Melanie Guzzo on Brand Values + Leadership + Community

In this episode we sit down with Melanie Guzzo of Virtue Vegan Salon and Stay Sharp Education. Melanie is a salon owner, leader, educator, vegan, and all around courageous bad ass. Melanie shares her journey as an artist, how she found clarity around the Virtue Vegan Salon brand values, healthy boundary setting, moving from behind the chair to full time leader, and so much more. You can find Melanie on the gram @melanieguzzo @virtuevegansalon @staysharpnation Thank you Melanie for sharing your story with us. We love you!

You can also listen to our podcast on:
Apple Podcasts
Google Play

Your experience matters. We would be so grateful if you shared your experience with our podcast by leaving a review. It matters to us, and so do you. Thank you- Nina

racy people passion purpose podcast Passion Squared hd

Tracy Ftacek on Building A Brand + Culture + Communication

In this episode, we sit down with Tracy Ftacek, salon owner, educator, leader and creator of the on-demand beauty brand Pretty Convenient. Tracy shares her journey into salon ownership, why culture + communication has become her foundation for success, advice for new owners and so much more. You can find Tracy on the gram @prettyconvenientapp @tracyftacek. Thank you, Tracy, for sharing your story with us. We love you!

You can also listen to our podcast on:
Apple Podcasts
Google Play

Your experience matters. We would be so grateful if you shared your experience with our podcast by leaving a review. It matters to us, and so do you. Thank you- Nina

3 Ways To Lose A Client Passion Squared blog

3 Ways To Lose An Awesome Client

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. ~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon 

We often hear talk about how to keep a client, but today, I am reminding you of how to lose one.

Why? Because sadly, I am seeing more and more the most simple things being overlooked when engaging with a business that I felt inspired to share this reminder with you.

First off, why do we lose clients? Several ways. It all comes down to broken promises, over time, which leads to diminishing trust, which ultimately makes a client decide to choose to go elsewhere.

Recently, I visited a service establishment that pretty much violated most of the reasons clients don’t stay. As I walked in, I was greeted, so yay! But from there, it all went downhill. For some context, there were 6 team members and 2 clients in the business when I arrived. They asked me sit down and wait for my service but never told me where to sit. Once I figured out for myself where to sit, I began to cough. And cough some more. Then some more. For over one minute, I coughed. Yet, it was not until over a minute of coughing that someone decided it was a good time to offer me a beverage.

When I sat for my experience, I was never offered another beverage, even though there were still only 2 clients in the business with idle team members watching TV and staring down at their phones. Really?

I requested a specific service be done, yet, I had to ask 3 times at which point the service provider finally heard me and did what I requested.

Upon checkout, which took WAY too long for no good reason, I was asked 3 times if I wanted a receipt. THREE times. I was never asked if I wanted to leave a tip, how my experience was, not was I asked when I wanted to pre book my next appointment. The fundamentals, forgotten or ignored.

1. Not Listening

This is the foundation of everything. Listening says so much. If we really listen, we can ensure our clients needs are being taken care of. When we listen we show we care. When we listen we deliver awesome experiences. When we deliver awesome experiences, clients are inspired to share them with their friends.

2. Not Providing An Awesome Experience

The client experience begins LONG before we walk through the door. It begins upon first contact. This could be our experience with your online platforms, how we book our appointments, how appointments are confirmed, how we are treated upon entering the business, during our service, checking out of our service, and any post service follow up. This can speak to the products you use, to the towel quality, the beverage service, the music being played, the energy in the space, and so on; experience matters.

3. Not Caring

How do we show we care? We pay attention, we listen, we respond, we engage, online and off, I can tell if you care, and I can tell if you do not. Do you care if I ever come back? If you do, one way to show me is to remind me to book my next experience before I leave. If you care about my experience as a client, you will do everything in your power to ensure my needs are being met, including offering me a beverage the first time you hear me cough. If you care, you will ask me to share my experience on Yelp. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Why does this happen?

Many reasons. Sometimes it may be lack of training, lack of systems, lack of expectations, lack of engagement in the business, a disgruntled team, lack of culture, or lack of leadership.

In this case, the owner was not present. But if leaders do their job, the owner should not have to be present for an awesome experience to be delivered consistently.

What can you do about it?

Take a good, objective look at your experience. The systems, the training, the team, the culture, your brand promise, and your ability to lead. Most likely, something is missing or broken. The good news? You can change it, if you really want to.

Start with brand purpose and promise. Are you clear and is your team clear? What do you stand for? Believe in? Who is your target client? Do you understand them and what they value? What specifically does your experience look and feel like? Is the team crystal clear on how to deliver that experience consistently and what it looks and feels like? What systems can you build to ensure the experience is delivered? How will the team be held accountable if the experience is not delivered consistently.

One last thing…

As I mentioned in the beginning, there were 2 clients in the salon and 6 service providers. What were the other 4 service providers doing? Nothing. In 2017, there is NO reason in the world to do nothing. If you want to build a clientele, the KEY word is “want”, then it’s your responsibility to build those relationships. One way to do that today is by engaging on social platforms. Create content that is of value to your client. Engage. Build relationships. Create content. Engage. Build relationships. For the one hour I was there, those 4 service providers could have done a mini photo shoot, created a video, done an Instagram or Facebook LIVE, written a blog, practiced their craft, etc.

If you don’t have the clients you dream of, the only place to look is in the mirror. Then at your phone, not to play games, but to create and share content, engage, deliver value and build relationships.

