Meagan Gallman a licensed cosmetologist, a Master Colorist of 14+ years and a globally published colorist, specializes is Custom Color Creations, Color Corrections, and has extensive knowledge in cutting Naturally Curly Hair as well as providing proper education to those lacking the knowledge of taming their naturally textured locks. As the owner of The Magnolia Parlor, a Joico Master Artist, Educator with Olivia Garden, and member of the Beauty Launchpad Education Team, setting stylists up with the tools for success is so very important to creating her desired culture in The Magnolia Parlor. Meagan is a Certified Brazilian Blowout Stylist and a Certified Extension Installation Stylist as well. Meagan is also Barbicide Certified in Sanitation.
In your own words, what do you do?
I wear several hats. I am a Master Colorist and I work behind the chair like every other hairstylist. I am the owner of the salon that I work in, The Magnolia Parlor. I am an educator for a few brands. I am an Artistic Brand Educator for Joico, Styling Educator for Olivia Garden, member of the Beauty Launchpad Education Team, and I am a guest writer for multiple beauty publications.
What was your background prior to starting The Magnolia Parlor?
I worked in a salon in my hometown for about 12 years and during that time, I also worked behind the chair in a studio. For the last 2 ½ years before opening The Magnolia Parlor, I was also educating for Joico.
What mistake do people make when they want to start a business?
There are a few answers to this. Preparation is key. Don’t get in over your head and know your limitations. You don’t wake up one morning decide, “I think I will become a business owner today,” and run with it. It takes a lot of research, education in business, and preparation. In my own opinion, refining the small details is equally as important as sorting out the larger details. Small details are more important because if you can get the small details right, you will stand out from the crowd. It will show how much thought you have put into building your own empire.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I have been in the beauty industry for about 14 years now and I began booth renting (meaning an independent contractor renting a space to take care of guests) about 2 years into my career. So technically, I became an entrepreneur then, but I didn’t realize at the time, and I clearly didn’t know what I was doing because my business wasn’t growing even though I “thought” I had everything in check. Plot twist, being so naïve and ignorant to the business side of my industry, put me at least 4 years behind in the growth of my career.
Fast forward several years and many business classes later, I worked full time in a studio, with a booming clientele, two assistants, and not enough room to accommodate everyone in the manner they deserved. It was in that time that I knew I needed a larger space. Keep in mind, I never wanted to be a salon owner, not really. But here I am, owning a salon and breaking all the boundaries. I decided if I was going to be forced to create a true salon, then it was time to pull out all the stops and no corners would be cut. I decided to not just create a salon but create an experience that would be hard to find anywhere else. Also, with me being an educator, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to mentor young stylists.
Do you think anyone can start a business?
I think anyone can “want” to start a business. I think anyone can “attempt” to start a business. However, I don’t feel like just anyone should start a business. Starting a business and owning a successful business are different. If one is going to start a business, then they should be prepared to be ALL IN. One must be driven, determined, have business savvy to some degree, financial management skills, and be prepared to be humbled more than a few times. Those factors aren’t present in the mind of every individual. With that being said, I do not think “anyone” can start a business.
At what point did you know it was the right time to work for yourself?
I felt like the time was right when I became a Hair Color Educator. My passion is mentoring stylists eager to learn. I knew in order to do that properly, I would need the space and materials to provide an adequate environment for both stylists and guests. So, then the journey of The Magnolia Parlor began.
How would you describe your leadership style and what has made it so effective?
I have a salon handbook, a stylist contract, and other salon policies in place. Each stylist has a binder with copies of everything previously stated. It also holds any certificate from a class they may have taken as well as copies of specific lessons from classes that I have taken myself (if I feel it is beneficial to them.) The culture of my salon is very inviting. As a Salon Owner and leader, I created an environment where we work as a team. No one is left alone in a difficult situation, there is no competition between stylists, and every guest is comfortable with all my hairstylist. We cover for each other if someone is out unexpectedly. Yes, I said “we.” If I happen to have a rare moment of down time, I am happy to help wherever someone may be needed. No one should be above helping or others in the salon, not even the salon owner. I lead by example. As the owner, I set the tone for the salon. So, it is my responsibility to the mentor that they deserve and that includes all aspects of the business.
How do you stay motivated?
It is hard sometimes. I have worked SO hard to build my brand for long that I have almost reached a burnout point multiple times. But I’m building an empire. So, I must take a moment, reset, and keep going. It’s not just for me. My stylists deserve a motivated leader with her mind in check.
Over the years, I have encountered people that did not take my profession seriously. They thought of me being hairstylist as a hobby or a play job. At first, I was heavily offended, but then I realized that I couldn’t blame them for their thoughts on my profession. I am from a small town in the South and it is a stereotype that has unfortunately been placed over the beauty industry. We must fight to prove our value regularly. The drive to change the stereotype keeps me motivated.
I have two daughters. They have grown up in the salon. They have watched my career evolve over the years. They have seen the hard work that it takes. My babies keep me motivated because I want them to see that with drive, great work ethic, and proper guidance, they can literally be successful at anything.
What traits do you look for when building a team?
The first questions I ask a stylist when interviewing with me are, “What are your needs a stylist? What are you looking for in a salon? Where do you feel your strengths are? What type of stylist are you aiming to be?” By asking questions like these first, you can get a feel for the type of questions to follow with. I need eager, ambitious, teachable, confident stylist. Everyone must be a team player in my salon. Egos much be checked at the door. Everyone must have continuing education as a priority. I make a significant effort to provide many educational opportunities in and outside the salon. So, a team member must be willing to seize those opportunities. When building a team, it’s not just about what the stylist can bring to the table for me, but what can I bring to the table for them? My stylists are not just employees. We do work as a team, and we have an enormous amount of respect for each other. Compatibility is a big factor as well. We have a 60-day trial period and if it’s not a good fit, then it’s not meant to be. No hard feelings.
Any advice for entrepreneurs on moving beyond failure?
First, remove the negativity from your mind. “Mistake” and “failure” are two words that do not exist in my vocabulary. Those two words are not to be said in my salon. Mistakes or failures are merely lessons and discoveries. They just mean that there are better ways to achieve your end goal. You don’t make a mistake; you learn a lesson. You do not fail; you with just find a better way to become successful.