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Conversations with Patricia Uiterwyk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Uiterwyk.

Hi Patricia, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
For more than ten years, I worked with one of the most exclusive skincare lines in the world in Los Angeles, California. Many of our clients were in the entertainment industry and appreciated consistent, 5-star customer attention and services. All my mentors and trainers were leaders in this industry.

Gratefully, I gained experience, training, and branding knowledge that far exceeded all my state licensing. I was in an extraordinary bubble delivering cutting-edge products to clients who expected the highest caliber of product and results. Early on, I was promoted to trainer, mentor, and management, traveling throughout California delivering our brand-exclusive processes and procedures to hundreds of skin and hair care artists.

And then came a day in 2016 when my husband and I looked at our 3-year-old son, Sid, and realized that despite a successful and exciting lifestyle, we wanted Sid to grow up around his cousins and extended family. We made the difficult but heart-centered decision to leave everything behind and relocate to Lakeland, Florida, where our family lives. Once here, even my mom relocated from Hawaii, where I was raised, to join our family.

My husband was able to work from home, remaining in his career path. I did not plan to reenter the luxury, personal-care industry. I enjoyed settling in, finding a school for our son, volunteering, and learning about the culture and people of Lakeland. Maybe it was the weather. Perhaps it was Munn Park. It might have been standing in line Saturday mornings for Born and Bread’s Cruffins or 1961’s evening vibe.

It could have been volunteering with equally inspired parents at Cleveland Court Elementary or Campfire Sunshine. The walks around Lakeland’s many parks and Sid’s enthusiasm to see his first alligator contributed! We aren’t sure what finally made the difference, but we fell in love with Lakeland and fell hard!

At this time, I learned of a salon that was available for purchase. I was intrigued. If this was our forever home, how could I partner with the community and give back? Thinking along these lines made the decision to purchase final. We have literally transformed the location into a 5-star, world-class experience for all involved. Our guests enjoy an array of exquisite services, products, and customer appreciation. Our Aveda Artists enjoy possibilities and opportunities they never even dared to dream about.

I named our location Venue Salon. I chose the name Venue for many reasons. A venue is where excitement and energy are expected, people can’t resist the invitation, and events of purpose, intrigue, and value occur. Ultimately, a venue of value builds trust, reputation, and purpose. These ideals bring me joy each day, they drive my decisions, and how I attract and retain my Aveda Artists and guests.

Our dedication to excellence is reflected in our Aveda Concept, Co-Brand Salon status. Co-Brand is Aveda corporate’s additional and selective recognition to salons that are most aligned with their mission, vision, community engagement, and partnerships. We share the culture of Aveda through eco-friendly products, cutting-edge techniques, volunteer activities, and sustainability standards. Our Aveda Artists work with only Aveda products, some of the industry’s purest and most refined professional products.

We provide results-driven skincare and haircare. Venue Salon engages only stylists who share my burning desire to be set apart. They do this by pursuing advanced education while consistently delivering new and exciting options to our guests. It is all about our guests, all about how they want to feel and what they want.

Venue Salon is an appointment of pleasure, attention, healthy choices, and inspiration. When our guests step back into their lives, they leave with our best wishes, exceptional hair and skin results using best-in-class products and services. We sincerely appreciate that our guests choose Venue Salon, and we look forward to their return!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
With a grateful heart and being the eternal optimist, we have lessons to be learned at every experience.

The pandemic taught me that we are essential workers. Self-care is self-love. We are an industry that is recession-proof and we touch many minds and hearts through our work. Yes, we had to learn how to hire, train, and operate in this new time. Rising costs, scarcity, and politics, we are still in it. However, with gratitude, we have been successful in no Covid transmissions in the salon, and we are still open and successful.

Care is the new currency. Safety is a new luxury. Mental and physical health is new wealth. Green is a new reality.

When we were mandated to close when the pandemic started, we were faced with uncertainty and fear of losing our way of life. We decided that we were going to continue to pay our employees and take the mandate for our salon to close as an opportunity to do things we normally didn’t have time for.

Prepare. Purge. Clean. Repeat.

We hired a local artist Gabriela Jaxon (@gabrielajaxon) to paint a mural on our building with the intention that we are not closed, we are in transformation. We used social media to stay connected with our guests, we used the time to train ourselves digitally (new for us) and align ourselves with our core beliefs.

We are proud to share that we continue to increase sales by 40% over LY. We retained all of our employees. We are featured on local social media platforms as one of the businesses with excellent cleaning and safety protocols. We were recently nominated for Lakeland Rising Business of the year.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Our dedication to excellence is reflected in our status as an Aveda Concept Co-Brand Salon. We align ourselves with the culture of Aveda through eco-friendly products, cutting-edge techniques, and sustainability standards. Our focus is on continually raising the bar. Our stylists pursue advanced education and wake up each day with one single mission—to help our guests look and feel their absolute best!

Our artists offer you the purest and most elegant professional products in the industry. Our highly skilled providers offer results-driven skincare and haircare services. We are dedicated to transforming your day through the power of a refreshing treatment or service.

