Claudia’s path to becoming a young and successful entrepreneur.
Claudia Iacono, owner of Salon Deauville located in Montreal’s West End, talks about her passion for fashion and shares tips to creating a booming beauty business.
Q: When did you decide to open Salon Deauville?
Claudia: The salon already existed at a different location in Town of Mount Royal, when I purchased it in 2009. It felt like a great opportunity to create something that I could build on, to shape the salon that I had in my vision. At first, I had 28 employees. Over the years we’ve grown into a much bigger team, and I’m constantly looking for ways to expand my business.
Q: How did you create a team of cutting-edge beauty experts?
Claudia: My philosophy is that we all need each other, and my staff keeps that top-of-mind. But of course, you need to implement rules if you want to move forward and make sure you are offering the best quality in hairstyling, hair colour, makeup, and all the other beauty and lifestyle services we offer at Salon Deauville. As a result, I strongly believe that education is key, and so I provide my staff with all types of it. After all, leaders never stop learning!
I also want the people who work here to feel valued and respected. At the end of the day, we’re working with artists, and you need to be open-minded and listen to what they have to say. My staff is extremely loyal because I deliver. I have lots of integrity and that’s why I’m a successful businessperson. I always make an effort to do the best job. You need to lead by example.
Q: What drives you as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry?
Claudia: I was a fashion designer when I started my career, so in a way I’ve always been involved in the beauty industry. It’s all about creating something beautiful that’s appealing to others.
I was designing evening gowns when the opportunity for Salon Deauville came along, At the time, I was doing triple shifts: I still had my fashion design atelier, my son was 13 months old, and I was developing Salon Deauville. I was exhausted, but the rewards were incredible! Knowing I was building something big that people would love coming to was exhilarating.
Q: Is there a difference between a fashion boutique and a beauty salon?
Claudia: Not at all! The client comes in wanting to look their best, and you have to deliver. You need to find all the solutions while being honest with them. I’m really great at customer service because I put myself in other people’s shoes. My end goal is to have our clients leave my salon feeling as though we have exceeded their expectations.
In a way, I’m still working in fashion because we have such a great selection of clothing at Salon Deauville! Any brand that’s hot, – like Aloyoga that we’re now carrying. It all goes together with the idea of creating a great new look for the client.
Q: You’re now an influencer yourself with your @claudia_deauville Instagram account. How does that feel?
Claudia: I think it’s cool to show the people who follow me what I love, and what my days are like. I’m a happy person, and I want to share what I’ve learned in business and in life with everyone. I also like to think of myself as a life coach.
Q: Your days look like they’re very intense. When do you find the time to recharge?
Claudia: Although my presence is very important for the salon and I’m so involved in everything – I even clean the bathrooms and pick up the hair cuttings when we get crazy busy – , I leave Montreal every six to seven weeks to disconnect. When I’m on vacation with my family I really let go of everything – including social media! – and I delegate all my tasks to my two salon managers who are amazing.
Q: What’s next for you and Salon Deauville?
Claudia: Short term, I want to buy a new, very high-end, laser machine for skincare treatments. Our clients trust us to offer the best beauty services, and I want to make sure we deliver. Long term, I would love to expand by opening other salons. More Deauville salons in more than one city. The sky’s the limit!