We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelly Marie Schwahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kelly Marie, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
It is no secret Hair Salons in Arizona have been significantly impacted by COVID-19, including being forced to closed for 6 weeks in April & May 2020. While facing a global pandemic, economic downturn and skyrocketing unemployment, Schwahn Salon in Mesa has not only opened a larger salon location but has also re-branded and re-structured its operations to provide customers an experience that is new and unique to the Salon industry. It is called “Hair Health Care”, and it’s the product of combining a medical clinic and hair salon together. “The health of your hair is our top priority. We are the salon you turn to for rehabilitating damaged hair”, says Kelly Marie Schwahn, CEO of Schwahn Salon. “When my husband with 30 years of experience as a Medical Administrator was laid off from his job due to COVID-19, we could have become scared and worried. But we decided to look at the silver lining and “pivot” instead, combining our knowledge of the beauty and medical industries to create a completely unique approach to taking care of our customer’s hair.” Schwahn Salon operates like a Health & Wellness Clinic: ● They begin by performing an evaluation of the health of your hair and work with you to determine your hair goals. ● Then they create a customized “Hair Care Plan” to obtain your desired look while prioritizing getting your hair as healthy as possible. ● Like a Health Care Practitioner, you’ll receive a customized “prescription” for any products needed to protect and enhance your hair service. ● Lastly, “post-care instructions” are given for taking care of your hair in between your visits.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets me apart for others is how much I care about my work and every customer that I serve. I believe that comes across and my guests can feel my sincerity about helping them look the best they can. My staff share that same attitude – we love what we do and desire to add value to people’s lives. I’m most proud and excited about putting together an amazing team of professionals who have embraced the culture I’ve created of making sure everything we do is with the intent to make someone else’s life better. We want everyone who comes through our doors to know that they matter to us – both customers and team members. After 17 years in the industry, I am at this place because it is one of the last professional goals I hadn’t achieved yet. I’ve worked in just about every facet of the beauty industry prior to opening Schwahn Salon. Including, an 8-month contract at sea working on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, doing hair, makeup and wardrobe for films, television, commercials, professional photoshoots, and 2 years of weddings at Disney World. I’m also an educator for a professional color line and hair smoothing line. Owning a hair salon with a unique approach in the industry was the natural next step for me. The journey has not been an easy one, especially getting the salon opened. I ran into difficulties obtaining financing, was dropped by my contractor just as my build-out permits were approved and had to search for a new one, then COVID-19 came along and shut the salon industry down for 6 weeks. During which, my husband was furloughed from his job and eventually laid off. What helped me persevere was the support of my family, friends and especially my clients, who all encouraged me to keep finding solutions to the obstacles, never give up, and believe that what I was doing was not just the right thing to do, but was meant to be. My husband and I did a lot of visualization and meditation to help see the path to achieving our goals. Combining our knowledge of the medical and beauty industries to create the “Hair Health Care” program was our way of turning lemons into lemonade. I’ve learned numerous lessons along this journey, but the biggest one is learning how to “pivot” when necessary. We create goals and a vision of what we want to achieve. The goals typically don’t change, but the plans for how to reach those goals almost always will. I’ve learned to be adaptable to those winds of change and find new solutions to continue to move forward. Usually, things work out even better than I could’ve imagined when I take this approach. And along the way, my Husband and I constantly think, speak, and expect the “best case scenario” to happen in every circumstance, large or small. When an obstacle occurs, we ask, “What would be the best-case scenario in this situation?”, then we proceed through our days expecting that best-case scenario to come to fruition. I want the world to know the secret to fulfillment is having pure intentions in your reasons for doing something. Whether you are writing a book, cooking a meal, or building a business, if you have a genuine heart for doing it to add value to other’s lives, not just to make money, people will be drawn to that and respond favorably. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That’s the foundation of Schwahn Salon and is at the core of our culture. Which means, because we care about you and the health of your hair, we are going to be honest with you about whether your hair goals are achievable in the timeframe you desire or not. If there is a chance that your hair will become damaged by the service you are requesting, we will not do it. Typically, we can achieve your desired goal in one or two visits, but if your hair isn’t healthy enough, it may take a longer time frame than what you would like. Our approach is to create a realistic “Care Plan” with you that focuses on getting your hair as healthy as possible so that when you achieve your final desired look, your hair will be in amazing condition, you’ll get the most from your hair service, and you will have learned proper techniques and skills for taking care of your hair for the rest of your life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start with taking my friend to breakfast at The Farm at South Mountain. Followed by a hike up camelback mountain to show the city off. We would enjoy an evening dinner in Downtown Gilbert, where we can eat, drink and dance. Then, we would take a trip up north visiting Jerome and grabbing lunch at Mile High Grill, followed by a wine tasting at Caduceus Cellars Tasting Room on the way to Sedona where we would spend the night. Spending the day in Sedona would start with breakfast at Coffee Pot followed by shopping downtown, followed by a hike around the beautiful rocks. Before heading back to Phoenix, we would check out Flagstaff to see the beautiful forest. Once back in Phoenix we would have dinner at The Duce and catch a show, choosing from comedy, theater, or a concert. Last, we would head south to visit Tucson, Kartchner Cavers, and Tombstone to finish the adventure.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Husband, Michael Schwahn, is my rock, my greatest cheerleader and my mentor. He has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and fulfill my potential. I am so grateful to be building this business with my best friend. “The E-Myth” by Michael E. Gerber is a book I listen to over and over again. It’s excellent for any business owner, small or large. The Leadership teachings of John Maxwell are invaluable for learning how to be a true “Leader”, not a “Boss”.
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