Suelyn Farel of the Julien Farel Group on the power of helping everyone person flourish in their own career while being part of your organization
Describe your business in a few words?
We have a 10,000 square foot “Restore” Salon & Spa on Park Avenue in NYC and an international hair care company.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I am a serial entrepreneur and had 3 companies prior to joining my husband to expand his!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I started working in my Grandparent’s real estate office in my early teenage years and loved it. Then I went to retail during later high school and early college years, and was a model which taught me to think on my feet and learn to sell myself. Worked for someone else selling/project managing graphic design services for 20 months learning the ropes, and left to start my own company. Knew I needed to run my own show.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes! It was always a dream and also I knew working for someone else wouldn’t suit my personality. I am independent, strong-willed and a bit free-spirited, while being intense. My ambition from a very early age was to be an entrepreneur and work for myself.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I was fortunate that my first company was a Marketing Strategy and Brand Development company. Having majored in Marketing/Finance in college, I marketed quite well out of the gate and built a million dollar plus company very quickly. Fun fact: My first company was called “Work Hard Play Hard” because I’d had a dream of having an office full of people picking up the phone and saying that phrase. And it worked! My Fortune 500 clients loved that it was catchy and not so corporate.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
This past year! Having a service business in the heart of NYC, being closed for 3 full months in 2020 was one of the most challenging times in business. I actually went to my home office desktop everyday during quarantine—it kept me sane. Top priority was to keep our team together and inspired. I organized weekly Executive Meetings on Mondays, Wellness Wednesdays with group meditation or yoga and full team meetings on Fridays. It kept everyone’s attitude positive and reaffirmed that we’re all here for each other when together in person or virtually. I also did gratis consulting for other salon businesses requiring guidance as to how to reopen safely. As close as New Jersey and as far as the Bahamas!
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
My family. I have an incredible husband who is my life and work partner and two teenage girls.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
Describe your dream job. Why do you want to be a part of the Julien Farel Team? I also ask questions to see if the candidate has looked closely at our website. And always, always check references.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Lots has changed. Social distancing and having limited capacity (state mandated) has given us new ways of operating. We’ve also streamlined staff to ensure clients feel comfortable and safe. We also miss serving drinks (water only now) and we can’t any longer offer magazines. Would like these perks to return, hopefully by the Fall. Also, our massage business has been impacted the most of all services…but with vaccinations and Springtime, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Expansion into some new cities on the brick and mortar side and a dynamic rebranding of our hair care company that we’re in the process of.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Good health is the thing of greatest value.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
- Hire slow, fire quickly— as soon as you know it’s not a fit.
- Always be specific about a deadline. My “immediately” is not someone else’s version of the same word.
- Don’t assume people understand what you’re talking about. Sometimes it’s the patience of reviewing it three times that makes the job get done well.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Daily time outdoors and a new puppy.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
No, there is no such thing for me like that! When I am insanely busy at work, my home life suffers. When I take a vacation and truly shut off work, I feel completely behind on work upon return. I am not a good person to ask about work/life balance. I do my best to get in 2-3 workouts a week but that’s as far as it goes. I’ve never had that balance and don’t anticipate I will.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I can speak 3 languages!
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Prioritize your day each morning and review the same list before shutting down at night.
- Delegate wherever possible, if you want your business to grow.
- Support the people around you and bring them along on your journey. Celebrate their successes. Try to help each person flourish in their own career while being part of your organization.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It is an honor to be featured! Being both a woman and entrepreneur for more than 20 years, I love having opportunities to pay it forward and share what I’ve learned to hopefully help others. I am so grateful THANK YOU SO MUCH!!