Misbehaven Spa & Salon recognized

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Walla Walla's Misbehaven Spa & Salon is creating a buzz in the industry.

The Alder Street business owned by Jeanese LeFore started this year on Salon Today magazine's list of the nation's top 200 salons for its growth and best practices, then followed that achievement by catching the attention of Summit Salon Business Center, billed as the world's largest salon and spa consulting, training and seminar company.

For its honor in Salon Today, the beauty business was selected to the top 200 out of 25,000 top-producing salons and spas in the country, according to the announcement.

The 13th annual list recognized salons and spas in 11 different "best practice" categories: compensation and benefits; recruitment training; customer service; retention and reward programs; advanced education; marketing; technology; environmental sustainability; retail programs; inventory control; and sales growth. Misbehaven was one of 100 salons honored for the latter -- with 29 percent growth in 2009 -- and was profiled in the magazine's commemorative January/February edition.

Salons and spas chosen for the list had to meet a variety of criteria, including generate annual service and product sales revenues of at least $250,000 per year since 2007, and submit documentation to verify the business's financials in order to compete in the growth category.

As it turned out, a healthy makeover of the business operation -- with an assist from the Summit Small Business Center -- may have helped Misbehaven land on the list.

In the subsequent article for the consulting organization, author Misa Chappell wrote that changing Misbehaven's staffing system helped convert it from a salon that was losing money to one that's been on the grow.

When Summit Salon Business Center consultant Michael Shea first visited Misbehaven in 2007, the business operated with 100 percent booth rentals, Chappell wrote.

"They were on the edge of desperation and there was a real sense of do or die," Shea told Chappell for the piece.

He began working with LeFore on a staff conversion that made the stylists and other workers employees of the business, rather than renters of space there. The conversion was complete in January 2009, LeFore explained in the piece. But by the end of 2008, the salon had almost tripled its income.

At the end of the piece, LeFore described a future for the business that looks even brighter. "My goals include to expand the salon, maybe move to a new location," she said. "I'd love to bring a school into the area. And as always, to make sure that the service providers are all content, well-adjusted, succeeding. In other words ... to keep 'growing people for a living!'"

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

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