We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Rodney Mitchell a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Rodney , thanks for joining us today. Can you talk to us about your team building process? How did you recruit and train your team and knowing what you know now would you have done anything differently?
Over the years I have hired many talented stylists but when I opened my first salon in 1998 it was just me and my trusted assistant. I knew I did not want a team at first, I wanted to experience this new change on my own and really go after the atmosphere that I had envisioned. After about 2 months I started having stylists come to my salon asking if we were hiring so luckily I did not have to seek out employees. Once I built the team I wanted the salon took off and lead to me opening 5 more salons in middle Tennessee where I was the sole owner. I have had more stylists than I could count, some that have stayed with me through all the years and some that did not but with everything said and done, I would not have done anything differently. Through the good and the bad, everything that has happened has gotten me to the place I am at now and I have the most amazing team in a space that really emulates the Rodney Mitchell ambience.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers.
I own a full service salon in the heart of music row in downtown Nashville. We use Goldwell color and have recently been loving Kevin,Murphy styling products. We offer an array of services from color and cuts to keratin treatments and extensions. I have known from a young age that I wanted to pursue my passion for hair. I moved to Nashville from Alabama in hopes to get my name and business known. With hard work and dedication I have built my salons from the ground up and styled some of the most amazing people in the Nashville area. I have worked on big name celebrities such as Tanya Tucker, Faith Hill, and Shania Twain. Something I really pride myself in is building strong bonds with all of my clients, so much so that some of my current clients have been coming to me since I first started this journey! Through the years I have learned that kindness and compassion are some of the most important attributes you can have in this profession. Leading your business with kindness and being an active participant in my community is very important to me and because of that I have worked with some amazing organizations such as Look Good Feel Better, The American Cancer Society, and Gilda’s Club. My team and I recently participated in a fundraiser for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt for the 20th year in a row!
Any advice for growing your clientele? What’s been most effective for you?
Growing your clientele can be very hard and discerning when you are first starting out in this industry, especially if you live in an area with other competing salons but perseverance is key. When I first started growing my clientele I would take any and every walk-in I could and would even come into the salon when we were closed. You can take all the walk-ins that come your way but that does not mean they’re going to return and that is where compassion comes into play. Really listening to your clients needs and getting to know them personally goes a long way. You can do amazing hair but if you are not taking the time to get to know your client, then there is nothing separating you from other stylists in the area. So always be kind and genuine and you will start to see that hard work pay off.
How do you keep your team’s morale high?
Managing a team can be a struggle for a new salon owner or just a business owner in general. The advice I would give someone is to remember that your stylists are their own person. Stylists grow at different paces, handle conflict differently and have their own personality. Find stylists who are kind and teachable. Teach them everything you can and watch them grow from there. Hiring kind stylists helps your team to flow easily together and lift each other up creating a positive environment.