It’s the fun thought that every group of great friends entertains, but rarely acts upon: “What if we started our own business together?” For Kristin Kuhlmann, Kelly Rettke and Tracy JoliCoeur, a group of longtime friends, this thought turned out to be worth looking into—it led to the opening of Parlor of Wayzata, one of the Lake Minnetonka area’s newest (and already beloved) hair salons.
The beginning of this new chapter has deep roots in the past; the three friends have worked together on the Wayzata salon scene for more than 20 years and often worked as stylists at the same salons. “This had always been a dream of ours. It helped that it was realistic; we’ve worked together for so long that we knew we could do it,” Kuhlmann explains. When the doors of Parlor opened in 2015, the three expected some questions about why they decided to take this plunge. But instead, they repeatedly heard, “This is fantastic. What took you so long?”
The Parlor itself is full of history, as it’s located in a house off Wayzata’s Lake Street that is more than 100 years old. The name of the business is a nod to this history. The space boasts all of the amenities of a home: Customers are greeted by flowers in warmer months and can lounge on the front or back deck during sunny summer days. “We want people to feel comfortable here. That’s a really big part of our mission, and the house lends itself to making that happen,” Rettke says.
The trio has mastered the art of teamwork while still playing to individual strengths, and they admit that they each have a part of the business they gravitate toward. Kuhlmann focuses on retail, product sales and staying ahead of trends, while Rettke is the force behind the financial and business decisions. All three are quick to point to JoliCoeur as the problem-solver. “She’s our own MacGyver,” Kuhlmann explains. When it comes to styling, the three are clearly a powerhouse, with many of their customers having followed them around the Twin Cities for more than 20 years.
A large part of the salon’s success has been its mission to create an unparalleled customer experience. “We want every single person to walk out of here feeling better than when they came in,” says Kuhlmann. “To do that, we know we need to consider every aspect of the experience.” Music flows through the salon, and guests are offered beverage options. But the owners all agree that their success goes beyond the amenities and can be credited to one critical point: listening to the customer. “Every customer begins the appointment with a thorough consultation. We need to understand what they are looking for,” Rettke explains. From there, the stylists put their expertise to work and even turn to each other throughout the process. “It’s second nature for us to bounce a color or a cutting question off each other,” JoliCoeur says.
It’s also second nature for the women of Parlor of Wayzata to leave their patrons feeling imbued with a sense of inspiration, like a new beginning—the very spirit that led them to create the Parlor in the first place. Kuhlmann sums it up when she says, “There isn’t anything the three of us can’t do when we do it together.”
Hot for Hair
The stylists at Parlor of Wayzata share their favorite winter-to-spring trends.
- Not your mother’s lob. Short hair is everywhere, and the long bob, affectionately referred to as the “lob,” puts a modern twist on the classic short style. Think asymmetrical and shoulder length.
- Color splashing. What used to be reserved for Halloween costumes and imaginative children is now one of the most popular hair trends of the past few years. Opt for violets and blues woven into more natural colors for an on-trend look.