BLNDN: Hi Graham, thanks for chatting with us today! Give us a little insight into yourself and your role at Design 1…
Graham: My role at Design 1 is Director of Education & Salon Development. What is so cool is that I worked as a sales consultant for SalonCentric for 8 years before coming on board full time with Design 1. Those 8 years taught me so much about salon retail and how color works, salon growth, and really how to gain overall growth in salon business.
BLNDN: As entrepreneurs ourselves, we love to hear entrepreneurial stories. Tell us how Design 1 began…
Graham: Design 1 started in 1981. My mom, Lisa Walt, tried out the college thing but still had a strong desire to do hair. Early on in her years of being a stylist, she worked for Maly's beauty supply teaching classes. My dad, Larry Walt, loved real estate and development. When my parents were 21, they opened their first little store front salon...Design 1. My dad handled the business and property and my mom did everything in the salon...literally. She was the only stylist and did all the scheduling, cleaning, laundry you name it. Day by day they grew to eventually open Design 1 Plainfield…then Design 1 Cascade in 1998…then Design 1 Grandville in 2003…then Design 1 Gaines in 2008 and now Design 1 Portage will open December 5, 2016.
BLNDN:You guys have obviously come a long way since the beginning, with 4 locations across Michigan. What would you say is Design 1’s differentiating factor or specialty?
Graham: Lisa is definitely the heart of the salon. She was the original stylist who is passionate about education but had and still has the work ethic of a super human. As a couple, they have dedicated their lives, their family and their business to honesty, strong faith based morals, and being debt free. Lisa is the heart of the salon and Larry is an amazing business man. With the first salon, it was a miracle they got their first loan but because Larry is smart and was dedicated to being debt free now all 4 of our existing salons are debt free! So with that being said, I think that their work ethic, strong morals, their passion for education, and being debt free is for sure the reason why they have had so much success.
BLNDN: What drew you in to the BLNDN line to pick up for your salons?
Graham: My parents own Design 1, I am now full time but what I have not mentioned is that my sister, Paige Cheever, is the Salon Manager at Design 1 Grandville and our Director of Events and Public Relations. My other sister, Tessa Robertson, is a stylist and mentor at Design 1 Grandville & Design 1 Plainfield…BUT my wife, Anna May Walt, comes from a family of hair dressers as well. When we met, she had been doing hair for 4 years. She is a stylist and mentor at Design 1 Gaines and is also an educator for Candy Shaw and the Sunlights Balayage Education team which is how we heard about BLNDN. Anna May has become close friends with Stylist and Sunlights Balayage educator, Brandi Caputa. Brandi told my wife, who has blonde hair, about the product line. BLNDN sent us a box and the rest was history. We had all of our stylists try it on themselves and they were hooked.
BLNDN: Wow, that is amazing! So, do your stylists have a favorite BLNDN product?
Graham: Hands down, our stylists favorites are Brighten You violet shampoo and Save You balancing cream. We can't keep either on the shelves! They love Brighten You”because it repairs AND tones. They love Save You because it is light weight, but gives amazing shine, and repairs.
BLNDN: What trend do you see picking up for your color-loving clients this fall/winter?
Graham: Now that we are heading into fall and winter everyone is adding warmth and depth to their color. They are still keeping their blonde hair bright but breaking up their blonde hair and adding dimension with rich lowlights.
BLNDN:Lastly, Graham, what advice to you have for BLNDN Babes who haven’t tried out our products yet?
Graham: BLNDN isn't just for blondes. It is for any hair that has been exposed to the sun, aging, and had any type of oxidation (which is everyone). It is a concentrated formula so you don't need a lot, but that's great because it will last you a while. Nourish You conditioner and Quench You shampoo are great for every day use, and Save You is a must for a leave-in treatment for all hair types.
If you are in Michigan, book yourself a spot at one of Design 1's 4 (soon to be 5) locations: Plainfield, Cascade, Granville, Gaines, and coming next month; Portage. In the meantime, you can find their inspirational work on Instagram @deisgn1salonspa.
xx, Team BLNDN
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