Pure Hair Studio has taken Sarah Bergin on an exciting journey over the last five years. Not only did she launch and grow a thriving business, but she’s also navigated the challenges of the pandemic and found a balance between her work and life. She credits her Business Mentor, Wendy Johnston, with helping her build a business that suits her beautifully.
Sarah launched Pure Hair Studio to get the freedom and flexibility she couldn’t as an employee. After first offering a mobile service, she took the bold step of leasing a commercial space and building a salon. It was a challenging process, but by 2018, she hired her first employee. Soon she expanded to space over ten times as big. It was extraordinary growth by any measure.
An undertaking of unruly proportions
As Pure Hair Studio grew, so did the time demand of managing it, the team and everything that came along with running a business. Sarah approached Business Mentors to connect with someone external and objective that could act as a sounding board.
“Having a Mentor brought so much more value than I expected. It was incredible to have someone to talk to about what was on my mind – especially during Covid. I didn't always need a solution as such, but just to be heard. And also, having someone to be accountable to is great because it has helped me focus on what’s most important,” said Sarah.
Business Mentors carefully matches each business owner with a mentor that can help them reach their goals. A fresh perspective was a priority for Sarah, so Wendy Johnston was the perfect match.
A fresh look
Wendy says, “I started off as an engineer and worked in engineering overseas for a long time. When we came to New Zealand, we started a small tourism business in Queenstown, which we grew from a cottage industry into a medium-sized business.
“Over 17 years, I learned a huge amount from that business, as you can imagine. I used Business Mentors, and it was helpful – super helpful! I found someone to walk beside me and my business. So, I decided that I would give back to others through Business Mentors.”
Sarah says Wendy’s experience and different ways of looking at things have helped strengthen how she runs Pure Hair Studio.
“In particular, Wendy has helped me implement policies and structure to the business. There were small things that needed to be done, but a lack of clarity about who would do them. So, we set up processes that I'd cover at staff meetings. We then knew who was responsible and what needed to be picked up if someone was sick.
Another way that Wendy and Sarah have complemented each other is getting the best between creativity and data-driven discipline. Sarah has an entrepreneurial instinct for opportunity.
“I have lots of ideas, and Wendy explains how I can test them by looking at the market, assessing the set-up costs, and pros and cons”.
Wendy has enjoyed mentoring Sarah to explore her ideas. "My approach is not to tell someone what to do. Instead, I'll share ideas of tools that could help and so they can figure out what's best for them."
Sarah and Wendy are both excited about the next phase of Pure Hair Studio. Sarah is looking forward to changing up her model for even greater reward and satisfaction. Wendy says this is incredible to see.
“I remember saying to her, ‘Sarah, this is the way – this is where you’ll get your freedom’ I’m incredibly excited for her.
“Small business owners are naturally incredibly generous people. And they think about everybody before they think about themselves. What stands out most is that now Sarah has learned to look after herself.”
Sarah says financial sustainability is important, but she's also grateful to find so much pleasure in what she does. "There's a real sense of success from the freedom and flexibility I have now. And Wendy has helped me to build this.
“I love the time I spend time doing hair. I can relax and enjoy it fully because I know the business is running well. I like doing the business management part too because I have time set aside for it.”
Sarah and Wendy said three things have been highlighted in their mentoring journey.
- Being at your best for your business, team, and clients means caring for yourself.
- Areas of repetitive challenge demand a new approach.
- Data and discipline are the perfect complements to creativity and innovation.
Wendy and Sarah also encourage others in the industry to reach out to Business Mentors for their own match or even consider gifting their time.
“Being in business is a constant learning curve. You’ll never know how much of a difference such insights can make unless you start the conversation.”