Loyal Wooldridge, 29, doesn’t know if he’d do it all over again.
“The biggest problem with starting my own business when I was 21 is that I was naive,” he said.
“It was a shot in the dark. There were a lot of sleepless nights and heartache. If I were to go into it today I would do so with a more structured plan and stronger financials.”
Upon second thought, Wooldridge corrects himself and credits naivety for his business survival.
“I guess there couldn’t have been one without the other,” he said with a laugh.
Of course, all of this is moot now, because eight years on, Wooldridge owns and operates the successful, market-leading and innovative salon, Loyal Hair Therapy.
“I give a lot of credit to L’Oreal Canada,” said Wooldridge.
“It is a global hair and salon supply brand and the business coaches and business specialists I’ve been able to work with in Edmonton and Toronto have really helped me make Loyal Hair Therapy a success.”
In fact, the L’Oreal coaches have made such an impact that Wooldridge’s next step is likely to be business coaching and consulting in the salon sector.
In the meantime, there’s a lot of hair to be cut and styled and empowerment to be handed out.
Besides the traditional salon services, Loyal Hair Therapy is also what Wooldridge calls a “purveyor of ultra-confidence.”
That aplomb comes from the business’ Know Who You Are, Own It and I Am Me campaigns to match courage, tenacity and spunk with a great hairdo.
“It started as a slogan to go along with the annual pink T-shirt, anti-bullying movement,” said Wooldridge.
“Now it’s a philosophy we use all the time, year-round to encourage people to know who they are and own it, whatever that means to them.”
There’s an I Am Me line of T-shirts and candles developed in conjunction with Ignite Design.
And the I Am Me branding came about from social brainstorming with Mike Czuboka of Pixel Savvy, which still does most of Loyal’s marketing.
“We don’t just advertise to people,” said Wooldridge.
“We have the branding and media presence to introduce social initiatives and be a community service.”
Loyal Hair Therapy started with a small salon in North Glenmore in 2006 and moved to a higher-profile location on Highway 97 at Cooper Road two-and-a-half years ago.
“Expansion has been at the back of my mind,” said Wooldridge.
“But, I don’t want to dilute the brand. If there’s a stylist who I work with and trust who wants to open another location then I guess that could be in the future.”
By the way, Loyal is Loyal’s real name.
“I was named after my grandfather,” he said.
“And it also happens to be a great name for a business and marketing and branding.”