We had the good fortune of connecting with Virlena McUne and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Virlena, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Consistency. My approach to this endeavor was to come up with a strategy for top notch customer experience, and to make that something we strive for with each client in our salon. We are nothing if we can’t duplicate the experience each time the client visits. It also provides a standard and contributes to a perceived value. People feel good about spending their dollars locally, and we want to be a place that gives them something in return. We have had a 20-year run with this strategy, and that is what sets us apart from other salons in the area.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I went to school to do hair at the same time I was in high school. I knew from a very young age, that this is what I wanted to do. I now realize just how lucky I was to know that! I see so many struggle with this, and I am grateful that I knew. So I started this career at 18. I went to work in a salon where I was the youngest, by a LONG shot! I began thinking, “What on earth do I even know that can contribute? I’m just a kid.” So, my very first goal in building a clientele was to just keep asking questions and talking with clients until I found ONE thing in common with them. It worked! It kept me engaged in who they were as people, and I learned something every single day! I learned a lot of things…I was in a smaller city, and was making my goal to move to Denver, when the lady that I was working for said something to me that has been the fire in my belly ever since. She said. “You’ll never make it. you need to just stay here.” I thank her every day. That was my original “why”, to prove her wrong. In 2002 I moved to Denver, and although it was a challenge to find where I belonged, I learned a ton. I worked as an employee for 4 years, realized that their business model had a glass ceiling, and that is when I decided to go on my own. Become an independent contractor, and be in charge of my own destiny! I have always had an incredible work ethic, so I knew I already had what it would take to build another clientele. In 2006 I found the salon I am in now, it was owned by someone else at the time. I loved where it was, I loved the sense of community it had, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I knew right away, that this was where I could build the rest of my career. I worked as an independent contractor for 12 years, and when the owner decided to sell it, I bought it, I still maintain my full clientele, have grown the team from 4 to 7, I have remodeled the space, and have gotten to share my knowledge and excitement to help motivate the team. I love watching them set goals for themselves and celebrating every victory with them! In my 28 years, I never learned anything the easy way, I learned it all on my hands and knees, so if I can make it easier for just one person, in just one way, it was worth every second. This summer we get to celebrate our 20 years in business. That feels magical!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a huge fan of Colorado, having been here most of my life. But I am also a fan of Denver! I would pick a favorite hike, like Mt Falcon Park in Morrison, of course a show at red rocks, because anyone you’ll see there will be amazing. I have a few favorite local restaurants such as The Greenwich, La Loma, and True Food. A blanket in Cheeseman Park one afternoon, Wine on a patio, like Postino, and maybe a visit to Estes Park, just to take in the mountains a bit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Over my 28-year career, I have been fortunate enough to participate in several leadership programs, salon education, and classes that contribute to what I call my “toolbox”. I have worked with countless professionals in this industry that have shared so much of their insight and wisdom. I would have to say, concepts from books like “7 habits of Highly Effective People” “Who moved my cheese” “Life as Day maker” “Start with Why” just to name a few, have all been helpful in both my professional growth and how I approach leadership. I also worked for a company, years ago, that provided their own curriculum/workshop for their employees that included many of the teachings that I still use today.