Starting Up My Own Salon. Part One.

I first got the ideal to start my own salon in the fall of 2019. Little did I know all the troubles, disappointments and stress that would follow.

Mall design
First Attempt

Promenade Mall

I was looking for a space in early 2020. I looked everywhere in Tulsa. All the affordable strip malls had at least one salon and barbershop. I had found an empty salon finally at The Promenade Mall.

My business partner at the time talked me out of it. He said the salon was to small and that because he was a contractor, he could build me a bigger one from scratch. I had met Danny a few times when he came to get a haircut when I was working at W Salon in Woodland Hills Mall. I remember Danny really liked the way I cut his hair. Danny ended up following and adding me as his friend on facebook.

I was working for a guy named Steve, who ran 12 salons. He was my main inspiration to start my own salon. The guy started off with one and keep growing opening up more. Keep in mind these were all different salons and none were franchised. After Steve was forced to close his Salon (because of a larger renter at the mall), I was left without a salon job.

One day I was searching ads and stumbled across a cheap salon for rent at The Promenade Mall. They wanted $800 a month for it. I posted a message on my Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go into business and help me with the rent. I had two replies. One was from Danny and the other from a guy who seemed to misunderstand the posting. I of course talked to Danny since he knew me from cutting his hair a few times. He agreed to meet me at the salon to see if it would work. Little did I know, he would end up causing me the most stress and finial hardship I have ever endured at that time.

Covid-19, Danny & The Failed Attempts!

In 2020, me and Danny were looking at spaces in the mall. We had one picked out upstairs, but before we could sign a lease, covid-19 was going around and the government shut down all non essential businesses. That meant that the mall got shut down until July 2020. I should have taken all the hints that it was a bad ideal to start up a business, but I was eager to go at it.

Once the mall reopened back up. Danny and me revisited the space upstairs. Danny seemed to be less impressed this time around and said the space was to small. Annoyed, I said what about the space on the other side, it was bigger. He really liked it. The mall manager got back to me and said they didn't want to rent any of the upstairs spaces out as they were trying to move all stores to the first floor. Again I got annoyed. There was only one space that was small and big enough for a salon. We went ahead and gave in and chose that one.

It was in a good location just off the front entrance, however it wasn't a salon. It was an old shoe store. It was missing the plumbing I needed for hair sinks and the rooms I wanted, however it was a empty space that could be built out. Danny assured me he could do it all for me. The agreement was I pay for all the salon stuff and he pays for the build out. It would be a 50/50 partnership. I signed the lease and it seemed to take forever to get Danny to sign it as well. Looking back, I should've took that as a sign. Danny just told me he was bust a lot. I finally got him to sign the lease and he wrote a $1600 check to the mall. The check bounced. I got charged a $50 fee from the mall. Somehow they finally got the money and credited the fee to the rent.

Danny had three months to do the build out. I was excited. In three months, I was going to have a stunning salon or so I thought. I had spent around $40k on salon equipment. During July, August and September I waited for Danny to start work. He did nothing!

The rent was due. He split it with me. I begged him to start working on the build out, three more months go by. He had sent a few guy to knock down some walls and cut into Sheetrock. He stopped doing any work, left the spaced damaged. Three months later he stopped paying rent, I was left paying it all my self with no salon build out.

At that point, 6 months had gone by on the lease with no salon. I was still told I had to pay it by the mall. I tried to find cheap contractors to do the build out. The only thing I ended up getting done was the floor sanded to a bare concrete. After that I couldn't keep up with the rent or pay contractors to do any work. I was defeated. Danny had left me broke and in debt.

I paid on it until the lease was 100% paid off. I would say out of the $10k year rent, I paid out my own pocket $8,000k of that. Danny only lost a few thousand. I was in debt. $8k in rent and $40k in salon equipment. I had to pay additional $1,200 a year in storage costs. All in all I was in deep at around $60k. All I could do is work and pay on the debt all through 2020 and 2021.

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