30669 US 19 North
Palm Harbor FL 34684
727-492-5539 - http://www.bladezandbangz.com/
I’ve been a beauty industry professional for nearly 45 years, but really, I grew up in the industry. I grew up in the family beauty school business where I was trained by my grandmother and have worked in beauty schools as well as salons.
In fact, I’ve have previously owned 5 salons, all in Florida. I built each from the ground up, growing them, staffing them and then selling them to other aspiring salon owners. Four of them are still in operation today.
Q. What drew you to the Suite life?
It wasn’t really something I had thought about, but then the last year of my lease I got a phone call from Wendy Bernhard, the owner of MY SALON Suite of Palm Harbor Florida. She was reaching out to area salon owners and talking to them about the Suite life to see if they had an interest in coming over with their staff to open Suites.
At that time I had a year left on my lease so it wasn’t a viable option for me, but we hit it off on the phone instantly. I was interested in the business she was building and I was sharing some of my expertise with her as a salon owner, but then after I had a chance to see the type of business she was building I realized she was already running a great business.
When the lease came up I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to continue owning my own salon as a Salon Suite so that I could slow down a little bit. Wendy had been so nice on the phone that I went to talk to her again to see if this could be the right move for me.
In the past, I would build up salon businesses and sell them and then go to work for someone else. What would happen is that I’d find I couldn’t work for someone else because I wouldn’t agree with how they did business. That’s one of the most amazing things about what’s been different with MY SALON Suites. They are doing things the way I would do them and in some ways even taking it farther than I would.
Not only was Wendy instrumental in my decision to become a Suite owner, Dawn Haag, Wendy's sister and this location's Property Manager and Leasing Agent was as well. This location has been fully-staffed since it's first year of operations. They also have a waiting list and I give a lot of credit to Dawn for that because of her techniques and the way she manages the spaces.
In addition, Wendy's husband and business partner Brian Bernhard makes this place amazing. He's nearly always here or available to come on a moment's notice to fix or maintain anything that needs attention. The way they run this business is what attracted me and it's what keeps me here.
These people couldn't be any closer in operating their business as I ran my own businesses in the past. It's almost like I trained them myself (haha) which of course I couldn't take credit for at all. They aren't hair stylists, but they definitely know what stylists need to be successful.
It’s really amazed me, the Franchise owners here are just such great people to be around. I couldn’t work for anyone else. It’s saying a lot for me and for them. There’s nothing they’d ask that I wouldn’t do for them, they are just those kind of people.
Q. What’s the one thing about being a Suite Owner that you love most?
It’s hard to pin down to one thing – because it’s everything. No headaches. I still own and operate my own business, without the headaches and challenges that came with running a multi-chair salon.
My clients absolutely LOVE the privacy Salon Suites provide. In a typical salon you have other hairdressers and clients around and everyone can listen in on your conversations. With MY SALON Suites, there are no other hairdressers listening in and no other clients who are able to overhear or even weigh in with their advice. When clients share personal information with their hairdresser, they are sharing private information and they are usually doing so because they want their hairdresser to offer advice, not someone else’s hairdresser or the client in the next chair. Here, clients can share personal information or ask me for advice and get my 2 cents without worrying about who else might be listening.
Q. Share your success! If you were going to give a new Suite Owner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Keep an eye on where you’re going and the road ahead - but never forget where you came from and who got you going. In 1988 I rented my first chair as an independent contractor. The salon was run by a mother/daughter team. Mom - JoAnne Phillips ran the operations and daughter Gay Gatlin was the working partner. Gay and I got along wonderfully.
I had always wanted to own a salon but the funds weren't there. After about 3 months, JoAnne (mom) offered me her half of the salon ownership at an unbelievable price. I will always be extremely grateful to JoAnne and Gay for giving me my start as a salon owner. They changed my life - which is why I say never forget where you started and who helped you get there.
Q. What’s your favorite color?
Purple or silver. Purple being I am also a painter, besides a hairdresser, the color just draws your eyes to it instantly. Can be vibrant, warm, encompasses you. Silver because it’s like gold but very subdued instead of in your face. Luxe without being in your face.
P.S. We asked MY SALON Suite franchise owners to tell us what sets Matt’s business apart from the rest, here’s what they said:
“Matt is a dedicated stylist. He truly cares about his clients and his ultimate goal is to make them feel truly welcomed and appreciated. He is a genuine asset to the MY SALON Suite® community. He frequently offers help in the community if the franchise owners are out of town. He has offered to mentor younger, less seasoned stylists and as a prior salon owner has offered the franchise owners ideas and suggestions about the beauty business. He truly cares about the community and always lets us know if something is amiss.”