Our inaugural Small Businessperson of the Year award is proudly presented by the Small Business Center at CPCC, assisting more than 2,500 startup entrepreneurs and small business owners annually through networking events, free seminars, no-cost counseling, a business resource library, and tuition-based and non-degree courses.
The big, two-story purple house on East Boulevard clearly stands out — and so does the business inside.
The Dilworth landmark is home to T. Reid and Company Salon, a beloved boutique that continues to grow. Today it does well over $1 million in annual business.
Few salons have such a devoted following, and it’s not hard to see why. Owner Tonya Reid is willing to tear apart her schedule to fit her clients’ needs and always makes things right if need be. Customers nosh on cookies and sip on hot or cold beverages — with crushed ice — while they wait for their appointments.
Some of her clients have been coming to T. Reid and Company for more than a decade.
Reid has also been innovative in her business, one of the first to use text reminders for appointments and taking members of her 16-person staff on buying trips to New York and Los Angeles to help them grow in their careers.
Over the past decade and a half, T. Reid and Company has grown from four stylists to 13 — plus a nail technician and aestheticians.
All that led to Reid being named the finalist for our Small Businessperson of the Year award in the Personal Services category.
Get to know Tonya Reid better and learn from her success with these five questions. Responses have been edited for space and clarity.
What’s the first hour of your day look like?
I hit the ground running! I get ready fast and head into work with coffee in hand. I look at the day’s projections and set a higher goal for myself. Then I get behind my stylist chair to love on my clients all day. I’m a night owl, though. I actually get more done my last hour of the day.
What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?
Two things that sound counterproductive but they haven’t led me wrong yet:
First, the ”Three Feet From Gold” lesson from Napoleon Hill’s 1937 book, “Think and Grow Rich.” He tells a story about a man who gave up on his mine during the gold rush and sold everything for pennies on the dollar only to have the man who purchased it strike the largest ore deposit in history only 3 feet where the first man felt defeated and sold out. Defeat is temporary. Keep going!
Second, the great thing about a small company is that you can turn a little boat quickly if something you’re doing isn’t quite working. For example, the salon industry has completely flip-flopped in 28 years since I started my career — from being 96% commission-based W-2 employees, to the current model of 96% booth-renting 1099-based workers.
So as of mid-2017, I offer a hybrid model where stylists can pick what works for them. And the silver lining is that I’ve completely overhauled and reduced my monthly business expenses to be able to stay relevant in my industry and not to become extinct.
What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?
A LEGO ship in a bottle 960+ piece set that I’m going to put together with my family at the beach over Easter. I can’t wait! You never outgrow LEGO!
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?
Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants.” She’s hilarious! I love autobiographies and biographies. My son Porter gave it to me for my birthday. I wonder if he was trying to tell me something. Hmmm?
What other small businessperson do you admire?
Dan Nguyen of Lang Van Restaurant. She hustles! She always greets my family at the door with our drinks and our appetizer order placed. She loves her clients and makes them feel taken care of the way I aspire to treat mine! #soulsister
Photos by Lauren Rosenau Photography