Just a Minute with Kip Spiering Proprietor, Barney’s Brother

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm

Company address: 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., Galleria Level, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Industry: Hair design, nail design, skincare and tanning
Number of employees: Seven
Education: Associate degree, Milwaukee Area Technical College; barber/cosmetology degree; bachelor of business administration, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, marketing major; master’s degree in business administration, UWM.
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“Relocate and expand. Nineteen years ago, my original location was in the Historic Third Ward. As I looked around at the options available to me, the U.S. Bank building, with its 42 floors of potential clients, seemed like I was going back to my roots – to go to where my customers work.”
What’s new at your company?
“Everything. In June, we relocated to the U.S. Bank building. They were looking for a high-end salon, so we – meaning the U.S. Bank and myself, invested heavily into all new interiors (hardwood floors, cherry wood built-in cabinetry with granite countertops, etc.), and all new equipment and furnishings. However, with all the new surroundings, the best addition at Barney’s Brother is the staff. I already had two extremely talented professional employees, but with our new services, I had to expand to seven employees. After four months, I have to say the best part has been to see my staff blossom into this incredible team of talented individuals who are all doing outstanding work in a very professional manor.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Market share and motivation. First and foremost, Barney’s Brother needs to make itself known. The marketplace out there needs to know we exist and what services we have to offer. Marketing has been my biggest challenge since we relocated. Advertising and promotions are working well in making potential clients aware of our existence and what we have to offer. We now are offering grooming/ beauty packages as a way to market our new services to our existing clients. Having a larger staff has also taught me it will be a challenge to keep them all motivated. The key here is to learn the individual needs of each employee and try to meet those needs. Education, praise and of course, money, are great motivators, but giving them a professional environment with positive attitude is key to motivating them.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“Natural and healthy. Clients put a lot of effort into their grooming in order to look both natural and healthy. Hair color has gone from being a popular trend to now being part of the overall design. Skincare is extremely important to our clients, both men and women. Nail care is also very important to both women and men. One of the big surprises to me was in the waxing area of skincare. Men are using our waxing services as much as the women.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“State-of-the-art service in a professional environment. At Barney’s Brother, the staff knows that customer service and quality of service will always be our ultimate goal.”
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“Anyone who has been successful at accomplishing what they set out to do. At a local level, I have a number of clients who have started their own business that have gone on to great success, and I like to treat each of them as the mentors that they are to me. On a larger scale, I have had the good fortune to meet some very successful hair designers that own and operate very successful large salons all over the United States. Also, what is that expression? If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people, and it will rub off.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“The best advice I received when going into business for myself 19 years ago came from a client of mine who was very successful in business. He said, ‘Go to work every day knowing that there are going to be problems to solve.’ That way, you are not upset every time one occurs. He was right.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“Eat and sleep. I am working 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week, and a good part of Sundays is spent doing bookwork. Free time these days is a premium. However, when I do have the time, I love to go see a play.”
– September 30, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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