“Our name is our history,” Shannon Towler says. Dawna D’Urso begins to weave the engaging picture about the salon’s genesis and name:
“The three of us ‘older’ ones were groupies to a band called Red Letter Day. The band had a song called ‘4 Bowls of Color.’ When Shannon, Rebekkah [Chriscoe], and I decided that we wanted to branch off from our employer’s salon, that song name sounded pretty cool to us.”
Towler seamlessly picks up that thread and weaves on, “Our passion is hair color, so we came up with the name 3 Bowls of Color for our own salon. That was about 17 years ago. About 12 years ago, Caitlin Hanselman came into our lives. She’s the classic climbed-the-ladder-from-the-ground-up story. Today she is our chief operating officer, moving back and forth from this location to our Hampton location. Caitlin is our fourth bowl, but… we’re not changing our name.”
Rebekkah Chriscoe cross-weaves the tapestry picture, “Over those years, Caitlin showed loyalty, trust, passion and love. She grew up and into our culture and became a partner with us about a year and a half ago. I have to give credit to the owner of the salon we left. She was so gracious when we wanted to branch out. She was going in a different direction with her business and supported us and our plan, and she really taught us how to be the good and caring employers we are today.”
Salons have different business models that include paying commissions to stylists or renting them booths. Chriscoe says that all of their stylists are employees who get salaries (based on skill levels), paid vacation, a retirement plan, bonuses and paid education. The salon’s guy and girl stylists range in ages from 19 to 58 years old.
Towler adds, “We don’t want to brag, but we don’t have to advertise for stylists. They hear we’re doing it differently.”
D’Urso feels they maintain a full staff because they create a supportive family-like atmosphere, saying, “We love the diversity of our staff. There’s always someone who wants to try a trend. We can’t stagnate, and we do a lot of training to keep up with trends, like Fantasy Colors and microblading eyebrows. Our clients benefit from that diversity, too, because we always have someone who’s the best match.”
While talking about the salon’s pronounced culture and the closely knit atmosphere between their staff and clients, all four owners say in complete unison that they share “the highs and the lows” with their clients. Chriscoe believes the partners are still friends after all these years because their number one rule is that “majority rules. We also keep business business and personal personal. We can have a disagreement at work and go out to dinner that evening,” she says as she begins to cry. Sitting across from her and seeing the tears, D’Urso also tears up saying that they are emotional women. A well timed round of laughter shifts the course of the conversation back to their relationship with their clients.
Although they cannot think of the funniest story ever, Chriscoe says that they have been through deaths and births with their clients. The tapestry picture finishes coming into focus as all four light up as they recall the time a woman went into labor in the styling chair. “It was her third child and she knew she could stay and finish the blow-out. I set up my iPad with information about going into labor and kept working. Those were the best post-delivery pictures ever,” Chriscoe says with a twinkle in her eye.