Natalie James Created An Experience-Based Salon To Help Women Unwind
What you’ll learn in this interview:
- How Natalie created a business that helped fill a gap in the salon industry.
- The tips and tools she uses to help her run her business.
- How she stays focused on fitness while being a mom of three and an entrepreneur.
- The books and podcasts she loves to help her stay motivated and focused.
- The women who inspire her to reach for more.
How This Salon Owner Runs Her Business Behind The Scenes
1. What do you do? Who do you help?
- At Vent Blow Dry Bar we are focused on providing outstanding blowouts and makeup services that treat clients to an affordable, luxury experience. Our professional services and attention to detail leave clients feeling confident and uplifted.
- We provide in-salon and mobile services that cater to small and large group bookings, corporate events, brand collaborations, editorial work and of course, bridal.
2. List your favorite business tools.
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- Mailchimp – makes sending out newsletters very easy and allows you to manage subscribers and track your campaign’s performance.
- Booker (Mindbody) – is built within a software tool called Fredrick that allows us to target and email clients based on a series of variables.
- Google Drive – great for storing and synchronizing files between multiple users.
- Google Alerts – this is a helpful tool to alert you if you or your business are mentioned anywhere online.
- Adobe Photoshop – amazing tool for editing and creating images and digital content.
- Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress – again, I am not the most experienced when it comes to this stuff so having a tool like this that teaches you how to optimize your posts to help drive traffic to your site is gold!
- QuickBooks – makes it very easy to track expenses and balance what is coming in and going out. We also work directly with an accountant throughout the year, which helps us make decisions and to ensure we are on the right track financially. (We used many of the back-end accounting tools built within our booking software, this is helpful because it pulls from the most up to date sales information).
3. What is a good course, website or book you would recommend and why?
- GoDaddy – really easy to search and purchase domain names and hosting needs. Their online support is also very helpful.
- Zoom – I love this for video conferencing. I am big on face to face meetings, so this is the next best thing when in-person just isn’t possible.
- Indeed – being in the service industry Indeed is a great resource for posting jobs and searching resumes.
- 5 Second Rule – Mel Robbins
- Dare to Lead – Brene Brown
- The Universe Has Your Back – Gabriella Bernstein
- Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis
- High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard
I am a podcast junkie (and will be starting one of my own very soon). So, I took the liberty to share some of my favorites.
- The So Much More Show with Carol Elizabeth
- Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis
- How I Built This with Guy Raz
- The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher
- The Brendon Show with Brendon Burchard
4. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
- Don’t compare yourself to others who are further along in their journey, they too started at the bottom and went through challenging times – any successful entrepreneur does.
- Surround yourself with people who support your vision.
- Dream your wildest dreams and then dream bigger.
5. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
- Don’t wait for the perfect time or setting to start. If you wait for perfection or for all your planning to be 100% complete you will never get started. So much of your learning will come from doing. Get after it!
- Keep your vision clear at all times, but be flexible and open to making adjustments to your business plan along the way.
- It is never too late to chase your dreams. Being an older entrepreneur has unique advantages from years of life experience and financial stability.
6. What is your beauty and/or fitness routine?
- Blowouts on the regular of course!
- Daily bubble bath, this is my time to decompress and warm-up because I’m always cold.
- No matter what I am doing, even working from home, I get up every day and do my hair and makeup. This makes me feel ready for anything and puts me in the mindset to achieve maximum productivity.
- I tend to switch up my product regime regularly, However, one tried and true product that I will never give up is WithinUs TruMarine Collagen. This product has so many benefits that my entire family has seen amazing results from.
- Meditation – I don’t know if it would be considered a beauty routine, but it does play a huge role in my overall well-being. I try to dedicate at least 10 min every morning to meditation, it helps me to start my day with intention and focus.
- I eat very clean and try really hard to stick to a balanced diet. My husband has a number of food intolerances so this helps me to stay on track.
- I work best with a plan and goal. I like to work with a coach to help me achieve my fitness goals. I find that as I get older, it is important to have this kind of focused approach and guidance to deal with some of the specific challenges that can arise in my 40s. I attribute a lot of my success to Nichelle Laus, a Coach & Transformation Specialist who built me a program that takes into consideration my age, areas of concern and my busy schedule. Her programs are top notch, I started with her 8 Weeks to FabuLAUS program that honestly changed how I approach fitness.
- Move every day, even if it means just taking my two dogs for a walk.
- I like to workout at least 4 days per week with a combination of cardio and weight training.
7. List the products or items that are indispensable in your life.
- All things Apple – my MacBook, Apple Watch and iPhone. These allow me to work from anywhere and stay connected with my kids no matter where I am.
- My Dyson hair dryer – if I have to do my own hair, this dryer cuts my blow drying in half and does an amazing job! We also use them exclusively at Vent.
- My agenda/planner – I am still very old school when it comes to my schedule. I need to write everything down in addition to planning electronically with my phone’s calendar.
8. Which female entrepreneur(s) do you look up to and why?
There are many Canadian female entrepreneurs who I admire for their success, drive and determination. A few that I have enjoyed watching recently are:
- Emily Lyons, CEO Femme Fetal Media, Lyons Elite, Tru Glue and her watch company JWLS, which donates 100 percent of the proceeds towards her charity the Julia Lyons Foundation. Emily used her personal struggles as motivation to build multiple successful businesses and a charitable organization. She is driven and determined to succeed all while staying true to her beliefs and dedication to helping other female entrepreneurs including myself.
- Joanna Griffiths, Founder & CEO of Knixwear. Although I have never met Joanna I have watched her journey from the periphery from her time on Dragon’s Den to building a very successful brand (and amazing products). She has also shared her struggle with fertility and started a movement called Faces of Fertility that has empowered women to share their stories. I am a mom of three beautiful children who are now 10, 13 and 16. However, I went through a difficult time when I experienced a miscarriage in-between my two boys. This was 15 years ago and there wasn’t the ability that there is today to be supported by such a wonderful community of women who can help you though all the emotions that come with this kind of loss. I commend her for what she is doing concerning this issue.
And of course, there are many other epic women whom need no introduction. Their success is extraordinary and the barriers they are breaking for women is admirable.
- Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Founder of Leanin.org and Author. Sheryl’s books have provided me with so much value that has help me gain valuable insights of being a woman in business.
- Rachel Hollis, Author, Motivational Speaker and Mom of four. This woman is a powerhouse. Her raw and honest approach is really refreshing. She shares her personal stories of devastating loss, leaving a difficult home life home at a young age with little education, her and her husband’s journey through being foster parents and her own personal struggle with debilitating anxiety. Through it all she was able to take all of those life moments and turn them into fuel to drive her to success. I can relate to her on many levels and I have gained valuable insights from her that have helped me through some of my own experiences and my journey of being a wife, mom and entrepreneur.
9. List your social media platforms.
- Instagram @ventblowdrybar, @im.nataliejames
- Facebook @ventblowdrybar
- LinkedIn @NatalieJames
- Pinterest @ventblowdrybar