Running Your Business by The Book

Mike and Gayle for Audio Graphic.png

Regardless of your religious background, we can all agree that entrepreneurial pursuits almost always require a bit of faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in the business, and faith in faith itself for getting us through. Salon ownership is no exception, it’s tricky business to run a salon and sometimes you just have to step back and let your faith guide your journey.

It can be a challenge to build a business that aligns with your values, but if you can incorporate those core beliefs into your work in small ways every day, you can create a prosperous and truly fulfilling career. A career that not only benefits you, as an owner, but one that imbues meaning into the lives of all those you employ and all of the clients you serve. 

There are few more passionate about running their business by the book—that is, the Bible—than Mike and Gayle Reuling, owners and operators of the Air Salon & Blow Dry Bar, with three locations in Louisiana. The Reulings are steadfast believers in the power of sticking to your values and they’re excited to share their best advice for encompassing your spirituality in your business model with a special focus on servant leadership. 

Gayle is the founder of Air Salon & Blow Dry Bar, she started her salon in the attic of her home and has grown substantially in her last 30 years. She thinks of her time behind the chair as both her passion and her ministry. 

Mike, on the other hand, is still relatively new to the industry. After 31 years in corporate America, Mike decided to retire with the expectation that he would help Gayle run her business on the side. Little did he know this hobby would quickly turn into an incredibly successful and rewarding second career. Mike primarily takes on the role of CFO and “CSO” or Chief Spiritual Officer. Together the Reulings run a successful salon business, guided by their faith in the work they do. With their expert industry insight and their prevailing passion for God’s work, the Reulings offer their best advice for keeping the faith while pursuing your greatest career goals. 


The Bigger Impact of Your Business

Owning and operating a salon is about so much more than just doing business. It’s about all of the people that give your business value. It’s about the people you employ who make your salon a home. It’s about the people you serve, the clients you touch and the customers that keep coming back to be a part of what you offer. 

Gayle reflects on the beginning of her career and the disapproval she initially received from her family after choosing to enter into the beauty industry. However, once they saw the great work she was doing and the value she was creating for her clients, they couldn’t be prouder. For Gayle, moments like these are fuel to her fire. They feed her passion and push her to create an environment in which all of her stylists can be proud of the work they do. 

Mike also remembers a moment during the early stages of building their first salon when he and Gayle decided to stop by the site to check on the progress. While they were touring the interior, one of their new trainees stopped by to show her family where she would be working. She was beaming with pride, and it was evident to Mike and Gayle that to her, this was so much more than a job—it was an opportunity. It’s small moments like these that help us realize how much of an impact our business has on the lives of those we open our doors to. 

No matter how you choose to run your salon, it’s important to realize that not only are you setting out to build a successful business, but you’re also responsible for creating a business that is sustainable, one that will fuel the livelihood of your employees for as long as you’re in the industry.


Be Transparent with Your Values

In order to run your business by the book you have to be completely transparent with your values. 

For the Reulings, this is just another part of the discussion. When interviewing new stylists, Mike and Gayle make sure to talk about how important their faith is, both to them, and to their business. As long as you’re open about your beliefs and sincere in how you present yourself, you’re sure to attract employees that share similar values. 

Although this honest approach might turn a few potential employees away, at the end of the day you’ll be left with the applicants best suited to work in your salon. The Ruelings recognize a big difference between approval and acceptance, and they embrace anyone who chooses to work with them with open arms. They aim to treat all of their staff like family, and to incorporate their faith into their business through their actions. 

Your values are a huge part of your company culture. Transparency allows you to find and hire stylists and staff members that are not only well-versed on a technical level, but that also fit into your salon culture and value system.  


The Beauty Industry Is About Giving Back

In so many ways, the beauty industry is about giving back to your community. Gayle says that one of the most rewarding aspects of running her business is the opportunity to make people feel beautiful inside and out. Gayle remains humble in her role because she knows she’s doing God’s work, and simply hopes to represent him every day. 

Gayle and Mike really emphasize the importance of service and leadership skills in their salon. Each year, the Reulings host an award ceremony for all of their employees; the servant leader award is the highest honor their staff can attain. Their mission is to encourage selflessness, and they recognize the most helpful and dutiful leaders on their team in this way. 

The beauty of working in this industry is that there are so many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. At the end of the day, if you can remain true to your values while running your business, you and your staff are sure to be both incredibly successful and fulfilled in the workplace—you just have to let your faith guide the way. 

To hear more about Mike and Gayle’s journey through the industry, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 146. And don’t forget to check out their salon website to learn more about their business model and their dedication to servant leadership.

Emily Kelly