Salon's job is to keep people beautiful

Stylist Emily Wiley, left, works on Salon Coordinator Natalie Mena's hair Friday at Cielo Salon & Boutique. Mail Tribune / Julia MooreJulia Moore

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We run a full-service salon, offering hair, skin-care and nail services. We also have a barber shop. We've been here since September 2005 and I love being downtown.

Cielo Salon

Owner: Christina Apodaca

Address: 1 W. Sixth St., Suite 100, Medford

Phone: 541-772-4110

Employees: 14

Email: capodaca@cielosalon.com

Website: cielosalon.com

Facebook: Cielo Salon

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I've lived in the Rogue Valley for 36 years, moving up here from Orange County in California.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? I've always been intrigued by the beauty industry. I was at a point in my life that I felt I wanted to dabble in something different. I had been working with my husband Ike's business, he was in alarm and medical services. When he retired, I was not ready to retire; I wanted to do something and the beauty industry was on my list.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? I have about 3,000 square feet here, and I would have made it even bigger to start off; I'm basically out of room. The demand has been steady and I have anywhere from 750 to 900 clients that come through the door on monthly basis.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? It's probably been which product lines to carry in the salon. I wanted something different and unique to offer clients. There are so many beauty products lines. So when you want to find something different there's a lot of research and testing involved. Our technicians test it and then provide their feedback on the decisions. I started out with Redken, Paul Mitchell and Brocato — all lines that have become available in supermarkets and discount stores. I definitely wanted a product line that was more unique, one you couldn't find in other stores. Then we went with Bumble and Bumble salon products for the past six years.

Who are your competitors? The Blue Giraffe in Ashland.

What are your goals? I want to grow the business even more, I would love to double the size of it. Eventually I need to figure out more space, where that might become available I'm not sure. Hopefully, I can expand in my location.

What training or education did you need? I'm not a hairstylist, aesthetician or any of that. I worked in business alongside my husband, who was self-employed all of his life. It was basically taking those business principals and making them work in the beauty industry. Everyone here with us is an independent contractor. It's getting things laid out and finding individuals who want to fulfill the business mission statement and make it work for them.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Every time someone starts a business there is that fear factor and nervousness coming into play. You will never know until you actually try it. I would encourage anyone with the passion to do their research. I can remember when I was thinking about going into this business and doing my research. Medford didn't need just another salon in town, I needed to bring something unique and different to the area. If everything is pointing in the right direction, jump into it with two feet and go for it.

To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, call reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.



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