With love-

PS: Just after I finished writing this post, I saw this in my inbox from the awesome Seth Godin. Let it sink in and share it with your teams…

The best time to study for the test… is before it’s given.
The best time to campaign is before the election.
And the best time to keep a customer is before he leaves.- Seth Godin

Keri R. Davis Gila Rut Salons


Either you create your own culture, or your culture will be created for you. You choose. Keri R. Davis

What an honor it was to sit down with my 25+ year bestie and all around awesome human and biz bad ass Keri R. Davis to take a peek into her brain & heart. Keri has three Aveda Concept Salon in San Diego called Gila Rut, is an educator for Aveda Business College and won the NAHA MBA Salon of The Year, or what I like to call the bad ass biz award.

N. What does passion look and feel like to you?
K. When I see something that I am passionate about, I see beauty, in all things — not just industry beauty or physical facial beauty. I see passion in nature. I see passion in people helping people. I see passion in laughter … and I love to see the igniting of the light bulb in someone’s thinking.

When I feel passion, it feels like butterflies in my stomach. I feel anxious or driven in a good way … as if it can’t come fast enough, yet I don’t want it to end so I can relish the greatness of it.

N. Why did you become an owner?
K. What a loaded question! I was so young (26 years old) when we opened our first salon. Thinking back that far is challenging, but what I do remember is that the salon I worked in for my first 3 years in the industry was my biggest learning experience. It taught me what I didn’t want. I hate to say that, but sometimes when we learn what we don’t want, what we do want becomes clearer. Kind of like a relationship!

As I observed hairdressers that had been practicing their craft for 20+ years, what became clear was that they had nothing to show for their hard work … not in their personal life or business life. And when I say that, I am referring to a retirement plan, and exit strategy, owning a home. I felt that they felt stuck. That could have been just my observation, but that is what drove me to want to do something that gave me security.

When I went to work for the second salon of my career, my observation got even clearer. I could not find a salon to work in that offered me a career opportunity. I could only get a job! This was a huge distinction because I wanted a place where I could grow roots — a place where I could see myself for a long time and elevate my position/career. I wanted a mentor.

This was the changing point for me. It became evident that my path was to create an environment that offered career opportunities to people where they could grow and where they felt taken care of through health insurance, retirement and paid vacations. Basically, for me, things needed to operate like a ‘real’ company.

I wanted to be a facilitator to be able to help people see what was possible for them where they may not have seen it for themselves. This became my mission and has become my passion. This vision has not changed over my 24 years of business ownership!

N. What is the biggest challenge you have had and how did you overcome it?
K. I think the biggest challenge I have had (there have been many) is accepting that people have their own ‘process’ of execution and achieving a final result or goal that is often different from mine.

Overcoming this is a process in itself, so I breathe a lot and remind myself that people have their own amazing process of getting things done. As long as the communication is clear and we are working toward the same end result, it is a beautiful thing to observe and respect different ways of arriving at the same place. In some cases, they arrive in a better place.

N. What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
K. To practice gratitude for all that we have been blessed to encounter in our lives … business and personal.

N. What is one skill you believe all successful owners need to have?
K. A vision and the communication skills to get people aligned to that vision.

N. Why that one?
K. Without clear vision of where you want to go, the energy and culture becomes fragmented. People are moving in different directions and when coaching, we need to have a clear vision/goal of where the company is going. Otherwise, we have nowhere to direct them.

N. Why are you so passionate about salon culture?
K. To me, culture is EVERYTHING. In my mind, this is my second home. I want to feel amazing when I walk in. I want our staff and guests to have that same feeling. Without a strong culture, the customer experience is inconsistent. That being said, this would create an entirely new set of problems.

Culture is the glue that connects the experience of your company. From owner to staff members, from guests to community. It is who you are!

N. Favorite quote?
K. I have two:
“Either you create your own culture, or your culture will be created for you. You choose.”
“Be now what you want to become.”

N. Starbucks or Coffee Bean?
K. Neither: I make my own!

You can find Keri on Facebook, and follow Gila Rut Salons on Facebook + Instagram.

Thank you Keri for sharing your heart + brain + passion with us. I am so grateful to have you in my life, my heart and my head.

Love + Awesomeness-


The Wake Up Call

The Universe is not short on wake up calls. We are just quick to hit the snooze button.   -Brene Brown


Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

Many of us have had them. Some of us don’t know we have. And some of us just hit the snooze button when they happen.

Wake up calls happen all the time, in business and in life. The opportunity for us is to listen for them and to them, if we want to create an awesome biz + life.

Wake Up Call #1
A few team members are asking for raises all within a few days of each other. To me, that is a sign of something deeper. Meaning, it’s time to connect with those team members to see where they are in their career and life. Something is behind the desire for a raise. What is it?

 Wake Up Call #2
A slew of social posts about a particular company seem to be gaining momentum and people are just not happy. Will that be a wake up call, or is that company not even listening?

Wake Up Call #3
People begin not showing up to meetings, or come in late to work. Do we build resentment or decide to dig deeper into why that is.

Wake Up Call #4
Sales begin to slowly drop, less new clients are coming in, and staff is leaving. Do we see that as a wake up call or do we hit the snooze button and blame the month, season, weather or staff member.

Wake Up Call #5
A series of not so awesome YELP reviews are posted about a business. All saying similar things. The front desk staff is not nice, nobody answers the phone, the bathrooms are dirty. A wake up call? You bet. But only if the business is listening.

Wake Up Call #6
A feeling of stress and overwhelm continue to fill our bodies. Is this a wake up call? You bet it is. It’s time to look at our lives and begin to create space to breathe and get to the source of the stress and overwhelm so it can be fixed.

Awareness is the key in listening for wake up calls. It is so much easier to hit the snooze button versus dealing with issues, problems or wake up calls. It takes a ton of courage to listen for them and deal with them. And until we do, be prepared for that alarm to keep ringing.

Do you have any wake up calls you have ignored only to have them come back bigger and louder? I would love to hear your thoughts. I’m listening.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)