Here's a problem it took a mother to solve.
Haircuts for reluctant kids can be a tearful experience - for parents and kids.
With three young children of her own, Kori Keller imagined a salon from a kid's perspective and came up with barber chairs shaped like an F-22 fighter jet, a four-wheeler, Mickey Mouse and a SpongeBob-themed bathroom with jellyfish hanging from the ceiling and moss growing on the walls.
Welcome to the Kidz Cutz salon at 2500 Grand Ave., Suite N, in Billings.
And, Mickey and SpongeBob are only half the fun.
Girls can invite friends for a two-hour "ultimate princess" party that includes special hair-dos for each girl, toe or fingernail painting and the decoration of their own tiara. Other parties can be created with glamour photos and karaoke.
"I have dreamed of doing this for many years," said Keller, who grew up in Billings. "I am passionate about kids and creating an environment just for them."
Kidz Cutz is open Wednesday through Sunday can be reached at 294-1100 or through its Web site www.kidzcutzmt.com.
Here's what else Keller had to say about turning a good idea into a thriving business.
Nature of the business
We are a full-service children's salon offering haircuts, mini manicures, mini pedicures, color and three birthday party packages. Our birthday party room may be used for art classes, science labs and other kid-friendly classes as well.
Why start this business?
I have dreamed of doing this for many years. I am passionate about kids and creating an environment just for them.
I get high fives and hugs all day. Who could want more? A kids specialty salon offering more than just haircuts was needed in Billings.
Where did startup funding come from?
We funded it ourselves.
How long have you been in business?
We opened the new salon on Feb. 16.
Biggest challenges in running the business?
Our biggest challenge is convincing hair stylists that working on children is fun, fulfilling and financially rewarding. We offer many services for kids, so the stylists are doing many different things during the day. We are always looking for energetic and dependable people.
What was done to overcome those challenges?
I have talked to both beauty schools in Billings about the great opportunity Kidz Cutz is, and we are advertising.
What is being done to expand the business?
Right now we are just getting started, but within 18 months to two years we would like to see another salon in the Heights and then expand into other cities.
Your best business decisions?
Our best business decision was to add additional services including the birthday parties. Also, opening up our birthday room for local authors, artists, etc., to hold classes for the children. We bought the best salon software available. It has helped us track everything that happens in the salon.
Your worst business mistake?
Our biggest mistake was underestimating the time it took to get it opened. Thank goodness for family and friends.
What advice do you have for someone running a business?
Take your time to find the right employee. It is so worth it. Plan to spend 40 more hours a week at your business than you thought you would. Also, if starting a business, plan, plan and then plan some more. It keeps surprises to a minimum.
Number of workers?
Two and looking for more.
What's your five-year plan for the business?
Again, we would love to expand to the Heights and then hit Bozeman. Our business plan includes a Kidz Cutz in many Montana cities.
A question you would ask other entrepreneurs?
What were your biggest hurdles and how did you overcome them?
If you weren't doing what you are now, what would be your dream job?
I would be Mrs. Incredible.
To be featured
"Entrepreneurs" appears regularly in the WorkWeek section. The feature will help readers become familiar with new businesses, as well as educate others in the challenges of starting a business. If you would like to tell your story, please contact: Chris Jorgensen, Billings Gazette, 401 N. Broadway, Billings, MT, 59101, 657-1311, office, 657-1208, fax, email@example.com