Wendy Bélanger, Pureology’s International Artistic Director and Owner of Influence Salon
As the 2012 Contessa award winner, Wendy Bélanger’s work and her salon have been featured on television and several commercial and trade magazines. Her career has found her at events such as fashion week; styling stars for the Oscar Awards as well as the Emmy’s in L.A. and being involved in creating the next Pureology collection.
As a business owner, I believe it is meaningful to share leadership and life experiences on getting to the top of your game. Wendy Bélanger opens her business philosophy book and shares critical pieces of information that can benefit any individual who wants the best today possible and inspire others along the way.
Can you explain how you started your business and two key fundamentals that got you where you are today?
I started in this business as a girl that just loved to do hair. I promised my father that if I could take a year off before college to take hair school that I would promise to go to University after. I don’t think any of us imagined I’d be one day owning one of the top Salons in the City being International Artistic Director of one of the fastest growing Brands in North America… I had a lot of “excuses” to not be successful. A terrible car accident, Divorce, death, adversity….(that’s another Article) But I made a choice to play a big game……It hasn’t always been easy….I’ve wanted to quit….trust me…but something always told me to pick myself up and keep going. Always Grounded, always Grateful and always Learning!
As an organization or salon gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?
There has to be a constant commitment from a top line level. We have to lead by example. We can’t lose sight of why we started this in the first place. I have a commitment to keeping my feet on the ground.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your salon and industry?
There is almost NEVER a no when it comes to creative ideas. I want the team to feel empowered to be the best Artist they can. There is always a dialog with the team when it comes to color ideas and the guests love it!!
Do you set aside specific times to cast vision to your employees and other leaders?
We have monthly meetings as well as monthly one on ones for each teammate to get support or coaching on things they want to improve on as well as an opportunity to receive praise for a job well done.
How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?
I believe it isn’t only about me finding a new teammate. I have every new employee interview me as well. This is about them finding the perfect place for them to spend part if not all of their career. So I explain our first interview like a first date. We ask questions about each other as well as tell the other what we are all about…. Then I ask them to go and tell 3 people they love and respect about our meeting. If they don’t feel excited, they will know we aren’t a fit. If their heart beats faster and the excitement surfaces as they talk about it, I tell them to call for a “second date” If we ask them to return for a second, we both know we are there not because we feel we have to be but because we want to be. I believe it is a big reason why I have little turn over. No one feels pressure, it’s a calculated decision.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
You have to earn the respect. A title doesn’t mean entitlement. If you want to be a good leader you have to get people to follow you. This means have a character and sense of integrity that makes you worth following.
What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Don’t be afraid to fall on your face. You won’t get it right every time. Just be sure that when you fall down you pick something up when you get back up.
Wendy Bélanger – Thank you for share and allowing us to share this with the rest of the world. You have inspired by leading and we are grateful.
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