Ladies and gents may I introduce to you miss Lindsay Benson. Shes the fabulous owner of Brush Hair & Makeup Studio located right here in Manchester, CT. I met Lindsay years ago when we were both young and reckless college freshman at Eastern Connecticut State University. Cut to over 10 years later and this boss lady is busy pursuing her dreams of owning a business. We recently caught up to chat about how she got here and where shes going. Enjoy!
So we both went to Eastern obviously, I didn't finish, I didn't graduate...what about you? How did you end up here?
Haha nope! A year and a half and I was done! So after Eastern, I was waitressing and bartending and a couple of regular customers that would come in owned an insurance agency. They would always joke with me and ask me like " oh, what I was doing here waitressing? Come on! Get your self into something good" So I ended up with their insurance agency which was in Bloomfield and I started off as a customer service rep and within 6 months I got my Property & Casualty license for the state and started selling insurance as a producer for a small business. After doing that for a year, I felt I had no passion for that industry whatsoever.
Some how hair just fell into my lap. I always wanted to do something creative and I'm very artsy. I always wanted to work with people, I love talking all day. So all of that combined kind of got me into hair. And I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, like no matter what I did in life I needed to work for myself, so it was a good avenue to take to be on the creative side of things and also work for myself. I graduated from hair school in 2010, worked at a salon in Glastonbury and rented a chair there for a few years. Then just last year we opened up shop!
What was the scariest thing about going off on your own?
<nervous laughs> Obviously the financial risk was huge! Picking up and leaving something so secure was certainly the biggest scare of it all. And I still feel that way! Even though I'm in my flow, it's still always the scariest thing because you just don't know. Having to produce your own paycheck is like a different world. Thankfully I had my clients, I only lost about 5% of my clientele moving towns. I thought I would lose about 20%, so that wasn't too bad.
So what are some of your tips for young entrepreneurs either starting a new business, a new job or just new venture in life?
Don't be scared to take a risk! I know that sounds so cliche, but really that's all it comes down to. My biggest thing, and it's always been; write down your goals, have your goals on paper in your own handwriting. Everything I've put on paper, I have made happen. Ideas in my head, even for this place...if they are not on paper, they don't come to life. So I am a big believer in writing down your goals.
Who are some of your influences?
I mean if I'm being sentimental, I would have to say my brother has been a huge influence to me. He opened his own company 15 years ago. He's just been such a go-getter his whole life. He definitely has helped in many conversations just giving me advice and giving me a big drive.
So what's the plan? What's next for Brush and for Lindsay?
Growing! Yes for sure, I actually already have all of my 2017 plans under way, mentally at least. I want to expand with more stations and eventually take over more space in this building to expand the cosmetics part of the business. And I'd like to eventually segue into having renters and employees to give myself a little bit of both. I was speaking with a guy down in Florida at a hair show, he said to me "how much money are you making while you're down at this hair show?" I said "essentially nothing" so my long term goal is to figure out how to make money not being behind the chair. And really that is with having employees because they're going to generate revenue for me while I can focus on building the business. For right now, the first year I'm just getting comfortable. I'm covering my overhead, I'm starting to turn a profit.. but I definitely have new business plans in the works.
Overall, what's your biggest takeaway and the best advice you can give?
Embrace change!! I can say that throughout the first year even the past month, so many things have changed within the business. Like anything else in life, the tables are always turning no matter what. Relationships, personal stuff, it's no different in business. When you open up a place things are constantly thrown your way so you just have to embrace it!
So whats my takeaway from our little chat? Success is all about taking a chance and believing in yourself. I'm a huge fan of my fellow female hustlers out there and Lindsay is just that. This woman has certainly made her name for herself in the industry. Do yourself a favor and check out this beautiful spot for a little pampering and exceptional service. And while you're at it, take a page out of Lindsay's book; visualize your goals, don't be afraid to take a risk and most importantly always expect the unexpected. Remember, the only constant in life is change.
Peace and hair grease!