-Sentinel recently sat down with Rader, who shared her secret to maintaining a successful business.
Q: What is the secret running a successful hair salon for so long?
A: Loving what I do, and working with a bunch of fabulous ladies. If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life — that’s the saying, and it’s true. I’ve been doing this for 37 years.
It’s my salon, all the girls are independent contractors. Everybody has been here for quite a few years. We have a really good team. We’re individuals, but we’re a team also.
Q: How did you first get started doing hair?
A: I went to cosmetology school, then I started working at a local salon here. I rented at a salon for seven years. Then I got married and started a family, and I needed more flexibility, so I went out on my own. I asked my husband what he thought about me opening a salon and he said ‘go for it.’ So, I did everything I needed to do and did all the research and here we are, and I never looked back. Never for one moment thought ‘what if I fail?’ I always thought this is what I am going to do, and I did it. And a lot of it is because of the girls I work with, I give them a lot of credit because I couldn’t do it by myself, or without my clients.
Q: Describe your salon. How many chairs do you have, and what kind of ambiance have you created for your clients?
A: There are eight of us total. It’s just a clean, crisp look in here. And I think we’re all very friendly. It’s always fun when you get compliments from clients that they’ve enjoyed the ambiance.
Q: What sets you apart from other salons?
A: All the ladies are established, consistent, and we are mindful of our clients. And it’s a nice, clean, pleasant atmosphere for our clients. The clients have been coming for a long time, they get to know each other. On Thursdays, the same people come in, and the ladies all get to know each other, and the clients get to know each other.
I have quite a few clients that are my original clients. When I did my 30-year celebration last month we had a drawing for gift baskets for clients that came in, something fun just to draw attention to that it’s been 30 years, and they get something fun out of it. We did three baskets — one basket for every 10 years. And the clients had fun. It’s fun to win something.
Q: What do you specialize in?
A: I enjoy doing everything. Cut and colors, and dimensional colors. We do it all. We don’t do hair extensions, but we do lots of coloring. I think too what’s made us successful, it’s all the girls are very dependable — we’re here.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced during the 30 years?
A: Really, I don’t feel like I have had any challenges. We all work together as a team and we’re kind of like a family. So honestly, it’s been a very easy road.
Q: How have hair trends changed, and how do you stay on top of changing trends?
A: We go to continued education classes, but there is so much on social media — I belong to different groups for licensed cosmetologists, so you can watch and take classes. And so we do a lot of that. And I belong to “Modern Salon” also, an industry magazine. You have to expose yourself to continued education and stay on top of it, or you get stagnant.
You can’t be afraid to try something new, and use all the tools in your chest — it’s important to know all you have available.
Q: What are some popular hairstyles right now?
A: The trend is very icy-colored blondes,. And of course the fashion colors — the blues, the pinks, the purples.