Salon Professional Riley Gaunt has had a love for everything beauty since she was 8 years old. In fact, she started "cutting" her own hair when she was in junior high! We recently sat down with Riley, owner of RD Gallery to learn more about how her journey brought her to Sola Salons in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Riley how did you start your career in beauty?
I started my career in Fort Wayne Indiana where I was an Aveda trained stylist for three and a half years. Afterwards I moved to Raleigh, NC where I worked at two different Aveda salons for a year.
What made you choose salon ownership at Sola?
The option of owning my own business, making my own schedule, and having a creative space without the hassle of maintaining a building or managing employees was a huge selling point for me. I love a good challenge and new opportunities inspire me. Sola was a great combo of everything.
How does owning your own business at Sola fit your lifestyle?
How does it NOT fit my lifestyle? I love to travel and have flexibility in my schedule, but I also love the thrill of being my own boss and calling the shots of how I want my business to look. Being a business owner at Sola allows me to not only take care of my guests in Fort Wayne, but to also be a traveling stylist. I have many clients back in Raleigh who still see me every 2-3 months when I come back for a visit. It has allowed me to do many off site events, and really dictate how I want my schedule to look!
How do you market yourself at Sola Salons? Is there one most important way?
Social Media is the biggest marketing tool I’ve used, and I would say I have the most success with Instagram. After being away for a year and not really knowing for sure which of my guests would follow me to my new studio, I had to really step up my social media game. I’ve only been in my studio just shy of 3 months, and 71% of my guests have been new requests!
What are you most proud of in your personal and professional career?
Before opening my own business at Sola, I would say that starting my career fresh out of high school was a huge accomplishment. I was just 18 when I got hired at my first salon and it was amazing to see my childhood dream come to fruition. In my personal life, taking a chance and moving out of state for a year was an incredible learning & growing experience.
As a salon professional what are you best known for? What is your “Brand”?
My Instagram pictures have really helped me define & perfect my brand. I have a lot of guests who come in wanting balayage/ombre because of the work they see me post on my social media pages. This allows me to draw in a specific crowd, so I am always doing something I love.