Jesamondo Added to Millionaire's Club After Scaling from ZERO to $3.5 Million ARR in 14 Months

Jesamondo

Scaled from ZERO to $3.5 Million ARR in 14 Months

Industry: Hair salon & day spa

Jesamondo Growth Curve
Jesamondo SEO Growth Curve

Full Interview Transcription

John:
This artifact was commissioned by "We advertise your business.com" to tell the story of their client's journey towards seven figures in revenue.

John:
Hi, I'm John from Artifact. And this episode I spoke with Matt Traiger, the owner of Jesamondo Salon and Spa. He told me about how they've managed to not only survive, but grow during the pandemic, the ways their marketing has helped them, and much more. Enjoy.

Matt Traiger:
Hi, my name is Matt Traiger and I'm the owner of Jesamondo Salon and Spa located at 154 East Central Street in Natick, Massachusetts.

John:
How long have you been doing this for?

Matt Traiger:
I've been the owner of Jesamondo Salon and Spa since June of 2014. So, I've been the owner of the last seven years. However, Jesamondo started in 1980 and the original owner and founder of Jesamondo was Jesse Jesamondo, and in June of 2014, he passed the torch to me. We've been in business over 41 years, seven years under me, and 34 years before me under Jesse .

John:
What was that like for you, taking over from the original founder and owner?

Matt Traiger:
I thought it was a great experience. When I first purchased Jesamondo I was actually Jesse's, the old owners, CPA. So, I already knew all the employees for a few years. I knew it was an incredible group, a great group, when I took over seven years ago, all but five of the employees are still with me. We have a group of 34. It's been great. The old owner was also Jesse, he did a great job and also mentoring me and helping me transition into the role. There was a lot of good teamwork with me, the old owner and the entire team, which we've seen grow quite a bit over the last five to seven years.

John:
Tell me about your growth process as an owner. What have been the challenges that you've had to learn about and adapt to? What have been the things that you think you guys have done really well?

Matt Traiger:
Yeah. The challenge is, and I think in this industry, you're always working with a lot of different people and personalities and everyone coming together, always being on the same page, in communication. I always find that the most vital.

John:
Are you a natural communicator? Or have you had to work at that?

Matt Traiger:
It's always something I feel like I've always had to work at. I think communicating is easy, but everyone hears and learns things their own way. So for example, with one of my employees, if she did something I disagreed with, I could just say, "what the heck are you doing?" And she would just laugh. And that's where with somebody else, if they did something that didn't make sense, you may have to bring them in and have a 20 minute conversation. The wall drops and you get your opportunity to a half hour later, but it's all about communicating properly with each person because everyone just responds differently.

John:
Yeah. That's a tough thing when you've got a big team like that, knowing how to talk to all these different people.

Matt Traiger:
Yeah, that's the tough part, not communicating, but just, just really creating that relationship with each individual. It's been great. I've been very fortunate, right now we have 22 hairstylists between full-time and part-time and of those 22 hairstylists, 17 of the 22 hairstylists have been with the team the past 15 to over 30 years. The five additional hairstyles we added also, it's very easy for me to give them the education and all the tools that they need to be as successful as possible with the help of the team and the educators we have in-house.

John:
Yeah. Certainly, that creates a really strong team. That's amazing.

Matt Traiger:
Yeah, it's great. And the other cool thing, the rest of the team, which is also awesome. We also have three makeup artists, as well. Two of them were with us before we started, before I took over, and we added one more additional. We also have three nail technicians, three estheticians, two massage therapists, and a Reiki master. We have a team of 34 in total, but it's an awesome group. And the average person has been with us 10 to 30 years, except for the new additions of the past five, six, seven years.

John:
That's excellent. That's a really strong core to build your business around. What is it that gets you out of the bed in the morning about your business, about owning this company? What are the things that you find fulfilling about what you do?

Matt Traiger:
One of the things that I find most fulfilling is I love projects and I love to be on the cutting edge of anything new. So really, what I love is, on top of working with my employees and my customers, what I just really love doing is staying on the cutting edge with education and customer service.

