Jenna Speight has always been fashion-forward, but she struggled to find a way to turn her passion into a profit. After changing her college major several times in search of the right path forward, her hairstylist suggested cosmetology school. “It was a lightbulb moment for me,” Jenna says. “I called a school the next day, and within four weeks, I was enrolled.”
Though she was now on the right path, it wasn’t always easy. But the difficulties opened other doors for Jenna: “I worked at a few salons, and there ended up being a lot of drama that made me consider leaving the industry. It was either leave or start my own salon. So, I decided to open my own salon.”
Jenna opened Rue 62 Salon in April 2011, but the challenges wouldn’t stop there. Less than a year later, she discovered she was expecting twins. “It was a bit overwhelming as I was trying to build my new business,” she says. “One baby I could manage, but when I found out it was two, I really had to adjust my expectations.”
Thankfully, she was surrounded by a strong team of supportive employees who helped the business grow. “Choosing who I can work with has been essential,” Jenna adds. “[My twins] are absolutely a blessing, and my team has been key in our success.”
Years later, when COVID-19 forced her business to shut down for several months and implement expensive safety protocols upon reopening, Padgett Barrington joined Jenna’s team. She had received a PPP loan, and her previous accountant was not equipped to handle the challenging tax situations that came with it. “I needed someone more informed,” she says, so she reached out to Dave Gribben. “He had amazing reviews and his office was only half a mile from my house.”
“He’s always been super responsive, very thorough, and great at explaining things,” she continues. “He made my tax process more understandable, and introduced me to more options for government assistance, like the ERC, which was absolutely essential to help us get out of a tight spot.”
Jenna credits her strong support system with helping the salon succeed despite the challenges life continued to throw her way—including being diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2021. “That changed everything,” she says. “I didn’t work in the salon for 7 months, and I would go weeks without talking to anyone. The cancer journey has really re-prioritized my life and really drives home the point that the girls on my staff can weather any storm.”
“They’re like family,” she adds. “One of my stylists had twins as soon as I came back, and another had her first child when the first returned. Through it all, we’re stronger than ever. I think that’s due in large part to who I’ve hired. I have the most incredible group of women.”
Jenna knew opening a small salon wouldn’t make her a millionaire, but believes the experience of working with a team of incredible people has been priceless.
“My best advice, the best thing I have done as an owner, is hire the right people,” she says. “I have a staff that will really step up and have my back, who will keep the salon surviving and thriving. Having a tax preparer who is professional and responsive and has my best financial goals in mind, somebody who treats me with respect… has been extremely helpful, not just to my business, but to my self-esteem.”
“I absolutely, even 12 years in, still look at the tax return and don’t understand it,” Jenna continues. “It’s not something I could do on my own. Having a great bookkeeper who keeps track of things for me has been a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders. If another small business owner is anything like me and doesn’t have an MBA or a business degree, having a good accountant is essential.”
If you need an accountant or tax professional on your business’s team, Padgett can help! Contact us today.