While in the midst of an economic downturn, Renée Fonseca bravely opened her first salon, Mod Squad in Saline, Michigan. She had a clear vision for her salon, but the financial restraints of the era forced her to make some tough decisions in order to become successful. Letting go of her salaried manager, Fonseca decided to step away from the chair one day a week to focus on administrative duties.
Her goal was to create a professional and passionate team by cultivating and mentoring young stylists. Leading by example, she strives to show them that there isn’t anything she expects of them that she wouldn’t do herself:
“I do like to bring in new graduates; they have such excitement and eagerness to learn. I look for confidence and good people-skills—I can teach and help to enhance their technical skills. I do believe that one can have a lot of natural talent already instilled in them; therefore, I don’t necessarily have a hard-lined time frame of how long they have to assist,” she explains. Fonseca also believes it’s important to encourage fresh graduates to track their sales and to teach them the business side of things.
Although she may not always be able to run the register as efficiently as her receptionists, Fonseca believes it’s imperative for salon owners and stylists alike to learn all aspects of the business. Of course, it’s also important to be able to delegate tasks and have trustworthy employees at the forefront.
“We have a great, close salon culture. When I hear my team sharing with others how they love where they work, it makes my heart warm. My girls are my biggest asset—without them, Mod Squad wouldn’t be. I feel like a proud mom watching them flourish and grow,” Fonseca says, adding that education is a core part of her leadership style.
The growth of her team is reflected in the growth of her salon. Not one to become complacent, Fonseca redefined her business after 10 years by relocating to a better spot and freshening up their brand. “Though the space has less square footage, we are doing the same amount of business more efficiently and with less overhead and better exposure. I now have a good balance of working behind the chair three days a week and managing the rest,” she comments.
Renée Fonseca opened up her business during a time period when many others wouldn’t have dared. In an industry with many odds stacked against it at that point, Mod Squad Salon overcame and rose above.