Walking into HAUS, one quickly realizes this isn’t your average hair salon; it's just the opposite. From the incredible art installations down to the Eames-esque sitting area, HAUS is a cut above the rest. The vibe is refined and relaxed, two of our personal favorite qualities that are rarely combined at a salon. But aesthetics and energy aside, the true gem to be found is the woman behind the curtain. Enter: Jessica Reipke. Don’t let the ethereal blonde locks and heartwarming smile fool you--this woman is a hard-hitting entrepreneur through and through. Step aside, Sophia Amoruso--Minneapolis has a local, business-minded badass for our foxes to look up to.
S&TF: Tell us a little about your background.
J: I have a background in finance from the U of M and stumbled upon a position at JUUT Salon Spa. I worked at their office doing spreadsheets behind a computer. I loved the industry, but I didn’t love what I was doing. The secret’s out: spreadsheets are boring. I eventually landed a role as their Recruiting and Education Director working out of their Uptown location. That’s where I met Charlie [Brackney, Co-Founder & Creative Director of HAUS]. We became fast friends—we bonded over food. And one day it was as casual as saying, “let’s do lunch”, but intstead it was, “let’s open a salon together”. That was almost 5 years ago now.
S&TF: You’ve grown since then! When did you open Blowdry! Blowdry Bar?
J: Blowdry! came about 2 years ago. Women are constantly saying they wish their hair could look like it does when they leave the salon. We felt strongly about bringing that to Minnesota. It’s evolved from a blowdry bar into a beauty bar, now. We’ve added nails and waxing services to the list and we’re looking to bring in pedicures, too!
S&TF: Aside from services, how would you describe the differences between HAUS and Blowdry?
J: HAUS is fashion-forward and trend-driven. Everything is executed on a higher scale. Blowdry! is overtly feminine, fun, and girly. At HAUS, we appeal to a male and female clientele. HAUS is more industrial, gender-neutral.
One of the most innovative aspects of Blowdry! is the intention Jessica had for its’ staff. Jessica likens Blowdry! to a “graduate” program for stylists. It allows stylists to become masters of styling hair and doing so with finesse and timeliness, something that cosmetology school can’t always offer. But Jessica's commitment to her staff is evident at both salons.
S&TF: It seems like you’re really oriented towards your employees and making certain they’re successful.
J: Our focus is our team, because we indirectly serve the client that way. Our stylists develop the relationships with our clients. We support our stylists so they can come to work everyday feeling fulfilled and then they can put all their energy into making the client feel wonderful. These stylists are so incredibly talented and if we don’t create opportunities for them to grow, they will find them elsewhere. So we’re very motivated to make good careers for our staff.
S&TF: We hear you’re expanding, again!
J: Yes! The new space is three times the size of our current space. We’ll refer to is as HAUS NoLo, as opposed to HAUS NiCo. Stations will look similar but the wood will be a little darker, there will be more steel. We always used to joke when we opened HAUS, that were going to move east. So Minneapolis-Chicago-New York-Paris. It’s a very lofty aspiration.
Lofty may have been said with a laugh- but at the rate Jessica and Charlie are successfully expanding- we wouldn’t bet against them. Together with the help of her partner and staff, Jessica has solidified her presence in the Twin Cities as the best; HAUS Salon received the award for Best Salon by Minnesota Monthly in 2013. While Jessica may not have known how prosperous her endeavor would ultimately become, there was always also a passion burning for her vision that lit her path to success.
S&TF: What advice would you have given yourself five years ago?
J: Continue to follow your gut. If you truly love what you do and have good intentions behind what you’re doing, chances are you’re not going to go wrong. It’s as simple as that. Our mantra is “manage people as you would like to be managed." Our stylists are growing our business; they're so freakishly talented, we just provide the home and support for them. That, and it’s going to be OK.
At the end of the day, Jessica’s tenacity for excellence and sharp-witted charm are not the only reasons for which she is so successful. She exudes a salt-of-the-earth demeanor that let’s you know she means business--while flashing a smile.