Genevee has a natural talent for creating and implementing innovative marketing ideas for her small, local business. This doesn’t come easily for everyone and I believe it is crucial to success. Sometimes even those who can dream up great things are not able to implement them. Genevee has the skills and drive to do both, and I have seen her do it over and over, every year she has been in business for herself.
I first met her when she was working for a company where she paid $500 to rent a really great room, but was subject to the aesthetic and culture of the studio she worked within, and not fully in control of her artistic vision or potential. I saw great creativity, passion and strength in her and couldn’t help but talk to her about going into business for herself. While she did my hair, we would discuss different scenarios I had encountered in my 10 years as a small business owner, and how I started both of my businesses and my real estate career on absolute minimum budgets with a truly grass roots effort. I had enough passion to last a lifetime, but virtually zero capital to make my dreams a reality, and that is how she would have to approach it also.
We discussed do-it-yourself methods of transforming salvage furnishings, day to day processes involved with paperwork and marketing and eventually talked about looking at a few spaces downtown. I knew there were some really great spaces available for a somewhat comparable rate to what she was renting a room for. I think we both knew right when we first looked at her current location that it could be perfect for what she wanted. It needed a lot of work to reflect her vision for her space, but it had everything she needed to potentially be right. It is a highly visible corner location on Main and 11th Street, featuring ample street parking, floor to ceiling display windows, an architecturally interesting entrance, and the original exposed brick walls and tin ceiling. It also had some really bad carpet she had to tackle before anything could happen.
Genevees Studio opened in 2011, and has continually grown as a business with an ever expanding group of people that are more than stylists- they are artists with a passion for their work that brings them to another level. It took time and perseverance for Genevee to attract that level of stylists and her “build it and they will come” optimism has paid off for her in that area over time.
I asked Genevee what her biggest challenges, motivations and joys were in opening and owning her own business, and she had this to say:
“When you open a business and your income is needed because you have children and a husband, you have no choice but to succeed. You push yourself a little harder, because failing is not an option. One of the biggest challenges is that it ends up being about 2 to 3 times more than what you expect to pay once you get all of your bills together. You (me) telling me not to take out a loan was one of the smartest things anyone told me. I asked my husband what my budget was to build a business and he said we had an extra $200 a month, and I had to make that work and succeed.
I paid the floor off by doing my mother-in-laws hair for two years. Britney, (one of her stylists) wanted to work here so badly that she bought her own chair and I paid her back for it. All of the furniture was from craigslist and traveling to get things here and there. I have a lot more freedom to open and close when I want and to be able to attend my kids events now. I stay motivated because I am a work-a-holic. When I first started, I worked all of the time. I would write promotions and book appointments on my phone on my days off. I thrive on that, but it gets easier as the business builds and I am able to spend more time with my family now.”
I have rarely been to a stylist who is confident enough to make bold suggestions to me for change. She will. I asked her why she thinks it is that she can do that, when so many can not or will not, even though clients always seem to want advice on new things to try. Her answer: “I have confidence in my creativity, as well as a natural eye for artistic perspective and approaches to hair.” She brings over 15 years of experience to the table, as well as advanced education in color and product knowledge, regularly attends classes in Indianapolis and Chicago, and hosts classes to stay up to date on the latest techniques and trends. I think that confidence is well deserved and love to see that in people.
I admire so much about Genevee, and have love for her as a true friend. I also have a lot of respect for her as an artist, fellow business owner, full time working mom and partner to her husband, master of grass roots marketing, creative business funding and honest, authentic person. Much love to you Genevee! I am proud of you, inspired by you, and will continue to support you.
Visit Genevees website at www.geneveesstudio.com or her facebook at www.facebook.c0m/geneveesstudio.