The Huge Power of Small


We all know the saying, “It’s the little things.”--right? But how many of us actually live in that mindset?

Salon owner and industry expert Laura Boton certainly does. For Laura, it was absolutely the little things that got her to where she is today and she hasn’t taken a single one for granted. 

Laura was on track to become a classical vocalist before she became fed up with waiting tables in order to pay for her schooling. She quit cold turkey, enrolled in beauty school and now owns one of the most successful multi-location salons in the city of Chicago, Sine Qua Non.  

That one little decision lead to a monumental change of course. Since then, Laura’s been stacking one small win on top of another in order to climb her way to the top and she’s never looking back.

Little Moments Can Have Monumental Impact

Laura’s initial experiences in the industry weren’t exactly glamourous. She had her own #metoo moment early on in her career and really struggled to find a salon that felt like home. 

Fresh out of beauty school with a new career on her horizon, Laura accepted an assistant position at a local salon. She was assisting the salon’s art director and after a year and a half, she was even taking her own clients two days a week in the midst of attempting to finish music school and performing with her rock band on her occasional night off.

Unfortunately, Laura’s leaders at this first salon truly let her down. The owner of the salon criticized Laura for pursuing anything other than hair after finding her working on homework for school in the break room in between clients.

Later, the art director Laura had been assisting also put her in an incredibly awkward position after showing up at local club where she and her band were performing one night. He had obviously been partying and insisted that she go home with him post performance. Laura refused his inappropriate advance--and the next day at work she was completely shunned by everyone on the salon team--including him.

After a few days of nothing but side eyes at the shampoo bowls, Laura recognized that she was being squeezed out and she decided to quit. She worked her way through a few other salons before growing tired of the lack of solid leadership throughout the industry.

Laura’s battles with bosses and her frustration with the lack of flexibility she was finding at these salons made her question her decision to join the industry at all, but they also pushed her. 

Her frustrations and limitations pushed her to overcome these adversities, to open her own salon where she could offer that level of flexibility and support, and to become the kind of leader she is today.

And thus, Sine Qua Non Salon was born.

Small Spaces With the Most Memorable Feel

Laura’s path to salon ownership wasn’t exactly an easy one, but she made sure to enjoy the ride. Her first Sine Qua Non was a super small, six chair, boutique salon. Laura and her small team of stylists all worked in a row, laughed with each other’s clients, it was such a communal space.

Laura reflects on those first five years and credits that initial experience in creating the foundation for her salons going forward. For Laura, her salon team is family. Even though they might not always get along, they always support and respect one another.

It was that strong, supportive salon culture that Laura worked hard to recreate in each new space, even in her larger locations. She is now the proud owner of three Sine Qua Non salon locations and they’re doing better than ever. 

Laura’s team continues to grow, the level of flexibility she gives her stylists is paramount but never taken for granted, and the entire Sine Qua Non family has made some incredible memories along the way.

Want to learn more about Laura’s leadership style or her renown Sine Qua Non salons? Listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 194. Want more on becoming a solid leader for your salon team? Check out our blog featuring leadership expert, Jay Williams, Becoming a Strong Leader: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What You Ask.