We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Robertson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Megan, why did you pursue a creative career?
For as far back as I can remember, I have always thrived in a creative outlet. At the age of 3, I started dancing. Dance turned into my ultimate passion and my few lessons a week turned into lessons every day. At 12 I was sending requests to Julliard to receive their brochure. My dream was to be a professional dancer. After high school, I was accepted into the prestigious dance program at the University of Arizona. As one of 20 chosen in the country, I eagerly attended and completed my Bachelors in Fine Arts. During this program, I injured my knee and felt that I needed another creative outlet for my career as a back up plan. As a kid, I also enjoyed getting ready for shows and doing hair and makeup. With that in mind, I enrolled into the Aveda Institute of Denver to get my cosmetology license. Little did I know, I would fall in love with the hair world and dance would remain a passion, but not my career. Becoming a hairstylist, took me to Miami and then Atlanta to work for some of the best with the Aveda network. I loved the ability to be creative daily and meet so many people. It was in Atlanta that I was able to combine my love for dance with hair as I started to choreograph hair shows. As time went on and I missed Colorado, I decided to move back home and venture into opening my own salon alongside my mom. It was a dream to create my own space and team. Today, we have been in business for 9+ years and although I am not behind the chair as much as I used to be, I get to be creative in so many other ways with marketing and brand building. I can’t imagine being in a career where I couldn’t use my creative ability. As a creative, work is fun when I get to always be me, an artist.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
After attending the Aveda Institute of Denver and falling in love with hair color and Aveda, I researched where the top Aveda salons were. I decided to move across the country to learn from the best in the Aveda Network: Van Michael Salons. I didn’t know a soul and only had enough money at the time to rent a living room and travel by bike. South Beach was expensive for someone making minimum wage. I learned that a majority of the education I had read about with Van Michael occurred at their flagship location in Atlanta and decided to relocate there. Between my time in Miami, and my 8 month apprenticeship in Atlanta, I had completed 16 months of apprenticing before I could even go on the floor as a hairstylist. Paying my dues was an understatement, but it was so worth it. The education I received gave me the tools necessary to start my own business. After years in Atlanta, I decided to move back home to Colorado with the goal of opening my own salon in Boulder. I was excited to implement what I had learned from the best in the business and put my own spin on it. In 2011 Zinke Hair Studio was born. Starting a salon without a clientele ( I had just moved back from Atlanta) was a scary thing to do, but I believed in myself and opened the doors. Year one was not easy. My mom was my business partner and essentially ran the front desk and all business side of things while myself and a few stylists we had hired were on the floor full time doing hair. I paid myself only my tips I received and my mom took out of the business the same. We continued to work hard making little money, as we saw what we were building. Each year after that we were able to take normal paychecks as the business continued to grow. For the last 6 years we have been named by Salon Today Magazines a top 200 salon in the country. In 2017 we had grown so much and expanded to have a second salon in Denver. A few years ago, I was able to step away from working full time behind the chair and focus more on the business side of things. I am now able to be home with my family more and have a great work life balance. I am most proud to see what the business can now give me when I gave to it for so many years. I have learned so many things as an entrepreneur. One of the main lessons, is that just when things are tough, if you push through, there is always light on the other side. It’s like the universe is testing you to see if you are ready for what’s next. To this, one of my favorite quotes is “leap and the net will appear.” You have to be willing to take the risk and put the hard work in. The hard road becomes the easy road. I would love for people to know that we are a women owned business started by mother and daughter and we are a very green brand. Not only are we Aveda Lifestyle Salons, but we have gone further with our environmental initiative to become Green Circle Salons. Partnered with Green Circle makes our business near 98% sustainable. The beauty industry as a whole is very wasteful. With Green Circle, we are able to repurpose everything normal salons would throw into the land fill like hair clippings, left over hair color, used foils, wax strips, gloves and more.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If a friend were visiting me in Colorado these would be my top places to take them. 1. A concert at Redrocks 2. Eat dinner on Larimer Square followed by a show at DCPA 3. Spend an afternoon at Washington Park 4. Walk down 16th Street Mall for lunch and shopping 5. Go shopping and have lunch at True Food in Cherry Creek North 6. Have dinner at Linger and desert at Little Man Ice Cream 7. Visit the Coors Brewery and walk around Golden 8. Head to Boulder and spend a day on Pearl Street shopping and eating and hike Sanitas or Chautauqua
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my husband Bert for all of his support throughout my career. I met Bert when I moved to Miami to begin my hair career. The start of a hair career is tough! You make minimum wage and work countless hours. Bert was by my side through it all always encouraging me. After we got married and moved to Colorado, Bert was excited at the thought of me starting my own salon. Having a company himself, Bert has an entrepreneurial spirit and encouraged me to go for it. Starting my own business was scary, and his support helped me take the leap.
Amy Wright Photography