Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Walz.
Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
I’ve been a licensed stylist for 32 years. I never wanted to do hair. I was never that little girl that played with everyone’s hair, my Barbies, or any of the typical things you hear from stylists. My father suggested I go to cosmetology school because, at 17, I wasn’t sure what to do with my life, and cosmetology was a trade I would always have. It turns out I was good at it and enjoyed it as well. My resume covers the whole playing field of this industry for sure! After school, I went to work for a chain that is now known as “Look After” at the time. It was “Custom Cuts.” I stayed with Custom Cuts for 8 years, decided to get into a full-service salon, and spent some time with Regis, which led me to the confidence I needed to rent a station and become self-employed. After my daughter was born, I needed benefits and went back to work for a chain for a brief period. While working for Great Clips, I obtained my instructor’s license and taught Cosmetology for almost 10 years, but I missed working behind the chair.
In 2014 I stopped working completely and took care of my father for 2 years, who had cancer. When he passed, I wanted to get back behind the chair but had no clientele. I started working in a rental salon in Florissant (my hometown) in the hopes that I could build off my friends and family, it didn’t work out, and I started thinking about moving to an area that was growing better. While looking for a station to rent, someone asked me why I wasn’t looking to buy a salon. I had never considered it, but it made sense, and I shifted my search. In November of 2017, I closed on purchasing my salon; it was an already established business with 4 stylists. Almost 5 years later, there are 11 of us, and we are in the middle of a full remodel.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth?
One of my biggest struggles was raising a girl as a single mom and the evenings and weekends required to be successful and build a solid clientele. I was fortunate to have an amazing support system. Another rough patch was navigating Covid and the salon closing for 6 weeks. It was a tough decision to put 10 stylists out of work.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Hands down, our environment and culture set us apart from other salons. One of the most important parts of our industry is the customer experience, and I’m proud of the culture we have cultivated and the feedback we get from clients. Clients enjoy their overall experience in our salon, not just the great hair they leave with. I don’t know that there is any service that I specialize in behind the chair. I offer and am proficient in all aspects. I would say that I’d probably be known for my style and my brutal honesty with my clients. I’m not the stylist who will do whatever the client wants if it’s not in their best interest. I tend to have an unfiltered approach to conveying that information. I am most proud of my salon environment! I work with some incredibly talented stylists who are friendly, funny, and pleasant. We love each other and work together every day to help us all be better. We share ideas and troubleshoot together and grow professionally and personally every day.
Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
I’m a risk-taker and a leap before you look kind of person. Purchasing a salon was a risk, especially when it only had 4 stylists!
Can I fill it out? Will they be happy and stay? Will I be a good owner? All of it was unknown. Navigating Covid was terrifying! Was I making the right choices? Was I doing what was in the best interest of both my stylists and my business? It was tough for sure. Taking on the responsibility for the success or failure of 10 other people is a huge risk! If I go down, I take them with me.