My hope is to continue to participate in our community and plan on seeking mentorship to assist me in being a contributing and impactful member of our business community. I would love to pursue speaking at events, podcasts, or training on topics of customer service, branding, associate and client retention, or any other topic that might be of help and encouragement, especially to younger business owners in Lakeland and Polk county.

A core belief at Venue is giving back to society. We have raised over $3000 since 2018 for Earth Month with our fundraising efforts each year in April. Donations were distributed to Owl’s Nest Sanctuary as our local partner, St. John’s River Keeper as our Florida partner, and Charity Water as our Global Partner.

Funds were raised by our team through raffles, selling handmade goods made by our team and our team’s talented kids, participation in Earth Month walks, and bake sales. We performed lake clean-ups at Lake Parker and Lake Hollingsworth with Owls Nest Sanctuary. Our focus in Earth Month is the conservation of clean water for all wildlife, humans, and the world!

In October, we raised over $9000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation since 2018. This year, we held our benefit at the Lakeland Country Club, and it was a huge success.

We are a proud sponsor of The Miss Florida pageant and Miss Lakeland Pageant. We sponsor these great young women leaders and support their philanthropy and educational scholarships platforms. We volunteer with coaching and providing hair and makeup for them for events and backstage settings.

We believe in diversity and equality. We have donated our physical space for non-profits for fundraisers here at no cost.

Our relationship with philanthropy shows with our ongoing participation with Rose Dynasty Foundation Inc., a non-profit 501 (c) (3) whose mission is to provide a safe and family-friendly atmosphere for all people no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion through mentoring, fundraising, fostering community and promoting awareness of resources. We have assisted them in raising over $100,000.

We believe in giving back within our industry. Our stylists and aestheticians regularly teach classes at several Cosmetology schools across Florida. We participate in career fairs and open houses. We offer technically driven classes and classes on professionalism, social media, and reputation management for new talent in our industry.

We are a proud business sponsor of the Polk Museum of Art.

We work with upcoming local artists by offering them a place to feature their art in our brick and mortar space. We implemented this when we first opened Venue Salon. We host events showcasing their work and widen their exposure. When fairs and shows stopped during the pandemic, we found creative ways to showcase local talent. We held sip and shops and fundraisers that included locally crafted art and young musicians sourced from Harrison School of Arts and Art Crawl showcasing local artists.

“Our mission at Aveda is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to how we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty but around the world. ” Aveda Mission Statement

Our employees are our internal guests. To provide exceptional experiences for their guests, they must feel equipped and supported. I intentionally raise the bar in our industry to elevate hairdressing and skincare to a valued professional career. We have significantly invested in education. We have second to none educators who train in-house on precision cutting and hair color. All staff undergoes extensive technical skills training and customer care to maximize our guest experience. We consider continued education as a core belief to produce outstanding standards for expert, educated stylists.

We place YOU first. Our guest experience starts before you are even in the building. We want our guests to expect the best and receive tailored attention at every point of contact. We pair you with the best stylist match based on your preferences. Upon arriving for your appointment, you will be greeted with a warm welcome and a smile with your eyes. We offer seasonal lattes and Aveda’s signature comforting tea.

We provide an inviting atmosphere for our guests to feel comfortable and excited about their experience. Our consultation deepens the relationship between guests and stylists. We build trust and support to best serve and address our guest’s needs. We perform stress-relieving rituals that include the power of touch, breath, and aroma. The technical service combines our high-performance products with the service provider’s expert techniques.

We believe in educating our guests on ingredients and products that are helpful to achieve their desired results. We coach our guests on how to duplicate their looks themselves and the usage and benefits of their home care. We offer flexible hours to schedule future services with our guests on a day and time that is convenient for them. We have implemented reward programs that influence customer referrals and incentivize guest loyalty.

Venue SalonSpa is an AVEDA Concept Co-Brand Salon offering luxury haircare, skincare, and standard-bearing, customer services to our Lakeland and central Florida community. We are an employee-based salon.

We provide industry-leading, continuing education to our stylists, who we call Artists because they are! Venue Salon provides local and national opportunities to our Aveda Artists to grow personally and professionally. We equip them with exceptional tools and inspiration to build long-term customer loyalty for Venue Salon.

We are purposeful in everything we do, whether in a joint venture with another Lakeland business, local artists, our stylists, or our guests.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
Humility- Find a mentor that has been successful in your field. Work with them with 100% transparency around your strengths and opportunities for improvement. Learn from their mistakes. When there is something you don’t know or don’t like doing, hire someone to do it AFTER you have learned how to yourself.

Listen- To people with big hearts and big brains that want to help you. Take what you can implement and set the rest to the side. Listen to your team and foster a culture of feedback and honesty.

Curious-Stay is curious about new thinking and ideas! In business, in your personal life, in your adventures. Flexibility and nimbleness are key to longevity in any venture. Ask questions and explore new thinking, especially from different generations, younger and older. Their perspective is different and their point of view is valuable.

Gratitude- You can’t do it alone, you were never meant to. – Brene Brown.

Be thankful in the most demanding times and it will amaze you how the lesson of that experience will reveal itself.

Pricing:

  • Haircut $35-105+
  • color $50-200+
  • Facials $105+
  • Waxing $25+

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Paris Scott Photography

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