Matt Traiger:
What really gets me going is I love the industry, I love my job. And I love watching my team perform at such high levels every day and always doing great customer service while also, always being at the cutting edge when it comes to education, whether it's new styling techniques, new balayage looks, new fauxliage looks, just the wealth of information my estheticians have in the skincare department. It's just really fun to watch everyone grow every day. Because the one thing that I know my staff really excels at is being on the cutting edge when it comes to education and really pushing the vision of the industry in our area.

John:
That's a good way to keep yourself always motivated and fulfilled, there's always something new you can learn and you can provide. That's great.

Matt Traiger:
Oh yeah.

John:
I imagine that this has been a very hard year, plus, for you as a business owner. How did the pandemic affect your guys' business? How did you rise to that challenge? And tell me a little bit about what the last year has been like for you.

Matt Traiger:
Yeah, it sucks for the whole industry. I'm in the salon and spa industry and I'm sure we were probably a little bit better than the restaurant and hotel industry, but not much. So it's been rough, but we've been fortunate. The old owner, Jesse, he gave me some really good advice. One of the things he always tells me was, "no matter what ,always be aggressive whenever you're in small business."

Matt Traiger:
One thing that I did was, when the pandemic started and everyone, the news stations are saying, stay inside, wear face masks. There's nothing else you can do. I understood the need for the face mask, but at the same time, what made no sense to me was to do the same thing that we were all supposed to do, that we did in 1918, as you know, I just thought that was a little absurd since we live the world where Tesla cars can drive people to and from.

Matt Traiger:
I see drones going over my house every day. When the shutdown happened in March of 2020, we actually put in a lot of investigative work and we found a BioDefense system called Synexis, which we heard about from the top beauty lobbyists in New York City through our contacts at Goldwell who work for Kao. And the top lobbyist in New York told us to install a system called Synexis. So what's Synexis is, it's actually the infrastructure of hospitals and nursing homes that had been posed in the last three years. And also the infrastructure of all his Major League Baseball 32 training facility, because the system puts asthma and respiratory issues into remission. We installed 13 units throughout our whole shop coming all 3,700 square feet, and what the system does, is it takes the ambient humidity and oxygen in the air, and it converts each molecule from oxygen to dry hydrogen peroxide.

Matt Traiger:
So when anyone walks into our shop, they're entering a controlled dry hydrogen peroxide gas environment. And then dry hydrant peroxide in itself is a disinfectant. Now, in our shop, everyone's wearing masks and we have the plexi glass in the barriers and all that. But we also have Synexis to take any chance out of the equation. So when someone walks into our shop, they walk into a control dry hydrogen peroxide gas environment. And then so if they have a virus, whether it's COVID, H1N1, norovirus, listeria, doesn't matter. The virus makes contact with a dry hydrogen peroxide molecule and when that happens, the virus gets trapped inside the molecule. It can no longer go to you or me. And then within 30 to 60 minutes, it oxidizes and dies.

Matt Traiger:
The system most will takes ecoli out in four to six hours, salmonella eight to 12, staph in 12 to 24. And it takes all mold. They'll do spores, spider mites, fruit flies, pollen, mosquitoes out of the environment as well. And it also takes the acetones out of the nail room and the Brazilian blow chemicals and perm chemicals out of the salon as well. Right, now we're one of two hair salons in New England in a controlled safe system. And we are currently the only day spa and nail salon, in New England that offers this as well.

Matt Traiger:
So us installing the system, coupled with all the other protocols that we're following within the salon, has really allowed us to work with no anxiety, work with ease, we're comfortable, and that's translated over to the customers as well.The staff is comfortable, the customers are comfortable and it's allowed us to really stay ahead of our competition.

Matt Traiger:
That's been one of the blessings we've had. And the other thing that's really worked really well, is once the doctors and nurses in the hospitals and all around us, once they got wind of it, they started spreading the word and telling their customers, and they all started coming to our salon saying we were the only place that they felt comfortable coming to. So the medical fields spread the word for us, which was really cool.

