The Iowa Small Business Development Center at Western Iowa Tech Community College helped Allison Salmon develop a business plan and cash flow projections, plus apply for TSB certification, so she could receive additional education and expand her existing company’s services.
Allison (Raby) Salmon worked several years in the hotel industry in Dallas, Texas and realized that she wanted a more hands-on way of helping others feel good about themselves. She always had a passion for the beauty industry and decided to leave her career in hotel operations to pursue her dream. She enrolled in the Paul Mitchell Cosmetology Career Center and International Dermal Institute in Carrollton, Texas and graduated in 2003 as a Licensed Esthetician, specializing in skin care, hair removal, and make-up. Shortly thereafter Allison decided to move back to Siouxland.
After working in Sioux City at another salon, Allison decided to go back to school. Overcoming many challenges along the way, she opened her skin care and massage studio, Skin & Body Solutions, LLC, in June 2006. Unable to get traditional financing from a bank, Allison’s mother stepped in and helped her secure a line of credit to get her business going. In the fall of 2006 Allison enrolled in the Iowa School of Beauty, where she went to school full-time while keeping her business going.
After graduating in 2008 with a Cosmetology license, Allison met with Dan Wubbena at the Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Western Iowa Tech Community College so she could find different ways to obtain financing and expand her services. Dan suggested she apply for Targeted Small Business (TSB) certification from the State of Iowa. He then helped Allison revise her business plan, create new cash flow projections, and reviewed different marketing techniques to further advertise her business. With the SBDC’s help, Allison applied for and received TSB certification and then was able to get a loan to further her education, expand her salon, and buy more equipment.
After obtaining financing, and seeing an increasing demand in permanent hair removal, Allison enrolled in school again to become Sioux City’s only Licensed Electrologist. Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved method that permanently removes all colors of hair on all skin types.
Feeling cramped in the 450 square foot business space she had called home for four years, Allison decided it was time to expand her business. So in May 2010 the business, now a full service salon and spa, moved into a much larger and more visible location at 25th and Hamilton and reopened as Elements of Beauty Salon, Spa & Electrolysis. The business now offers electrolysis, massage therapy, facials, and a full menu of hair services, nail services, and more.
Allison praises the assistance she received from the Iowa Small Business Development Center, saying, “Although it may seem like financing can be challenging when you are young, a woman, or a minority, there are programs out there to help you if you put the work into it. Being in my mid-twenties and trying to sell my “dream” to a bank with no real assets, plus being denied over and over got extremely frustrating. Without my TSB certification and help from Dan at the SBDC, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to expand my business to what it is today.”
Allison currently has three employees, plus four independent contractors who rent space from her. Future plans include possibly opening another location or business within the next five years. “I always have a five year plan,” says Allison. “It keeps me focused on growing even more.”
Find out more about Allison and her successful business on Facebook by going to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elements-of-Beauty-Salon-Spa-Electrolysis/140137609352554?ref=br_tf.