Growing up, April Takahashi folded towels at her mom’s salon for a nickel a towel. She was a good worker and got along well with her mom, and as she got older, she found working in the salon was a way to pay for her life while she was in college.
Passionate about education, April became a stylist, an educator, and eventually an owner, but she also got undergraduate and masters degrees in animal behavior. Currently, she still has one foot firmly planted in the academic world as she pursues her doctorate and teaches classes.
“Animal behavior is an academic pursuit,” she says. “What interests me is doing the research, teaching and gathering data.”
April used to go out in the field, traveling to South Africa to study primates, but in recent years, with a husband, two kids and a salon of her own, she has stuck to data analysis.
Heather Tytula, owner of Brio SalonSpa in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and April’s mom says April has always had a head for business.
“She apprenticed under me and became a great stylist in her own right, but when Aveda approached me about opening another Concept salon in our area, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for April.”
Ownership Strengthens Bond
So Lethbridge is now home to two Aveda Concept salons—Brio, owned by Heather and her husband, Wayne, for the past 13 years, and Luum, owned by April and her husband, Rad, for two and a half years.
“I just wasn’t wanting to open a second location,” says Heather, who recently stopped working behind the chair. “But we decided it would be so great it if it was our kids who opened it.”
April is a color educator and Rad a cutting educator, so they had plenty of experience under their belts. But ownership was a whole new ball game. Fortunately, they had a built-in advisory board.
“They came to us for advice on dealing with landlords and other business headaches,” Heather says.
April, who never thought she’d end up in the beauty business at all, says she and her mom complement each other in many ways that end up benefiting both their businesses.
“I’ve worked with her for so long, that we do a lot of things the same way,” April says. “But I tend to be the person behind the scenes laying the foundation. My mom just does—she gets things done,” she laughs.
Heather says she loves exchanging ideas with April because of the generation gap.
“Technology is a second language for me, but for her, it was a first language,” she says. “Coaching my team is my strong suit, but April helps guide me with new features in SalonBiz. She was a test salon when text messaging launched, so I could find out how it was going straight from the source. We watch each others’ businesses and lend advice where we can.”
April adds, “There’s no doubt I see numbers differently than she does. I like to look at data and analyze, and as a younger generation I’m more willing to try new technology, where she takes longer to adopt it.”
Currently April is exploring all that SalonBiz Central has to offer and loving every minute.
“The fact that I can access Central from home, find my numbers and look at all that data and customize reports—it’s pretty amazing.”
While both salons are Aveda, Brio has around 35 employees, while Luum is a more intimate environment with nine employees—and they’re not in competition with each other.
“Our teams sometimes join up at industry events and even carpool together,” Heather says. “And sometimes April borrows my mannequin stands for an education event,” she laughs.
Talking Shop and Celebrating Mothers
April and Heather often attend industry and women in business events together, with their favorite being Serious Business.
“I love that it’s specific to salon owners,” April says. “I love doing hair, but I want to know how to be a great coach and how to run my business.”
April is one of five daughters, and not the only one bonding with mom over beauty. Another daughter is on a similar path as April, but more passionate about hair than the business side.
“She’s a gem of an employee,” Heather says. “And I have an 18-year-old granddaughter who works in our spa and does amazing nail work.”
With Mother’s Day around the corner, the teams at Brio and Luum are both prepping to honor their clients.
“We do different campaigns every year,” Heather says. “For example, last year we did a social media contest asking what your mom means to you. The response was overwhelming and it was lovely to read about our clients’ moms.”
Luum has also done contests, and this year is running a social media campaign asking clients to send in a photo of mom to win a makeover.
“We also post mother-and-daughter photos of our clients—they love to see themselves featured by us,” April says.
Outside of the salon, April and her sisters gather at her parents’ house to celebrate mom each Mother’s Day.
“Sometimes it’s fun for the girls and I to go somewhere by ourselves—no kids or men—just the six of us together,” Heather says. “But we usually have a big barbecue at our house where everyone brings something to share.”
Whether they’re enjoying each others’ company in or out of the salon, Heather and April love to talk business.
“We just can’t help talking about it,” Heather says. “We love it so much—we never get tired of it!”
April and Heather’s bond is unique, but so is any mother and daughter’s. This Mother’s Day, celebrate your mom and all the moms who visit your salon with beauty and love.