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Lisa Gear of Lunatic Fringe Salon

Meet Lisa Gear, Founder of Lunatic Fringe Salon.

When and why did you start your business?

When my job of 26 years as a buyer and fashion director for a corporate retail company was eliminated in January 2010, I wanted to create something that was fun, rewarding and would enable me to give back to the community. I felt that owning a hair salon would complement my fashion/beauty/business background and also meet my goal of being a philanthropic business owner. I completed cosmetology school one year later and opened my salon on September 1, 2011. 

Did you consider yourself an entrepreneur before that?

Yes! I had two home-party businesses that were very successful.

Where did you find your first employee?

At cosmetology school, looking for the top talent and the visionaries. A  particular student graduated before me, became a sought-after stylist in the area, and I’m thrilled she’s now on my team!

What state or local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?

My SCORE mentor understood my background and vision. He reviewed my plans, provided input and recommended other resources for me to research.

What’s the most difficult thing about running your own business?

Being responsible for the livelihood of a team of people. I really strive to provide viable careers for artistic professionals.

What’s the best thing?

The best thing is knowing that I’m providing jobs in my community. I am so proud of that!  My salon is in my own neighborhood!

What has contributed most to your growth?

Without a doubt, word of mouth. We quickly built a reputation for being positive, talented and caring. Our team is paid by the hour. We’re not booth rental or commission-based, which is extremely rare in this industry, but it enables us to focus on what’s best for the guest.

What companies or founders do you admire and why?

I have two idols in the industry – Jean Paul DeJoria and Sister Bonnie. Jean Paul is co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line hair products and is one of the world’s top philanthropists. Sister Bonnie is the founder of Franciscan Haircuts for the Heart. She’s a nun with a cosmetology license who cuts hair for the homeless. They both taught me that the salon industry can give back to help make the world a better place.

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