In 2006, Luke Huffstutter bought an existing salon and with only three employees and opened Annastasia Salon.
Now, Huffstutter has opened Annastasia Salon's second location in Lake Oswego and employs a total of 55 employees between the salon's two locations, a rarity in an industry known for its independent contractors.
What sets Annastasia Salon apart from other places? Huffstutter says that investing in his staff has positively defined his business.
"There are lots of salons in the Portland area, but what has allowed us our growth and success is our determination to take great care of our service providers," Huffstutter said. "That's my job. I don't do hair, so it's my responsibility to help them find a life they love, which is easy because doing hair is fun. By doing that and having happy stylists, I trust they are going to give great service to our customers. When our staff feel taken care of, they in turn take care of our customers."
Unique to the beauty industry, Huffstutter offers his employees health care, excellent wages, retirement plans, education opportunities and even one-on-one life coaching. All these benefits, along with a happy work environment, foster a feeling of appreciation that Huffstutter sees as an asset to his business model and the people he employs.
Address: 7741 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland;
Address: 449 B Ave., Lake Oswego
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Saturday
"Anyone can go to beauty school and get proficient at cutting and coloring hair," he said, "but what makes us special is the feeling of appreciation and contentment that our staff has, and they give it to the customers. It's the core tenet of who we are."
Speaking of beauty schools, Huffstutter is an industry leader, hiring employees directly from his family's beauty school Summit Salon Academy in Tigard. Not everyone is hired and Huffstutter jokes that when students leave the academy, they are eager to find their own path, and he has to prove to them why they would want to work at Annastasia Salon. The few he hires each year fit in well at the innovative salon.
Annastasia Salon follows a performance-based structure where stylists start at Level 1. As the demand for their services goes up, so does their level. The meritocracy of the system allows stylists to earn level jumps by keeping clients happy and performing well. Luke says it's a win-win for both the staff and the customer.
When Huffstutter bought Annastasia's second location, it was also an existing salon. He retained nine of the salon's original staff, and after renovation, opened its doors March 1. Today, the Lake Oswego Annastasia Salon location has 11 chairs and two spa rooms. Like the original location in Multnomah Village, the new site offers hair services including cut, color and extensions, plus esthetician services such as lashes, waxing and facials.