From Behind the Chair to NAHA's First Salon MBA Winner

Lunatic FringeShawn Trujillo and Angie Katsanevas were honored this past July in Las Vegas to be the inaugural recipients of the NAHA 2010 Salon MBA award. This award is given to those who successfully open and run their own salon. Accomplishing their goals took a lot of hard work, patience and determination, but was well worth it in the end.

Here's the story of Angie and Shawn and the ever-expanding Lunatic Fringe Movement:

Shawn and Angie met 17 years ago while working at the same salon. They were both young, energetic, and were passionate about the art of hairdressing. Similarly, they both love people and enjoy forming personal connections with clients from behind the chair.

Eventually, Angie left the salon where she and Shawn met, and continued their personal relationship while working in separate salons for six years. They both missed working together and decided that they should start their own business.

The goal was to surround themselves with likeminded people who believed in the team culture that they were trying to promote. Shawn and Angie hoped their salon would be a gossip-free, positive workspace that would also double as a successful teaching environment for themselves and other stylists.

After plenty of hard work, Lunatic Fringe was founded in July, 2000.

The salon started out in a 700-square-foot cottage located in downtown Salt Lake City. Both worked long days behind the chair to pay the $24,000 loan they had borrowed from relatives. The two of them wore all the hats to do the jobs from cleaning lady to manager to hairdresser, even taking towels home to do the laundry for two years.

Since opening the first location, they have opened two more Salt Lake City locations and have salons in Park City and St. George, Utah as well. Lunatic Fringe has also expanded beyond Utah with salons in Boise, Orlando, and Nashville with other locations in the works. Shawn and Angie also opened Paul Mitchell, The School in 2005.

Without formal business training when they first opened, Shawn and Angie knew they'd have to remedy this by investing in industry specific coaching and classes as well as executive coaching. Ten years after starting their business, Shawn applied to the Harvard Business School executive program and was accepted. He will graduate in March 2011.

As their own company, they were passionate about giving back to the community. In the last five years, they raised $250,000 for charity, through hair shows, cut-a-thons and several other events. Strongly connected to their community and supporting local charities, these fundraising events not only give back to the community, but create a strong bond with their team members as well.

Shawn and Angie's business, based on businesses' four core values: family, education, team and opportunity, as demonstrated in their mission statement, "We create growth and opportunity by providing artistic professionals with a viable career within a team culture."

All of their team members share the same passion for the industry as they do. "We have been growing our team of leaders from day one," explained Angie. "We have a talented artistic team, excellent coaches, a strong management team, and some of the best hairdressers in the country. We believe in them, and they continue to believe in us."

"This year we were so proud to have won the first ever NAHA Master in Business award. This accomplishment makes all the hard work, and sometimes sleepless nights, worth it," Angie exclaimed.

Find Success as a Salon Owner

Here are tips from Shawn and Angie on how to become a successful salon owner:

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