After being voted the “Best of The ’Burg” nine times, The Studio Hair Salon & Day Spa celebrates 2018 with its 10th win as the best hair salon in Harrisonburg. Judi Crawford, owner of the salon, owes its success to the unique training style she’s built for her stylists and motivation each employee has to produce their best work for the community.
“I love reforming people. I love making them beautiful and I love teaching,” Crawford said.
Crawford began her level-system training style 10 years ago. Stylists can work their way up to level four, which is the highest status. As a level-four stylist, they’re seeing enough clients on a weekly basis that they enlist help from a level-one associate — all while mentoring them and providing the appropriate guidance.
Level one is used as a period of growth and learning. It primarily serves as the foundation for Crawford to see what stylists know coming into The Studio family and what they need to improve on to secure their level-two skills.
“I can’t market you and I can’t challenge you if I don’t know who you are,” Crawford said. “So the associate program is about me knowing where you need help and how I can get you that help. It allows me to monitor and judge a person to bring out the best in them without making them feel like they’re not doing good enough.”
Savannah Gearhardt and Amanda Ruckman are two level-one stylists at The Studio. They both agree that the teaching and guidance they’ve received through Crawford’s training system has equipped them for success both in the industry and beyond.
“The biggest thing I’ve gained here honestly is my confidence and how I carry myself with my clients,” Gearhardt said. “I’ve learned to trust in my own talent … you’re putting your heart and your soul into your artistry onto these beautiful families who come into your chair, so you have to be confident knowing that you’re good enough to make other people feel good enough.”
While the high-performance environment at The Studio is fast-paced, Ruckman recalls that she immediately felt welcomed into the family of associates — all before she started working for Crawford.
“I was looking at other places before I came here and the biggest thing I noticed in two days while I was here, was that if you had a question, you could go to anyone,” Ruckman said. “That’s what I appreciated — you’re never alone. When you’re not 100 percent sure, you can pick somebody else’s brain real quick and make sure that ultimately, our guests walk out the door as happy as they can be.”
At 21 years old, Ruckman may be the youngest stylist at the salon, but she says she’s never felt intimidated. She’s grown close with her co-workers, and each employee knows what to do to brighten someone else’s day. The high emphasis on family is what makes The Studio experience one of a kind.
“Just because you’re level one doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing amazing work,” Gearhardt said. “Our talent is really strong, because we are so ready to dive in and be as creative as we can be. We’re the little tiny guppies in a sea of sharks, so you have to make yourself stand out a little bit. Sometimes, I feel like, we get overlooked when we’re awesome as well, and we’re so eager and want to show as many people as we can that we love our jobs.”
Contact Andrea Brusig at email@example.com.