Imperial Salon & Spa
It all started with a part-time job at her mother’s salon. Kristen Kohl was at home with her two young boys when her mother, who was a salon owner and stylist, asked if she wanted to buy her salon, but Kohl declined. Knowing she was antsy to get back to work, her mother instead offered her a job at the front desk, which later flourished into much more.
“I think it was all a ploy, because the moment I started working for her I realized how much potential this salon had and the work that needed to be done to get there,” said Kohl, now owner of Imperial Salon & Spa in Melbourne and Indian Harbour Beach. “Within three months, I bought her salon and grew it into what it is today.”
Established in 1997, Imperial Salon & Spa offers nail, body massage, skin care, waxing, makeup and hair services, including a beautiful boutique featuring after-care products and the latest fashion trends. The company’s second location, Imperial Salon and Spa Beachside, located in Indian Harbour Beach, was established in 2010.
Kohl’s most recent venture is The Salon Professional Academy in the Melbourne Mall, which opened in November 2011. This state of the art Diamond Designated Academy, certified by Redken, offers programs in cosmetology, massage therapy, and skin and nail care certification. It’s a fully accredited school that offers financial aid and accepts Florida Pre-Paid, VA benefits and Bright Futures Scholarships.
Kohl has gained inspiration and mentorship from a number of people in her life, one of which is the one who started it all – her mother, who taught her about perseverance, and that practice really does make perfect. Also, Michael Cole, who is a “guru” in the industry, has always told Kohl to trust her instincts and not allow negativity to cloud her vision.
“Oftentimes, women are unassuming and easier to approach. In saying that, I find opportunities with the gift of gab. I have noticed that I ask questions that most men wouldn’t,” she said.
While Imperial Salon & Spa has seen a plethora of success, it has not come without its challenges throughout the journey. “My biggest internal obstacle is turnover – losing key players, keeping some employees too long and hiring others too quickly,” she said. “My biggest external obstacle was a fire that I had in 2007. This was a very big test of my faith and in my company.”
If given the opportunity to impart wisdom on a group of young professionals, she would say, “Find your passion, which is your most important responsibility. Once you do, be diligent, forthright, and focused. It’s called living in your purpose…the sweet spot!”