Q&A with Salon Owner Jessica of Jessica’s Color Room
As we celebrate the salon’s 20th anniversary, we sat down with salon owner Jessica Dudley. Jessica is a master colorist with over 25 years of experience in the hairdressing industry. Her focus is on continuing education and training for her hairstylists so they can stay current with the latest industry techniques and trends. Jessica is dedicated to leading and encouraging the salon team and supporting the guests’ experience. She loves to use her experience as a tool to help mentor the next generation of hairstylists.
1. How did your hairstyling career begin?
I went to a technical high school, Vinal Tech, in Middletown (where the salon is located). I was able to take the state boards in 1996, my senior year, and received my license as a hairdresser. I am a big believer and supporter of technical schools.
2. What do you think you’d be doing if you didn’t own a salon?
When I was thinking of becoming a hairdresser, I was also thinking about becoming a psychologist. My sister shared with me that you could be a hairdresser and a psychologist, but you couldn’t be a psychologist and a hairdresser, so I chose hairdressing.
3. What inspired you to start your own salon business?
I was styling hair for about six years when I became pregnant with my oldest son, Dylan. I struggled with wanting to stay home with him and start my hair salon, so I came up with the brilliant idea of having a daycare in my salon. That lasted about 18 months, caring for him and caring for clients at the same time. I realized that was not a good idea and instead focused on the salon.
4. How has your salon grown over the years?
Well, as I said, we started with just myself, my newborn child, and one chair. We’ve remodeled about three times, going from one chair to 6 to 10, and now 12 chairs. The salon has expanded from 800 square feet to our current 3,000 square feet.
5. What have you learned in your 20 years of business?
A lot! I think the number one thing I’ve learned is that I can’t do it all. With every new hire comes new talent, and each of my teammates is responsible for the growth of our business. I think they love the leadership roles they bring to the table.
6. What do you love most about owning a salon?
I love being in a career where we make people’s day. We make people happy, which is instant gratification. I also truly love growing the staff, and the new talent, as well as developing our apprentice program. Our salon has an apprenticeship program where a future hairstylist can receive paid hours while attending school. It’s a great opportunity for both of us.
7. What do you like least about owning a hair salon?
It can be lonely at the top. Sometimes I want to cry but must hold it in, so I fake it and stay strong. We have a high retention rate with the staff, but it never gets easier each time a staff member decides to move on. It takes a little piece of my heart and my team’s heart because we’re like a family here. Anytime someone leaves, it’s very sad.
8. What advice would you give those looking to enter the hair industry?
Be coachable. When new staff members join the salon, they should be ready to learn and never stop learning. I advise that they are always open to being coached because we want to see them succeed, and the more coachable they are, the more successful they will be.
9. What do you envision for the future of the salon?
We’re looking to expand our apprenticeship program. Also, I am excited to say that we have outgrown the salon, so I am looking to franchise Jessica’s Color Room. Stay tuned for more!
10. What do you like to do in your free time?
I love camping with my husband and three boys. I also love to make t-shirts. I created all the t-shirts that my team wears in the salon. I have taken up golfing recently too.
If you are interested in booking an appointment with Jessica, please call 860-344-8677.
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