Have you ever desired a salon with all the style and service of Beverly Hills, but without the pretension? Suzanne Curry-Walker set out to create just that. As Californians relocated to Reno in the mid-nineties, demand steadily grew for a salon that would provide high-quality service while keeping on the forefront of the ever changing world of style.
Suzanne opened Metamorphosis in January of 2007 in response to that demand. Since then Metamorphosis has grown steadily in both clientele and stylists, becoming a salon with all the perks of Rodeo Drive while keeping the familiar feel of the “Biggest Little City in the World.” Prior to even starting beauty school, Suzanne knew that owning her own salon was her ultimate goal. After working as a stylist in Reno for a number of years, Suzanne struck out on her own in 2005, finding the perfect location in the Smith’s Shopping Center on South Meadows Parkway.
“I took on construction and everything, right from the get-go, thinking I was going to be able to pull it off,” says Suzanne. Unfortunately, difficulties with construction companies and financial partners delayed the project and Suzanne was left working full-time to pay the $10,000/month rent on her salon, for a full year before it was ever in business. No foreseeable end in sight, Suzanne sought outside help.
Acting on the recommendation of her uncle, Suzanne attended the SCORE Small Business Orientation and then met with NSBDC Counselors. The counselors helped her restructure her business management and regain control of the construction process. Further NSBDC counseling sessions helped illuminate irregularities in the professional financial advice Suzanne was receiving from her CPA. With the help of the NSBDC, Suzanne drafted new projections for her business and completed a professional business plan. A counselor even accompanied Suzanne to a financing convention at the Grand Sierra Resort, and soon thereafter they secured financing from a local community bank.
Since opening, Suzanne has had success in attracting clientele and maintaining satisfied customers. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. Suzanne stresses the importance of continued education. She’s on the National Education Team for Schwarzkopf International, an established color line that’s been around for 110 years, and she teaches at other salons all over the West Coast. She enjoys learning as much as she can about her industry, and sharing that with others. “I believe that to be at the top of the industry you have to be current with everything.” Consistent with that philosophy, Suzanne still uses NSBDC counselors to help analyze the growth of her business and revise her future projections.
Ultimately Suzanne just wants customers to feel at home. “[Customer Service] is the focus of this business,” she says, and after having experienced the smiles, the soothing music, and the iced tea, I know she means it. She welcomes competition because she knows the value of what she provides. “There’s enough business in this town for anybody and everybody,” says Suzanne. “I modeled [Metamorphosis] after Beverly Hills, after the Bellagio. I wanted something different.” She certainly achieved her goal.
Success story compiled and written by Cecil “Chuck” McCumber – Graduate Assistant – Nevada Small Business Development Center