Michael Carnahan, grew up in the salon industry and, at one point, refuted any ambition to own a salon. Then, he discovered Phenix Salon Suites and opened his own location in Westminster, CO. Here is his story in a Q&A.
Michael, How were you introduced to Phenix Salon Suites?
I had a truly exceptional stylist that I had followed around to a few different traditional salons in town. After a few years though, she was so sick of the day-to-day salon drama that she just decided to quit cutting hair. Granted, she found out she was pregnant, and was definitely going through other life changes, but she was always quite unhappy with the salons she worked at. She loved her work, but like most stylists, she could never find a workplace where she could be in control and make her own decisions. About a year after my last appointment with her, she called me and said she had just rented a suite at Phenix Salon Suites, and was doing hair again. I hadn’t gotten a decent haircut in that year, so I was thrilled to hear from her and made an appointment for the following week. When I got to Phenix, I thought “Huh, this is cool,” but it didn’t really click for me until she closed the door to her suite and I sat down in her chair. I was one-on-one with her. She was calling the shots, making her own schedule, doing what she loved. She had only been there for a few weeks but told me that it was, by far, the best decision she’d ever made in her career. Over the coming months, she got even more excited about her suite, and told me that her clients were referring her more people, and she had almost doubled her clientele since she started up again. At that point, my ears really perked up and the light bulb went on. Growing up, my Aunt Sally and my Grandmother, Charlotte, were both hair stylists. I knew from experience and their stories that they were rarely happy at their salons. They complained about the pettiness of their co-workers, the stupid decisions of salon owners, the endless bickering and backstabbing. So between my stylist’s comments, and the juxtaposition of my family’s bad salon experiences, I started to see that something new and special was happening with Phenix.
Interesting. So the beauty industry is in your blood, so to speak. That’s great. You talked about your stylist being happy with the concept but what specifically about your aunt and grandmother inspired you to open your own Phenix Salon Suites?
My aunt had owned a few salons and worked at many other salons as I was growing up. And I loved being in that environment. I was a curious kid, and the salon was such a lively, energetic, fun place to be. I think I liked the way people felt better about themselves after seeing my aunt. Continue reading