The Smith & Davis Salon Team

In the Anatomy of a Salon article, the staff of Smith & Davis were described as being collaborative, enthusiastic and focused individuals who are extremely knowledgeable, inviting and consistently innovative. They are a relatively new team, considering the fact that the salon has only been open since 2012. So, what is it about this salon team that makes it such a standout from the rest? Furthermore, what can we learn from the culture of a salon whose very tagline is: The Culture of Collaboration?

From our time spent being immersed in said culture, we came to know that being collaborative is about more than just sitting around the table and working on a project with each other; it’s about being a team player and embracing teamwork. And, by the way, being enthusiastic involves much more than just showing up to work that day with a smile on your face.

To be inviting takes more than just saying “you’re welcome” and “thank you” to the client coming in and out of the salon on a daily basis while being innovative, focused and knowledgeable takes a level of discipline, training, and support.

But there’s much more to all of this, right?

Right.

Stevie Smith & Michael Davis have given their team members the opportunity to grow individually and collectively, thanks to a rigorous apprenticeship program, constant push towards collaboration and continuing education. You can see the level of dedication that has been taken into crafting this delightfully infectious culture. They’ve nurtured it and have allowed it to flourish and their team has not only embraced it, they’ve thrived off it.

As you read these individual interviews, you’ll discover that each team members has grown in some distinct way since day one of being employed at Smith & Davis. They all share what they bring to the collaborative table and what they expect and desire from their in-salon peers. As you make your way through their answers, you will find this common thread in all.

Abby Gorski | Colorist | 1 Year 

 

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

I come from a very disciplined and technical background. I was trained at Sassoon, and I have to say during my time with Smith & Davis, I’ve been able to blossom here creatively. I’ve learned to trust my instincts more. They let me get pretty weird here.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

I would say a humble attitude. I think coming in and realizing the client is our number one focus and that we’re here to make everyone feel wonderful and beautiful. It’s also about having the spirit of hospitality.

It appears the team and the salon as a whole are very collaborative. What is your role in this dynamic? Are you usually the project manager/team leader? The organizer? The peacekeeper? A workhorse? The person with all the big ideas?

I tend to be the person with the big ideas. I get inspiration from lots of unconventional places. For instance, I was really into pigeon necks for a while and even cross-sections of vegetables. When we have brainstorming meetings, I tend to bring lots of photos.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

I would have to say Chad because we go back a long time. We were both with Sassoon. I think because we both come from that background, we share a lot of clients who like that very strong, very technical work.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture, what would be its tagline?

It would definitely be “Creative Collaboration.”

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Kind, Humble & Creative

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Fabulous, Down-To-Earth & Renaissance

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Caring (he’s kind of like our dad), Committed & Open-Minded

Adrianna Lombardo | Salon Manager | 3 ½ Years

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

Something Michael and Stevie doing well instilling in the staff is a sense of professionalism and growth, and I feel like I’ve done a lot of growing up in the past few years. It’s not about just showing up and doing my job. I’ve learned to care a lot more about what I’m putting out there into the world. I like that about myself.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

It’s really important, especially in this industry, to be a team player. You should be someone who is able to go with the flow and able to check his or her ego for a moment. I’ve been in other environments before where that really isn’t part of the culture, but with anything creative, you get people and their big egos. You may think you’re the greatest, but there are a lot of really great hairdressers out there. Something that I think that has been really successful for us here at Smith & Davis is that we create an environment of family and collaboration. Everyone is very open to sharing their clients. They are all confident, for whatever may be the reason, to give their client to another team member if they are unable to take them themselves. They all know that client will get a high-quality service from whomever here.

It’s also important to be willing to do whatever is needed.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

I actually take on a lot of those roles. I help out and make sure a lot of those things run smoothly. You know, make sure the ship runs according as planned.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

Stevie and I are both Leo’s, very proud and strong Leo’s, and we work really, really well with each other. Honestly, we get shit done. It’s as simple as that. We know what needs to get done and there’s no messing around, no extra conversations or extraneous efforts. She and I man the ship. We actually kind of manhandle it.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, how would you describe it?

Smith & Davis is a really cool place where you can come and hang out. You don’t necessarily have to be getting your hair done. When you walk in, you don’t even realize you’re in a hair salon. It’s comfortable and trendy and you feel like you’re hanging out in someone’s cool living room. You genuinely want to be here.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Nurturing, Aesthetically Pleasing & Comfortable

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Teacher, Unique & Inspiring

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Mentor, Motivator & Bright Spot

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Alicia Asuncion | Stylist | 3 ½ Years

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

I’m much more of a people person, more than I’ve been because I consider myself to be introverted outside of the salon, but when I come to work I’m able to individually have connections with the people I see every day. I feel like a different person when I’m here.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

I would say communication, in all facets. Not only do we have to be good communicators with our clients, but we also have to be with each other. Whether that’s on photo shoots or being in the salon every day with each other. I’ve never worked in a salon where there is no drama before Smith & Davis, and Smith & Davis is just that—no drama.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

A view my role as someone who oversees everyone’s vision and I’ll come in with the details. Stevie has referred to me as the person who can glue it all together. If something is missing, I’m the person who can see it and say what it is. I’m a bit of a control freak, in a certain capacity, and I can always see the final product and if there’s a void, I know how to fill that void.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

That would be Bria Salvador. We have history with each and have known each other before the salon came into conception. She is a complete inspiration to me on many, many levels and I get to work next to her every day.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, how would you describe it?

