Georgia L. Jones opened Aphrodites Hair & Nails in March of 1999. The salon was launched in a small rental portion behind a local business. Georgia started with a small investment of 4500.00 and began growing her salon. She worked consistently and invested as the shop made a profit. October 2012, they made their 3rd move into a larger spot in the downtown area of Lebanon, MO. On May 1, 2013 she sold her business for a profit and retained her building to begin a new venture in the near future.
MO: What inspired to open a salon?
Georgia: When I first decided to open my own salon I was inspired by what I felt was lacking in some local salons, customer service. As a female I had been to several different salons in town and had a few friends that were cosmetologists and we had discussed customer service issues in the salons where they worked. At the time it seemed difficult to find a salon that offered a widespread comfortable atmosphere. I thought, if I was looking for something different others must also be. I wanted to really focus on the idea that everyone was welcome and would be treated the same across the board with a customer service attitude. We have used the slogan, “Your experience is our priority,” and I believe that is the most important thing in any business.
MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Georgia: I have definitely always had the entrepreneurial spirit. I like creating my own future and expanding on possibilities. I believe the only thing standing between us and our dreams is education, hard work, and some start-up money. I also believe if you start small and grow as it is profitable, not only does it keep you motivated and reaching for the next level, you have the ability to grow with it and balance the debt verses income issues. I have several ideas for new businesses for the future and am in the process of creating and expanding on those ideas currently.
MO: How have you managed to deliver an exceptional experience when it comes to customer service for the past 14 years?
Georgia: In years past we have always heard, “the customer is always right!” I believe this is true but if you expand on this idea you have a perfect set up for any service orientated based business. I have always looked at my customers as though they are my boss. While they are there, they are paying for my time and attention, the service has to be good, but the attention to them has to be great, if it is they will return, if not, they will not. Our customers literally write our paycheck with each visit, so their experience has to be our priority. There is a balance to that concept also and different people require a different experience. The hard rule that I always follow with clients is to be honest and focus on them. I try to keep everything based around them. I even make notes on their client cards about events going on in their lives if I think I may forget, so I can ask them about it on their next visit.
MO: Can you talk about how after 14 years of building your business that you’re now going to hand over the reins to someone else? How did you know that you were ready to take the leap?
Georgia: This is actually a very new role for me since I just closed on the sale of my business on May 1st, however, I seem to be adjusting very well. Time management was becoming a huge issue. I have devoted many hours weekly to the business and was ready to free up some time. I am in a place in my author career that I would like to devote more time to that and my family has become more demanding with an elderly mother, an autistic 23 year old son, and a 6 year old. I have several other business endeavors that I want to pursue and there just isn’t enough time in a day to do everything that I would like to do. So, in short, it was a simple decision because something had to be cut out and the business was the most logical choice. I’m in a unique position because I still work at the salon part time, so I have the best of both worlds. I get to see the business continue to grow under the new ownership and continue to be a part of it.
I really didn’t know if I was ready to take the leap. Everything fell into place flawlessly and it happened pretty quickly. I was very nervous the day before we closed and didn’t sleep much the night before. Every avenue of thought led me back to the idea that it was the right decision for me at this time, so I went with it. I feel like it was a huge success because I started with little cost, made a good living for 14 years, developed a reputation that is known and respected through-out the community, and sold my business for a good profit because of the hard work that I put into it. When people tell me, “I just don’t know what to say,” I always respond, “How about Congratulations!” I feel very good about the decision.
MO: How important has social media been to your marketing strategy?
Georgia: Social media is an amazing tool for small businesses. Not only is it free, it gets our message in front of people who can take advantage of it, which makes it great for advertising. It is a win-win if done correctly and in good taste. It has been important enough to me that I actually had a social media director in the salon. Her job was to make sure that all of our content was appropriate and posted in a timely fashion. It can also be a negative tool if the content isn’t professional. I also took the liberty of talking with employees and asking them to become involved in the process. We had meetings about things that should go on the sites and what should not, because inappropriate content can cause problems.
MO: You’re also an author. Can you talk about any projects that you’re currently working and where you draw your inspiration from?
Georgia: I actually have several different projects in the works right now. I have a 5 book series that I’m currently writing called “Remnants of Life”. It is an urban fantasy series that features a new twist on legends and myths. The first book, “Legends of Darkness”, was released on March 17, 2012 and the second, “Witches”, on December 1, 2012. I’m published by Blackwyrm Publishing out of Louisville, KY. I’m currently working on the third book in the series as well as several other smaller projects like the “Smarty Mic Smartypants” series. It features parodies of events that are political and pop cultural in nature, like the Mayan calendar scare, zombie apocalypse, and such, but is venturing into just funny stuff that we do day to day.
I have been a writer since I could hold a pencil. It is something I have always done and have an intense passion for. It will work its way into my next business ventures as well. One of the things I would like to do is begin setting up workshops for aspiring writers. I have always drawn my inspiration from life in general. There is a story in everything that I see, it’s just bringing it out and writing it down.
If you would like to know more about my writing and ventures will be going along with it please feel free to visit:
Thank You for the opportunity to be interviewed by MO.COM! It is always a pleasure to share ideas and knowledge!
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