Susan Haise, Owner/CEO of Neroli Salon & Spa

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“After 20 years at 325 E. Chicago in the Historic Third Ward, we moved our original downtown Neroli Salon & Spa location two blocks north to the first floor of the Aveda Building at 327 E. St. Paul Ave. I purchased the Aveda Building in 2010 and prior to last month it was solely occupied by our corporate office and Aveda Beauty School, The Institute of Beauty and Wellness. To have all of us in one building and the opportunity to provide a more luxurious environment for our Neroli downtown guests is the smartest decision made so far in 2013.”

What’s new at your company?

“Ayurveda (pronounced aa-yer-vay-da). It is an ancient holistic system of healing that strives to create balance in body, mind and spirit. Today’s spa guest needs a place to heal and focus on themselves. Our answer to that need is bringing ayurvedic practitioners into our Neroli spa facilities to offer an elevated level of holistic services to guests. We will also start an ayurveda program at The Institute of Beauty and Wellness this fall for those looking to study the craft.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“Absolutely. We are always looking to hire good people and host weekly career events. This year we plan to invest in the maintenance of our facilities as we want all of our 1,000+ guests each week between four locations to continue to have a five-star salon and spa experience.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Navigating the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as providing quality health care options to my team is important to me. We put a team together three months ago to ensure we are educated to the best of our ability on the topic as I foresee tough decisions ahead for all companies that provide health care benefits.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“While our industry has many trends, I would say the most impactful to our business is gel polish for manicures and pedicures. It’s the perfect option for active individuals who don’t want to spend their time worry about smudging or chipping.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Love what you do and with whom you do it.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“There is not one individual or industry that I look up to; rather I continually search for CEOs who can move the mark in their line of business and see how their best practices relate to my business. Fast Company is one of my favorite go-to publications for this topic.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Years ago a former business partner, Erik Knudsen, told me to always be open to sharing what your best practices are as it will always come back to you. While it took about five years for me to fully understand those words, it is now common practice.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Recently we purchased a Toyota Prius and wrapped it in multiple beauty images to create the ‘Aveda IBW Mobile’ to promote our beauty school. The reaction I have received when driving it is truly the most entertaining to date in my career. Be on the lookout as it will be on the streets of Milwaukee all summer long!”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Being a wife and mother of two little ones, I am continually on the go and cherish the time I spend with them. Outside of that, any day I can travel the world is a great day. I love to experience people, watching them live their lives on their terms. The memories and knowledge that I have gained is a gift.”

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