Adelle Valentine-Graham is a hair extension expert and has been in the hair styling business for over a decade. A year into it, she began learning and specializing in hair extensions and has become one of the top hair extension stylists not only in Greenville, SC, but throughout the Southeast.
Always on the lookout for new methods and techniques, she has stayed at the top because of her desire to enrich other people’s lives by making them look and feel gorgeous. She also has a passion for teaching other team members in the salon how to be the best in the industry as well as delivering customer excellence.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
For us it just happened. My clientele grew so fast that I ran out of the space I was in at the time, and had to move into a new space.
Over time, our clientele kept growing to the point that I needed to hire more team members to help with the overflow.
We then created a new business plan designed to hire new professionals and train them from square one to be the best stylist possible.
We now have 11 team members and are still growing by leaps and bounds. We have talent from 20+ years down to 1 year in the business.
Business is booming, and we are excited for the future!
Tell us about your business.
We are the top hair salon in Greenville, SC.
We specialize in customer excellence and hair extensions. All of our stylists are certified and highly trained professionals when it comes to extensions.
We were the first to start doing extensions in our area, which helped gain awareness. There is a huge need for women to look and feel their best, and that is what we do here.
We have a guest protocol that everyone follows here to ensure that every guest is treated with customer excellence. We have an amazing team atmosphere where we all work together to accomplish the same goal.
We cheer each other on when we win and pick each other up when we don’t. It’s not uncommon for us to share guests on a regular basis. If a guest is not able to get in to see me, then they are offered a different stylist to meet their needs.
This makes our guests feel that they come first, so then they are comfortable and at ease. Every morning we start our day with an energizer/ icebreaker in our team huddle.
This preps our energy for our guests and gets us all ready for the day ahead. It’s by far my favorite part of the day.
After our energizer, we get into our daily goals. We all work towards success every day, therefore we need to know where we are and where we are going in order to hit our goals.
We talk about how to close the gap from what’s on the book to what our goals are that day. This method has helped us grow 84% in 2017.
- National Best Extensions Award
- Train the Trainer with EHP
Where is your business based?
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
We have an incredible word-of-mouth business. Instagram has been huge for our business growth in the last year, it has really taken off like crazy.
We have quickly realized that we need to engage first on social media to receive engagement back and this was a huge eye-opener for our business.
We have a goal of 30+ new guests a month and are far exceeding that right now.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
The biggest challenge has been hiring the right team members. We look for hungry, humble and smart team players and they are hard to find in this industry.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We have set systems and procedures in place to help with the hiring process so that it is seamless.
We also have our leadership team interview the potential team member to get their opinions as well.
Each individual typically goes through 3-4 interviews before we hire them.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I am very self-motivated, and I am always my biggest competition. I always look at the bigger picture to help me look past the difficulties of owning a business.
I also have a coach to keep me grounded. When I am struggling, she helps me walk through it and see new perspectives that I didn’t see before.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We aren’t your normal salon. Our reviews speak for themselves. Our goal is to exceed every expectation with our guests and this is what solely sets us apart.
Our stylists are also extremely educated in regards to everything hair so they can educate their guests on what we do and why.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
A dear friend told me that God will allow me to go through trials and struggles to make me stronger and to mold me to be who He needs me to be.
If I could see the storm ahead of time, I would never choose to go through it. But every time I go through a storm, I come out stronger and more equipped to handle the next storm when it arrives.
It’s not if, but when the storm arrives, I am always ready for it. Running a business with employees is hard. It just is! I didn’t realize this till I opened my own business.
However, I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t gone through each struggle and storm that I have been through.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
I would hands down tell a new entrepreneur to seek counsel and advice from others in your industry. I wish I would have done this to help avoid some of the pitfalls I had.
I would say to hire a coach in your industry from the very beginning to help set your business up for success. It took me 2 years to realize this and I wish I would have had someone to tell me to do this!
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
We have a weekly/monthly tracker. This is such an amazing tool that I cannot live without.
It tells me everything I need to know about the health of my business and how my stylists are doing on a day-to-day basis.
This resource come from a company called Inspiring Champions. I love all the tools they have provided. They have literally changed my business around completely.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We are trying to keep up with our growth right now, so this means a future expansion for my salon. I have pre-planned the entire expansion and a timeline of when this will happen.
I am looking for help with how to utilize our new space and the design of it to be the most profitable that we can be, while still maintaining our current customer excellence during the upcoming changes.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I have huge goals that I am working towards. First is securing a location to purchase. Next is prepping my team for the move and what to expect.
I want to be in our new space by Dec of this year. We are opening to 6 days a week by October 2018, and hiring 3 more stylists by Dec.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.