Mitch has owned and operated the Mitchell Wade Salon alongside his wife, Eneth, for 18 years. He’s always been a very creative and driven individual, and this shows in everything he does. Before entering the hair industry, he was a dancer, and graduated from the Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, and he’s always loved thinking outside of the box. Recently, I was given an opportunity to sit down and talk with Mitch.
Kristen: What motivated you to become a hairstylist/salon owner?
Mitch: I’ve always been creative. After retiring from dance, I still needed a creative outlet, and still had student loans to pay off. I needed something fairly quick- between interior design, fashion design, and hair, hair was the quickest and cheapest. I didn’t realize my passion until later.
Kristen: What do you feel you’ve gained from being an owner?
Mitch: An ability to pass on and share what others have given to me. This is a career that you really need to love, and it’s an opportunity for good income and lifestyle but shouldn’t be driven by money alone.
Kristen: Do you like to stick with what you’re comfortable with, or do you like to think outside of the box?
Mitch: I’m always looking to grow. I’m a glutton for punishment- I’m always thinking of something different, but sometimes I feel I need to be more satisfied with what I’ve already achieved.
Kristen: Have mistakes or challenges ever helped you to learn and grow?
Mitch: Yes. There was one time where we had a walkout, which is when a majority of your team leaves within a short period of time. It was a big loss, but it helped me to realize I forgot to think about “the being”- the individual feelings and people- and focused only on numbers and goals. I learned the hard way that you can strive for those things while also supporting your people and not demanding.
Kristen: What are some of your biggest challenges?
Mitch: Realizing that not everyone is like me. With managing others, I need to be more in tune with what motivates them because it isn’t always the same as my personal motivators, and being patient is sometimes very difficult.
Kristen: Are there any pop culture figures that you take creative inspiration from?
Mitch: David Beckham. Also- Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga- they’re constantly reinventing their style or changing their hair, and Adam Levine, who changes his hair often and just seems like a very genuine person.
Kristen: Do you have any advice you’d give to others in your position?
Mitch: Find a consultant, coach, or mentor. Don’t try to do it alone.
Kristen: What are some ways you’d like to see the hair industry grow? Do you feel it lacks anything?
Mitch: Yes. I think that it struggles to be looked at as a profession, and is treated as a job and not a career. I think we need to consider outside perception and the image we present, and that there should be a federal regulation of hours and education, as opposed to state regulation. The different models of salons are also not always represented properly, and the playing field needs to be leveled.
Kristen: What would you consider to be your strengths?
Mitch: Drive, tenacity, uniqueness, passion, and confidence.
Kristen: How do you avoid getting distracted?
Mitch: It’s easy to get distracted when you’re very creative. I work with short term goals that I use as stepping stones to bigger ones- one bite at a time- sometimes it can be hard.
Kristen: What are your favorite services?
Mitch: Whatever has the most impact or biggest change. Anything exciting- long to short, drastic color change, cutting bangs. I like problem-solving using creativity.
Kristen: How would you describe your style?
Mitch: Eclectic. I like being unique, not too regular. I like a lot of European styles.
(Claudia, one of our stylists, referred to him as “flashy, yet groomed”.)
Kristen: What do you think are the most important skills you need to succeed?
Mitch: Perseverance, technical skill, and the ability to bring out the best in individuals and to educate.
Kristen: Do you work well under pressure? How has it helped you learn?
Mitch: Yes. It helps to have pressure because it helps me to stay focused and give definite deadlines and goals. I’m trying to have that happen less, and be more proactive instead of reactive.
Interview by MW Marketing Intern, Kristen Hill.