When I leave the chair at The Mitchell Wade Salon, my smooth, shiny, bouncy, and freshly-hued hair makes me feel years younger. I feel polished and put-together and ready to take on the world. It’s a monthly transcendent experience I’ve enjoyed for the past two decades, which is how long I’ve been a friend and client of the owner, Mitch Eubanks.
Mitch and I met in 2001, just a year after he opened The Mitchell Wade Salon with his wife, Eneth. I was just starting to publish what is now known as Oviedo-Winter Springs Life magazine. We began a reciprocal business relationship where he would purchase advertising and I would hire him and his top-notch stylists to keep my hair looking great. Over these past two decades, I’ve been a witness to Mitch’s indomitable spirit and tireless work ethic through the highs and lows that have made his upscale hair salon a thriving business.
Recently, Mitch and I sat down for an interview in his salon after he finished his last client for the day – he’d spent 10 hours completely transforming a woman’s hair color and style. He wanted it to be perfect for her. Here are some of the highlights of our discussion – that delightfully went until late into the evening – about how Mitch and Eneth have built The Mitchell Wade Salon over the past 20 years.
Q: Twenty years is a lifetime for most salon owners. How did your journey as a hair stylist lead you to opening The Mitchell Wade Salon?
A: In 1988, after finishing my technical training, I worked hard for 13 years as a stylist, focusing on growing my skills and client base. During those years I was chosen by ISO, a top hair-product manufacturer, to tour the country leading live stage demonstrations of their line of hair-care products, including hair color, tools, and treatments for salon professionals. It was a perfect fit for me, coming from a career as a professional dancer. I loved combining a stylist’s creativity with the performance aspect of teaching the latest industry trends to as many as 1,000 hair professionals at a time. In 1994, I met Eneth, one of my coworkers, who caught my eye and stole my heart, and we married a year later. As we built our lifetime relationship, we were also building a hearty base of clients.
After eight years of travel, I was ready to be home more, and the idea to open our own shop began percolating. In April of 2000, Eneth and I decided the time was right. Our goal was to offer the type of high-end experience clients would expect from a salon in nearby Winter Park or another upscale community. We knew the friendly, inviting atmosphere and warm charm of Oviedo would be a perfect place to distinguish ourselves as an alternative salon experience.
Q: From the very beginning, you sought to ensure The Mitchell Wade Salon would stand out among the competition. What steps did you take to achieve that?
A: Eneth and I set our minds to always keep current with the latest industry trends in hair products and style. We hire experienced and creative team members who are trained continually. Our clients can expect a collaborative experience merging their input with the stylists’ knowledge of fresh trends in design and products. We always kept that at a premium in our salon. Employee accountability is also important. The Mitchell Wade Salon has a reputation to support and maintain. When clients leave here, they have to be 100 percent satisfied. I see to that. I’m the final authority.
Q: The Mitchell Wade Salon’s success has not gone unnoticed in the industry. Tell us about being named among the top 200 salons in the country no fewer than four times by Salon Today magazine.
A. We are so proud of earning this award. This is a leading national trade publication for our industry. Salons are reviewed in 11 different categories including customer service, technology and growth, salon culture and leadership, and retail merchandising. Our latest award was in the employee education and technology category. It’s a feather in our cap to be recognized among our peers for excelling in a number of our business practices and for creating rewarding environments for our staff while providing standout experiences for our clients. That’s huge.
Q. There must have been a lot of ups and downs throughout the years, yes?
A. Absolutely. Running this business is much harder than I expected. There’s the critical business side of the operation, as well as personnel management and retention, building our brand and reputation, and most importantly keeping clients satisfied. When the economy took a dive in 2008, we felt the pinch, for sure. Then, I experienced an exodus of more than half of my staff in less than a year. That was eye-opening. I had to make some hard choices and sacrifices to hold on to what we built. Through all the years, I’ve eased my stubbornness and pride. It’s not only about numbers and revenue. When you’re working with creative and passionate people, they need to feel empowered as an integral part of this salon. Also, I’ve learned that, for myself as well as my staff, family time and balance in life is important. It’s a team effort here, we all pitch in to make it work and keep drama to a minimum. We all want this business to prosper.
Q. What do you feel most proud about? What do you consider your greatest success?
A. My 25 years of marriage to my best friend and business partner, Eneth. We’ve raised our three daughters in this community, so we give back any chance we can. We have organized events and supported many charities and donated to causes such as Autism Speaks, Pathways to Care, and Relay For Life. That’s important.
The Mitchell Wade Salon is located at 1890 County Road 419, Suite 2050 in Oviedo. To make an appointment, call 407-359-1123 or visit MitchellWade.com. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.