How SCORE helped. 

For Style Cuts Hair Salon owner Jessica Pineda-Amador, the pandemic presented an opportunity to finally own her own business. Pineda-Amador was managing a salon faced with COVID-era restrictions when she was presented with an opportunity to purchase a salon in La Mirada, a city in southeast Los Angeles County.

“It was intimidating to pursue a hair business in the middle of the pandemic,” Pineda-Amador recalled. “Thanks to the help of SCORE mentors and the dedication of the hair stylists on my team, I am well prepared for the challenges ahead.”Family of Jessica Pineda-Amador in front of Style Cuts Hair Salon

SCORE Los Angeles Mentor Robert Schneider provided advice on how to purchase the business. Katrinka Duckworth, another SCORE Los Angeles Mentor, stepped in to assist with personnel management, retention, hiring and operations, and strategies for pricing and social media. “Katrinka also helped with promotion, advertising, and reducing product costs,” noted Pineda-Amador. “I really appreciate her!”

It was initially difficult for Jessica to win the trust of the existing staff members, some of whom were competitive and distrustful. One threatened to quit and take clients with them. Katrinka and Jessica discussed ways to take control and build a team. They also analyzed different personnel strategies: 1) hiring employees; 2) using independent contractors; 3) renting booth space in the salon. Katrinka also explained labor laws and how to post jobs.

Jessica decided to pivot from renting stations at the salon to hiring staff on payroll. Assembling the right team was challenging at first. After posting jobs that garnered little response, she took Katrinka’s advice and started pitching employment as an amazing opportunity rather than just a job. This was the key that helped fuel the salon’s success story. Now all team members play an important role in the business. Jessica braids hair, something she has loved doing since childhood. Another employee cuts hair and another one specializes in color. On weekends a barber comes in for men’s grooming.  The salon now boasts flex time, a sense of community, a happy crew, best-in-class customer service, and employee and customer satisfaction.

Jessica built Style Cuts Hair Salon into a true success story and a customer favorite with help from her Mentors at SCORE Los Angeles.