We are the culture of collaboration.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Organized, Hilarious & Inviting

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Mother, Goddess & “Beacon of Light”

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Passionate, Inspiring, Educator

Bria Salvador | Stylist | 3 Years

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

I’ve developed a very strong foundation for cutting since I’ve been here along with a more “work smarter, not harder” view on foundational cutting. That’s a hard question to answer because I have learned so much working here. It’s actually been a life-altering experience.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

Humility. You have to be able to trust your team and their talents, and know that everyone is trying to build each other up. You have to be able to take criticism and know that it’s not personal; it’s about the work.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

It all depends on the variables of the project. The roles on projects like the photo shoots are always shifting and switching and we really all take turns playing those roles. I can translate the concept of the photo into reality really well. I work best under pressure, especially during our photo shoots. I’m also like an aggressive cheerleader and always checking in on everyone. I can also crank out some bitchin’ haircuts.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

Alicia. We met each other around seven years around the time she was dating someone in my friend circle. We reconnected when I started here at Smith & Davis as an assistant, and she was also an assistant at the time. I actually forced her to get a dog. I don’t know how that’s going…

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, how would you describe it?

It would definitely have to be in a big bottle [laughs]!

As soon as you walk in you’re comfortable. The vibe here is positive and aesthetically on-point.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Familial, Hyper-Positive & Intelligent

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Before I do that, I just want you to know how I feel. I feel like she is the most supremely talented hairstylist I have ever been graced with the presence of. She is also one of the most intensely and fiercely caring people I have ever met and she has so much interesting life experiences and references she draws on that she is phenomenally well-rounded. So my three words are…

Well-Rounded, Talented & Motherly

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Technical, Hilarious & Talented

They really are both the greatest people I have ever met.

Chad Ehrhardt | Stylist | 9 Months

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

I’ve learned to go with the flow. I’m also newly married and that has also played in with that way of thinking. You don’t always have to be right, you just have to go with the flow.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

Having the ability to relate to the person you are working with and be able to empathize.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

I often have big plans and grand schemes. I feel like bigger and more is always better, so it’s usually the job of others to wrangle me in.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

I would have to say Abby because I assisted with her and I’ve really known her the longest.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, what would be its tagline?

Simple Sophistication.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Mine is going to be five words and that is “Egos Left At The Door.”

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Fun, Approachable & Level-Headed

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Approachable, Nurturing & Hands-On

Katie Butler | Stylist | 1 Year

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

I really needed to loosen up a bit and get out of my box. Having great bosses like Stevie and Michael who allow me to do what I want and have pushed me to do what I want.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

You have to really love what you do and love supporting the team. I feel like everyone that works here does just that. There’s a high level of commitment here.  You also have to be willing and always wanting to learn.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

I still feel like I need to come out of my shell a little more. Although I do feel like I am a big supporter.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

I feel like I am close with everyone, to be honest and have worked really closely with all the colorists here. I chose to do an apprenticeship when I started, and as I was going through that, Pranith and I shared a lot of models in the beginning. And when I did my soiree I did it with all the colorists because I really wanted to showcase all of their work. I really enjoy working with all of them closely.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, how would you describe it?

Everyone is rockin’ it, always.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Supportive & Hair Nerdy

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Motherly & Magical Creature

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Super Supportive & Rockin’

Pranith Gunasena | Colorist | 1 Year

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

I’ve learned that as a colorist I am capable of creating more than I thought I was. I really didn’t have much exposure to creative color prior to coming to Smith & Davis and Stevie taught me so much about it. It has helped me broaden my horizons and my skillset.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

Respect. We come from all different walks of life and we all have different backgrounds, stories, and experiences, even different esthetics. It’s important to respect each other as professionals. We’re all strong in different ways.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

I’m a Type-A personality and tend to be very organized.

Who is your partner in crime in the salon and why?

Probably Audriana our salon manager, primarily because she handles my books! She’s the first person the client sees when they enter the salon and she’s a very integral component.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, how would you describe it?

Smith & Davis allows you to be the best that you are.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Fun, Creative & Inspiring

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Kind, Whimsical & Talented

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

Gentle, Creative & Calm

Samantha Thereau | Cutting Apprentice | 1 ½ Years

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What have you learned about yourself during your time employed at Smith & Davis?

To be confident in my abilities and the decisions I make. And that’s not just with hair, but also in life. Working there has taught me to embrace who I am and what I do. It is a very supportive and mentoring environment.

When it comes to having a strong salon team, what is the most important quality/character trait a team member should possess and why?

Enthusiasm. A love for what you do because the skill and the talent can be built, but if you don’t already love what you’re doing then you never will.

What is your role in the collaboration process?

I’m good with taking the idea and running with it. Even though I am an apprentice, I have been able to work on some of the models for the photo shoots.

If you could bottle up the Smith & Davis culture and sell it, how would you describe it?

Let your freak flag fly.

How would you describe the team environment you work in using only 3 words?

Supportive, Inspiring & Chill

How would you describe Stevie in only 3 words?

Inspiring, Bright & Magical

How would you describe Michael in only 3 words?

It’s more than three words. I would say Insightful, Creative, & Great Taste In Music

To learn more about Smith & Davis Salon, you can read their Anatomy, HERE.

To learn more about Stevie Smith & Michael Davis, read their 1ON1 Interview, HERE.

 

 

 

 

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