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A Journey into Entrepreneurship in the Salon Industry by Rebecca Taft

Even as a kid I had always been interested in cutting hair. Yep, I was that girl that cut my

Barbie dolls’ hair. (No regrets, my Malibu Barbie rocked the Dorothy Hamill haircut I gave her

with my mom’s cuticle scissors!) I’ve been working in the salon industry for over 25 years and

after finishing my MBA I finally opened a salon of my own, in 2021. During a

pandemic…because why not?!

To say it’s been hard is an understatement, but to say it’s been a huge, fun, learning experience is the truth. I rented space at a salon prior to opening my own, so I’d already been working for myself, essentially, for 15 years. When I lie awake at night wondering if I’m marketing correctly, if my Google ads are optimized efficiently, how I’m going to pay my rent AND make a profit, it’s stressful. But it’s like taking care of a baby: if I’m going to worry about anybody’s baby, it’s going to be MY baby!

Most of my career has been spent working around women, and just a few men (both gay and

straight). It’s interesting when I talk to female clients who are engineers or work in a typically

male dominated workplace, because their experience is so different from mine. I sometimes

wish I had more male colleagues, but typically that’s not what the salon industry looks like.

Since I’m currently working solo and looking to attract renters to my salon (as many salons are)

I get a lot of stress relief and camaraderie from my friends at the gym. We see each other

multiple times throughout the week and occasionally socialize together. I also still have some

close friends from business school but none of them are entrepreneurs. It’s hard for them to

relate to what my life looks like: I’m not getting a paycheck every two weeks, I don’t get paid

vacations (aside: I’ve NEVER had paid vacations) and that sometimes I have way too much free

time on my hands when I’m not with a client (which also means I’m not generating revenue). It’s very stressful, but I love it.

I’m connected with some of the business programs at local colleges and universities, and I’m often invited to volunteer as a judge at their business competitions. Some of these students

have such great ideas and I’m so inspired by them! I wish I’d been half as creative as they are

and embraced twice the amount of risk I did at age 20, like they do. You have to be a certain

kind of person to be an entrepreneur; as one of my friends describes it: a fearless idiot.

I’m a little fried at the end of the week but I can’t imagine a better way to unwind than with some Owl’s Brew Blackberry Half & Half. The sun setting after a hot summer afternoon, some friends on my patio, and the chance to SIT after standing in the salon would be an excellent way to end my day.



-Rebecca Taft has been in the salon industry for over two decades. She received her MBA from

SUNY Albany in 2020 and after a brief career change away from salon life, she quickly realized

she missed being behind the chair. In 2021 she opened her own salon, Modern Hair, located at

116 Wolf Road in Albany, NY.

3 comments

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ricky sams
ricky sams
an hour ago

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Garold Rafa
Garold Rafa
shortDate

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Garold Rafa
Garold Rafa
shortDate

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