BLOSSOMING THROUGH CREATIVITY
When the old owners of Blossom Hair Salon, located in the Arlington Plaza, both became pregnant 16 years ago, they found running a small business was too much work and decided to sell.
Their friend and coworker, Tiffaney Fiedtkou, stepped up and purchased Blossom and has been running it since. Ironically, she too became pregnant a few months later, but decided to stick it out. Now, Blossom is a thriving boutique salon where stylists have the freedom and support to explore their creativity.
After 15 years of hair styling experience, Ms. Fiedtkou told the News-Press it was an adjustment becoming the person in charge of everything, but it gave her an opportunity to do things her way.
“I’ve grown to like that, because then I could call the shots and then I could do things the way I wanted to. I had worked at a lot of different salons so I kind of took from different salons what I liked and or what I felt I had missed out on, and so I thought, ‘I’m going to incorporate that into the salon here’,” said Ms. Fiedtkou.
The main take away from her time in the industry has been the importance of a strong relationship with the stylists.
“I’m always trying to put the girls first. Thinking about what would be best for them,” she said.
The seven employees at Blossom are independent contractors, and Ms. Fiedtkou believes in supporting them as though they run their own businesses. She said other salons where she worked have been demanding, with little communication with staff and unreasonable or detrimental expectations.
Ms. Fiedtkou wanted to avoid this, and chose instead to create a friendly atmosphere where she feels she can support the stylists on a personal level.
“I didn’t want to make it so rigid that people couldn’t have it as their own business, because they’re not employees. I knew that it was sort of their own business so I wanted to make it where they could flourish on their own but not have all these restrictions on them, like you have to only work these days, or you must sell this amount of product, or you have to come to these certain events. I’m a little bit more forgiving of them,” said Ms. Fiedtkou
Most of the stylists have been at Blossom for more than a decade, which Ms. Fiedtkou sees as a sign that her management style is working. Ms. Fiedtkou told the News-Press that her job as a stylist made the decision to buy the store difficult because she already loved her work so much, but she feels like continuing to style while running the business has given her unique insight. While management at other salons can be somewhat removed and won’t understand the requests of stylists, Ms. Fiedtkou said working with her staff creates a more collaborative environment.
“I’m amongst the other people and I know what would work and what wouldn’t work,” she said.
It’s this attitude that keeps Blossom from becoming stagnant. While she has a mind for administrative details, Ms. Fiedtkou’s creative nature and love for people drives her to always look for ways to spruce things up.
Ms. Fiedtkou tries to incorporate everyone in the decision-making process. She isn’t afraid to try out different methods, even if they don’t end up working. For example, Ms. Fiedtkou bought an assortment of products for the stylists instead of having them purchase their own. The idea was to give them more options that they would then sell the clients, but they ended up just using the products more liberally. Even so, she’s glad they tried it out.
“I’m just trying to create an environment that’s new and always changing so that way we have sort of a fresh start. We don’t do that every year but I just try to incorporate things along the way,” said Ms. Fiedtkou.
Sprucing the place up is also a treat for long-time clients, who always comment on new paint jobs or fixtures. Ms. Fiedtkou is also always looking for ways to make Blossom more communal. She’s found that adding receptionists has not only helped with scheduling, it has given a personal face to the salon.
“It’s sort of like a family feel, because people come and they’ve known us for a long time, and then the receptionists are kind of the face of the salon so they’re the ones who draw the people in and make them feel comfortable from the start,” Ms. Fiedtkou said.
Blossom offers everything from styling, cuts, and coloring, and draws in clients from all over the area with its range of services, makeup, and hair and skincare products. Each stylist has their own relationships with clients that they have built over the years, but Ms. Fiedtkou said the internet has expanded their customer base. Now, people often find out online that Blossom sells a certain product line, like Redken, and will stop by the salon.
“That’s never been the case before. That’s something new, so it’s nice that we’re on these different sites where people can find us just for that and they don’t even come for the hair,” said Ms. Fiedtkou.
Social media has also contributed to Blossom’s popularity. Word of mouth has always been the best way to get new clients in, said Ms. Fiedtkou. With apps like Instagram, stylists are now able to show off their work and attract clients virtually.
“People see the person’s hair and they trust the person and they’re friends with the person, so that’s going to draw them in,” said Ms. Fiedtkou.
With 16 years of success, Ms. Fiedtkou has considered offers to purchase second locations. She might some day, but every time the opportunity arises she thinks of what her neighbor Carlos Lopez from Carlitos Café and Cantina told her.
“You should stay simple. What I’ve learned is that when you try to put your eggs all over in these different baskets sometimes you overwhelm yourself and you lose site of the love that you had for the business that you’re actually doing,” said Ms. Fiedtkou.
For now, Blossom remains in Arlington Plaza, full of like-minded people, excited about what they do.