Matt Traiger:
The other thing we did as well, that really helped us during this time is I let my marketing roll with Paul the whole time, I never pulled back. So we're doing well. The bottom line of all businesses in my industry, I'm sure it was a struggle in 2020. I think the big difference between us and the competition is with the system we installed, and with our marketing campaigns with Paul, we were able to protect our revenue, but our expenses were out of control. Our bottom line didn't look so great, but it was really because of the installation of the Synexis system and me being obnoxious with our marketing and advertising, looking at it as an opportunity to attract people from Boston who were leaving Boston, moving to the suburbs, to our salon. Now in 2021, the expenses are evening out. It worked really well for us. I think we're definitely one of the most fortunate businesses in our industry, we're looking at 2021 being probably our best year ever and our 41 year history. It's very possible.

Matt Traiger:
We're doing well. Obviously, if there wasn't a pandemic, we'd be doing better, but I have no complaints based on where this could have gone based on the industry we're in. I really have to give my whole team the credit on this one because they've been incredible this whole time. I know it's a large group. It would be tough to name them all individually, but the whole Jesamondo team has been absolutely amazing. The only reason we've been able to do what we've been able to accomplish the past year, and really keeps the business doing really well, is because of the entire group of all 30 plus people pitching in and everyone doing what the business needs to pull it forward. They've all been amazing.

Matt Traiger:
The really cool thing also about, there's nothing cool about the pandemic, but the cool thing is we didn't lose one employee during this whole pandemic. Every single person that was with us when we shut down, they're all still with us now. And we actually have two more employees than we started the pandemic with.

John:
That's amazing how the quick action and taking a big chance on that really paid off for you.

Matt Traiger:
Yeah, that Synexis system, I can't say enough good things about. We've proven that and the vaccine is 95%. This system's 99.99%.

John:
Yeah. That's pretty amazing. Well, you brought up your guys' work with Paul. I want to ask more specifically about what he's really brought to your marketing. And I know that his business takes a really hands-on approach and big picture and tries to really impact how your business, acquires customers and stuff. How has working with them helped you?

Matt Traiger:
Yeah. Paul has has done great, great. His company and his team's done great work for us. Paul has done a lot of great work for us on whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. There's so many of them now, Google and [inaudible 00:15:00]. He does phenomenal work, you always know it's working when there's bunch of people traveling, from 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 miles away, 40 miles away. You know what he's doing is working.

John:
Yeah.

Matt Traiger:
It's just very easy for me to run my business because we have a great team with tons of great, loyal employees. We have a great customer base of tons of great and loyal customers. And Paul also helps, gives us a huge influx of new people that we never would have met any other way. And that allows us to grow our business easily.

Matt Traiger:
And I really utilized Paul to help build up the, the kids who are coming up through our training program, future hairstylists, who don't have a clientele, but they're incredible at what they do. And I literally use Paul's resources to build these young hairstylists up from our education program and a couple of months, they're in great shape. And it's all the magic that Paul and his team do behind the scenes to really get these kids off the ground real fast.

Matt Traiger:
Because in most cases, when you're building someone up out of the education training program, what usually happens is they're in the training program for years. And after one year they have a $30,000 clientele. And after two years they have a $70,000 clientele. After three years, they have $90,000. After four years, they have $110,000 clientele. And that, that just drives me crazy.

Matt Traiger:
So in a perfect world, what I like, I put somebody on the floor and in three to six months they have a hundred thousand dollars clientele because because it's torture to do that over years. So, that's what Paul allows me to do is, he allows me to easily build up new talents that have come into my salon through our education program. And he also really helps me and I, this is unfortunate, but it's the cycle of life, but we have amazing stylists have been in the industry 30 years. And sometimes they could have five, six, seven, eight clients pass away in a year. And this allows me just to really help replenish them. You never want anyone to pass, but unfortunately when you're in the industry long enough, that tends to happen. This not only allows me to build up new stylists easily and what would take normally over a year or two into a handful of months.

