FEATURE SALON APRIL EDITION
226 W. Broad St. Bethlehem, Pa 18018
Facebook- G. Grey
Truly an inspiration! Authentic, hard working, raw talent, and driven beyond belief, are just a few words I would use to describe Gregory. You will see why as you read through our interview. The road to success comes to us in many different ways, and it may not always be easy. Gregory is a fine example of overcoming adversity and using his struggle to create his success.
We hope this interview inspires you to live out your dreams, and continue to be passionate about this incredible industry we call the " beauty industry!"
1. How long have you been in business?
Hello, my name is Gregory Grey and I am living my dream. On June 8, 2016 I formed my own salon known as G.Grey. After a lifetime (20 years) of dedication to my craft I have made the leap to salon owner. I was able to realize my dream and continue my life's passion and to be a part of something greater.
2. What makes you passionate about the beauty industry?
I was first drawn to the industry by the singer, Madonna. At a young age I saw how she had the ability to transform herself into different strong and glamorous characters. I am in awe at the ability to create someone new. As artists we change lives, not just cut hair. We empower others to see the beauty within themselves. We all want to enhance our beauty. We all want to feel energetic, content, youthful, and to have the radiance that comes with such a state.
3. Since you are a new salon owner. What advice would you give to a fellow start up?
Be genuine. Our customers today are informed. They look at the ingredients on the back of the box rather than falling for slick marketing ploys. They don't wait for solutions they DIY create their own. They seek more experiences and less stuff, they want a total value rather than a lower price. We have to go above and beyond what is expected. To win in the future we must become the brand our customers cant live without. It's not about being the best but being their favorite. We do that by creating systems for every area of our business to craft the best possible experience for our guests.
4. Is owning a salon everything you thought it would be?
I have the privilege of being the industry long enough to witness first hand the trials of being a business owner. I have a great team of friends family and confidants, who I work with to bounce ideas off of. They help me stay sane.
The unexpected feeling I get is of that of a young teen. I feel like a virgin all over again. Life was such a fabulous routine it wasn't until I broke that bubble and started down my own path that it happened. I felt vulnerable and excited. My mind was full of questions. Would my customers be happy with the new salon? Is it up to their standards? I found myself making excuses for the new varnish smell and explaining how our sign was still under approval with the city and zoning. It is fun and I feel fresh and everything's new. My expectations could of never prepared me for the joy I feel. My salon is my newborn baby!
5. List 3 tips and tools you utilize to grow your salon business.
Our industry is always changing! If you aren't utilizing education you will never grow. Today we have no excuses when the internet has put everything at our fingertips. I remember taking a week off of work to travel to Las Vegas for a Goldwell educator. I was interested in upstyling help and this guy was world renowned. Well he told me after I flew hundreds of miles booked hundreds of dollars worth of expenses that putting bangs in ponytails lawyering with spray shine and petaling the hair into a flower then making a braid to another ponytail flower was a huge hit in japan! Needless to say I spent the rest of my allotted education time by the pool drinking margaritas and eating nachos! Boom there went my education dollars for the year! That vegas trip was a gamble that didn't pay off!
Everyday in between guests I am thrilled to learn and be inspired from genius artists like Guy Tang, Mouniir, and Hairbrained! All our old ways of doing business are gone! New rules are emerging out of traditional ways of doing things. We now do it on our own terms. Building my brand on social media . I recognize the value of collaborating with other talent and the massive importance of the social media.
We have to continue the beauty experience by using social networking including Facebook, Instagram, google, yelp! And other local advertisers to engage our customers.
On a final note I want to stress the importance of consistency and its contribution to success. The Aveda company has something special called rituals. First invented by the companies founder when he noticed after carefully crafting the perfect haircut his guest went into the bathroom for what seemed like an eternity to apply a full face of make up. He realized he had dropped the ball and failed to provide her with the ultimate beauty experience. Now rituals such as , hand and shoulder massages, finishing beauty touches, sensory journeys , comforting tea are hallmarks of the Aveda experience. These things are what customers remember as unique from other salons. Imagine what happens when an experienced Aveda guest does not receive a complimentary rituals behavior to create an experience? What do you do to make an extra connection with your customer? These points of difference are what can take you from average to extraordinary. It is the salon owner and manager's job to train and coach the staff to what it is that defines the culture of your salon experience.
6. What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome as a new salon owner?
The lifetime of friends who know see me as their number one competition. All love no shade! But honestly, time. Time is the hardest struggle for me. I must make time for all the duties of an owner and technician. Having to juggle these duties takes fearlessness. I schedule myself a day for book work. Also my mourning routine of a spiritual practice help to keep me centered and on task. Learning to set the foundation and do things properly now is so important. I am so grateful for my network that teaches me and guides me and gives me the support I need!
I have taken business classes from our local Bethlehem area small business council. These classes were so valuable! Making a business plan and meeting key players in my area!
7. Name one of your favorite quotes related to business.
"As your company grows in size, its tempting to hope that at some point it will take care of itself" -Seth Godin
8. What is your definition of success?
Success is not just about technical ability. I must have the mental resilience to succeed. I have to think and act like an entrepreneur. I have the creative skill, business network, exposure and superstar persona needed to succeed. I am not afraid to experiment and learn new things. You can't put me in a box or stifle my ambitions. I come from a heritage of success. My family founded Dorney Park, started the date/ business planner company Day Timers, my Grandmother owned a successful fine dining establishment called the Village Inn and my mother is a Vice President of multi million dollar data aggregating company for the pharmaceutical industry. Growing up gay in a time where Elton John was only "bisexual" and George Michael was still in the closet. I faced loads of adversity in my teen years. I was a beat, hurt, a misunderstood rebelled run away, disowned and made a ward of the state. Then I was Institutionalized for two and a half years then put into foster care. In spite of all of that, I never gave up. I worked every night until 2 in the morning all the while finishing high school in the day and paying to finish beauty school. I didn't become a statistic. I am not a victim. Even after hearts of using drugs and battling addiction in its many forms, I am not a victim. I have found a new way to live and continue to spread hope that everyone can find a new way to live and find happiness.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! live the life you've imagined" - Thoreau