Reinvention after 50 years in business

By the time this publishes, PENZONE Salon + Spa, our new concept salon, will be open. I’ve written previously about communication, managing change and focus — all elements that have been critical to this project. Now, as it draws to a close, I’ve been thinking about the driver behind our new concept: relevance.
In April, we embarked on our 50th year in business. This is no easy feat for any business. All the work we’ve done, and will continue to do, will be to remain relevant for not only our existing guests, but also future guests. Since this effort is fresh in my mind, I want to share a few strategies that have guided our efforts.
A focused brand = a strong brand
Despite our proven track record, we intentionally started fresh when ideating our new concept. This involved more than just defining the space or experiences within it. Our process involved exploring our brand’s purpose and pillars that support why we do what we do every day.
This fresh perspective provided the foundation for our new concept. It provided our team concepts that could be understood and infused into their work. And even more, it’ll be the constant our training will be built upon.
Be daring
To remain relevant, change is the only constant. Trust your gut and approach change with an open mind and heart. Don’t be afraid. Fear can paralyze even the most successful businesses. I’ll admit, I had to remind myself and our team of this fact many times throughout the project.
Would our new concept, PENZONE Salons + Spas, be confusing for existing guests? Would unifying our brands throughout Central Ohio be jarring for our team? Would adding elements of our new concepts, Royal Rhino Club Barbershop & Lounge and LIT Life + Yoga, into our core brand be unwelcomed?
I knew in my heart that all these elements would make up the future for our brand. So, we went for it — a holistic approach to beauty — while realizing not everyone will get why at first.
Share your knowledge
Help your audience understand the why behind certain decisions — especially if these decisions help drive your future. Without the context, our team and guests might question some of the decisions we’ve made.
Complimentary beverages have been part of the Penzone experience from the beginning. You won’t find soda in our new concepts, though. This was intentional. We’ve long been a supporter of the American Heart Association and we know that heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women in America. Our decision to not offer sugar-laden soda was made to encourage our professionals and guests to sip smarter, with fresh options like infused spa-water, organic, cold-pressed juices and specialty coffees and teas. By sharing the impetus behind our decision, we’ve empowered others to make healthier choices and live healthier lives.

I encourage businesses of any size, at any stage in their life cycle, to consider these strategies, as you embark on your journey to stay relevant in our changing world.

Debbie Penzone is the president and CEO of Charles Penzone Inc. Debbie’s expertise as a business leader, hair professional and her avid philanthropy have earned her the respect of the salon industry and the nonprofit community. She has been recognized as one of the 20 most remarkable women in Central Ohio, one of the 20 most intriguing salon owners and was a Smart 50 winner.