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SSBC Consultant Profile: Derek Reynolds

Profile by Sara Altizer

Corporate Legacy

derek.reynolds200pxDerek Reynolds’ journey into the professional beauty industry is nontraditional at best. Following a career path that began on Wall Street and in television, Derek worked at L’Oréal Corporate, in salon management, and in salon business consulting before finally opening his own salon company. Through so many twists and turns, Derek came to realize that the professional beauty industry is the most unique industry in the world. Why? Because it still has heart and soul.

“When I was working on Wall Street, my friend David Ross worked at L’Oréal Corporate,” Derek explains. “I was making great money, but I was miserable. David suggested I talk to the team at Redken, and I did. Several months later, Christine Schuster hired me as a coordinator in the show department, booking the artists and handling show logistics. I was at Redken for just over four years. I was promoted each year, and when I became the Assistant Manager of Events, I was transferred to Kerastase. Kerastase hired me as the Manager of Training and Development.”

For the next few years, Derek went to work for a cable network as the Director of Sales and Marketing, which provided the opportunity to see things from a different perspective in a different industry. “The Human Resources Director at L’Oréal recommended me for the television job,” Derek explains. “I needed to see outside of the beauty industry to come home again. After TV, I decided to focus on a career in the salon side of the business instead of going back into a corporate role…and that’s where I’ve been in love ever since.”

Studio Gaven

When Derek worked for L’Oréal , he met Gaven Smith, a Redken Artist whom Derek had booked for hair shows and in-salon events. “We became friends, and when I decided to leave New York he suggested Nashville,” Derek says. “I was interviewing for jobs in television and helping Gaven with the salon. One day he asked me, ‘What would it take for you to stay?’ and that was that. I was there for over four years.”

“Gaven was (and is) an incredible mentor and collaborator,” Derek explains. “We grew that business from one location to two and created a success despite the recession. Those businesses own the market in which they reside, and I couldn’t be more proud of our work together. It’s totally different. In corporate, it’s my way or the highway. In the salon world, you better learn how to collaborate with your staff, with your vendors, with your guests, with everyone.”

“As fate would have it, I met my future husband while on a business trip with Gaven,” Derek says. “He lived in NYC and I moved to be with him. I knew Rodney Cutler from his longstanding relationship with Redken, and when I moved back we had a meeting. I told him what I was looking for and (I’ll never forget), he told me ‘I know what you’re looking for…but what I need is…’ That was it. Match made in heaven. To this day, he is one of the most impactful mentors I’ve ever had, in work and in life. I continue to retain the GM title, but work remotely from Nashville and travel monthly to NYC for coaching and meetings with our partners and staff.”

Leigh Edwards & Company

Derek spent ten years working with others on their businesses, when he finally decided to open his own company. “It was time to open something close to my heart,” Derek explains. “It was really a passion project that turned into a salon company.”

“My salon company, Leigh, Edwards & Company, has grown by leaps and bounds in Nashville,” Derek explains. “We just hired our tenth stylist! When we first opened, we worked to NOT hire service providers who were currently working in other salons. It was important that we create our culture from the ground up, and we did that with service providers who had very little experience. Once we’d been open for a period of time, word got out and folks who had previously worked with Amanda and I started reaching out to sit down and talk. It’s been a very organic experience; we hire the personality and train their potential.”

“We believe in creating success through our team,” Derek explains. “That being said, we hire folks who want to be salon owners one day. They are the future of our company and in five years, we hope to have multiple locations sharing the brand—all with managing shareholders—carrying our message in all directions.”

The Summit Salon initiatives that had the greatest impact on Leigh Edwards & Company’s quick growth were, the Service Standards, the Career Path, and the One on Ones. “Additionally, with my experience in managing Studio Gaven and Cutler Salon, I hold three things to be vital to an owner’s success: 1) Be the first to walk in and the last one out. 2) Walk the walk if you want to talk the talk. 3) Have compassion to balance a strong hand.”

As a Summit Salon Consultant, Derek helps people, pure and simple. “Helping others find success is the most rewarding part of what I do,” Derek says. “The industry has evolved and become much more convenience based, but it still has heart. It is one of the only industries in the world that still has heart and soul. And that is why I love what I do so much.”