Matt Traiger:
But it also allows me to replenish stylists who lose their clientele, whether someone passes, or if the clientele is retiring and moving to Florida. It also allows me to replenish them so they don't have to stress or worry.

John:
That's great.

Matt Traiger:
And it's also great because it allows me to showcase services that people may not know about as well, like Reiki, which some of these services just aren't as well known as some of the others. That's the other thing that I like about it too. It's great for branding because the one thing that I know that I like is, if someone's at another, if there's a customer they're at another salon or they're at another spa and they have a bad experience, Paul has been showing Jesamondo content. So we may be the first salon or first spa that they think of when they have a bad experience at the place they're currently at wherever that may be.

John:
And then you're ready to swoop in and acquire that customer. That's great.

Matt Traiger:
Yeah!

John:
And seeing all those different ways and getting people from Boston, that's amazing. Like you can sort of see the work paying off. So what's next for you guys? What are your goals in the next 12 months as you guys go forward from here?

Matt Traiger:
The goal is in the next 12 months, and really for me, it's always building on the foundational things that's really what separates the good businesses from the subpar ones. So really, my biggest focus right now is on education and elevating our education to try to continue to separate us from the competition and in not just elevation in education, but to also always continue to elevate our customer service as well.

Matt Traiger:
But I think in 2021, after having such a crazy year in 2020, I think it's really about focusing on the things that always make us great and really doing a lot of fun team events this year, once the pandemic completely ends. I know we weren't able to have a holiday party last year. So I think this year it's really about doing as much as possible once everything loosens up and we're allowed to, but doing a lot fun team building and team camaraderie, I think that is without question, the most important thing for 2021, just because 2020 was such a weird year and we really haven't had the opportunity to all enjoy each other's company like we used to.

John:
Yeah, definitely. That's especially, you guys have such a strong team, you got to get together this next year.

Matt Traiger:
The other cool thing we're doing is sometime this fall or next winter, we're renovating our entire hair salon, nail salon and day spa. So it's going to be awesome. And it's going to be done sometime between October 2021 in February of 2022. And I know the customers and especially the staff they're going to, it's going to be awesome. They're going to love it. And I think after everything that we've been through in this past year, I think that'll be a nice present for all of us.

Matt Traiger:
And the one other thing I do want to mention too, which is really cool is we are going to be bringing on a, another, a hair care line as well. And this haircare line we're going to be bringing on the X Mondo line. And so the X Mondo line, so Brad Mondo [inaudible 00:22:06] Jesamondo, but he's the son of the former owner of Jesamondo Salon and Spa. He's also a Hair Influencer of the Year in 2020. And we're hoping to bring his line on eventually and partner with him. So, that'll be exciting.

John:
Wow. That is cool. It's sort of full circle for you guys. That's very neat.

Matt Traiger:
So that'll be exciting as well. So just lots of fun stuff going on in 2021. And then hopefully good things. Continue for Jesamondo for the rest of 2021 to 2022 in the future.

John:
Yeah, exactly. That's the goal. What would you tell to both a customer who's considering coming to Jesamondo and what would you tell another business owner about possibly working with Paul?

Matt Traiger:
As far as customer goes, definitely come down to Jesamondo Salon and Spa to experience inner peace and outer beauty. Our company motto has always been "experience inner peace and outer beauty at Jesamondo Salon and Spa", so come on down and give yourself some pampering. And another cool thing is that probably not a lot of people know about, is we're one of the only salons and spas in New England where everyone who works is an employee, the salon pays for everything on top of great commissioning and great hourly pay.

Matt Traiger:
We're also one of the only salons that also pays for our employees' health insurance. We provide an IRA match and we also provide great vacation and paid time off benefits. Most salons, the employees are treated more like contractors, and here they are treated like employees. The part of business that treats its employees well and loves to give back to the community.

Matt Traiger:
The reason I'd recommend someone to hire Paul is he really allows you to grow your business much easier. And unfortunately, in this world you have to pay to play and no risk it, no biscuits. So, but if you pay Paul, you will win.