steve duross - craftsman. artisan. entrepreneur. musings on running and growing a small business

settling in

six weeks ago i was on the verge of becoming unglued. for the record, it has been a long time since i've opened a salon and the memory isn't what it used to be. actually, nothing is what it used to be. having spent an enormous amount of energy on building the bath/skin care brand, somehow the world of hair has passed me by.

as a barber/stylist i can cope. most of the work i've been doing for the past twenty or so years is about educating stylists in the art of cutting men's hair. my contemporaries create the fashion. i interpret the look, breakdown the process and distill it into a great, wearable cut for guys. it's not all that fancy. it's just what i do. everyone has a talent. this was the one handed to me. though i may be clever, have a nose for creating scent, the ability to work ingredients into skin care that i love (and hope you will love too), the thing i understand the best is how to cut a man's head of hair. that being said, the talent bus left the station without me where current women's styles are concerned. thank god for my staff of talented stylist.

i recently asked one of my stylist to partner with me in the salon. this idea comes naturally to me. identifying breakout people who will be able to manage the relationship we share is how duross & langel (the store/brand) has become successful. we have a handful of employees who are now full invested partners. they work side by side for the common good. it was never my intention to build on my own. i find the odious task of being el hefe a drudge. i love my people. i love their commitment. i love that if we succeed, together we will all share in the outcome. i expect nothing less from the salon. at the outset, i spoke to a few talented stylists about doing this with me. i am too far out of the creative side of the salon business to completely comprehend what is happening. it changes in an instant, and if you are not on top of the pyramid, you are screwed. anyway, one said no (i so love her) and one parted company soon after we got to know one another. i am certainly not everyone's cup of tea. and then as my three stylists began settling in, it occurred.

natasha pickett is the kind of person who naturally charms and succeeds. sweet, strong, opinionated and fierce about her convictions, her talents are many. i did everything but get down on one knee when i asked her to be my salon work wife. natasha has the rare qualities to lead our growing team and yet be deep in the trenches working harder than anyone else. she makes everything easier for us all. this also gives everyone an opportunity to take their positions on the field. rene is teaching advanced haircutting. kenzie is honing her skills in a vast arena of craft. soon we will have new stylist who she can mentor and teach.

it took me a good four full months to calm down and settle in. now i have a lightness inside i have not felt since i was working in the store kitchen. i have a great staff and they are doing amazing work. i hope you will come see for yourself