ReelChatter of the Month
My name is Megan Straziuso, owner of Hair by Straz. Born and raised in the Cleveland area and a big lover of the city I get to call home. During high school I attended the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center where I received all the hours needed to sit for the exam to receive my cosmetology license. I received my license the same week I graduated high school. A big week for 18 year old Meg. I went on to college and received my Business Degree from Bowling Green State University. While there I joined the Chi Omega sorority and that is how I met the lovely Caitlin Lagnese! I spent many of those college nights styling hair and many days cutting it in my kitchen and shampooing it over the bathtub. I had a group of guinea pigs and I loved every minute of it. After graduation I realized that hair was my passion and I knew it was what I wanted to do as a career. I started out at a JCpenney salon after graduation. There I met so many kind and talented stylists who took me under their wings and helped me to grow as a stylist so much in that first year. After that I continued my career at Salon Front and Center located in Berea, Ohio. There I truly solidified myself as a stylist, grew my talent and clientele and also made some lifelong friends. After the craziness that was the 2020 pandemic and seven years at the salon I decided it was time to venture out on my own. I was very lucky to have so many people cheering me on in my new endeavor. My mom, a stylist and business owner herself, was the voice that made me certain I was making the right choice at the right time for me. My sisters and brother were there with me every day helping me set up and decorate. My brother specifically was probably so sick of me by the end as I had him hanging shelves, mirrors, lights, etc. I was ready and open for business on January 10th of this year and that was it! It has been the best six months of my life so far and I am so glad my path has led me here and that I decided to take that leap.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I am a huge pop culture nerd. Books, movies, shows, give me all of it. One of the best things about my job is that I get to chat with so many different people and discussing pop culture is my fav! I currently have a want to read list that is over 300 books long due in part to recommendations from clients that I receive on the regular.
I also love to travel, I spend most of my time in the salon working towards my next trip. My goal is to visit all 50 states before I die. I also would love to visit all the countries too but that is a little bit more of a stretch. Bonus points if the place has a hair class I can take while I am there! I just visited Orlando, Florida for the Premiere Beauty Classic hosted there last month.
Can I say my job is an interest or hobby? I love making my clients look and feel beautiful. I also love getting to know them all on a personal level. I truly believe you can learn so much from other people’s life experiences. I love listening to anything and everything my clients have to tell me.
How did you get started in the business?
I knew I wanted to be a hair stylist from the time I was a little kid. Growing up with a hair stylist mom I lived for the days I got to tag along to the salon with her. I would sit behind the front desk and dream about the day I would own my own salon. When I entered the seventh grade my school took us on a field trip to visit the vocational school in our town. A school that, come junior year of high school, I could attend and learn a trade while working towards graduation. We toured the cosmetology room that day and I was sold. I knew I would attend the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center and earn my cosmetology license and one day make all my little girl dreams come true. My sophomore year I applied for the program and got in and the rest is history.
Tell us about your biz!
This past January I opened my own salon suite within the Royal Beauty Lofts, suite 102 in North Royalton, Ohio. It has been my dream for a very long time to one day own my own salon and this seemed like a great first step! There I offer a wide variety of hair services, including formal styles and I have also been dabbling in extensions to add to my service menu. I accept clients of all genders, ages, and backgrounds and I am always accepting new clients.
What advice do you have for your fellow business owners?
Take care of your people. Whether it be clients, employees, friends, family. Loyalty and trust are two very important pillars in lasting relationships.
Don't sweat the small stuff. Remind yourself at the end of the day it is just a business.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned so far since opening hair by straz?
Running a business is hard! Juggling clients, inventory, paychecks, while also setting boundaries and reminding myself I should not work every hour of the day. Being a business owner is one of the best decisions I have made for myself so far and I am so glad I did it, but it does come with challenges. I am learning and growing my confidence every day and it has been an amazing journey so far.
Do you struggle with anxiety or depression?
I think everyone struggles with this kind of stuff at one point or another. My biggest thing is workplace anxiety. I will leave work sometimes with my head spinning. Feelings of imposter syndrome, doubt, and insecurity. ‘Did she really like her hair?’ ‘I should have mixed that toner differently.’ ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have made that last comment during that deep discussion I was having with that client.’ I have many nights where I am lying in my bed after work reminding myself that I am human and mistakes are part of the game. I am very lucky to have the coolest clients in the game and I remind myself of that often. We give each other so much grace, whether it's running late or rescheduling due to life events or sickness. I am so lucky to have each and every one of them. I also always try to remember advice my mom gave me about the business when I was just starting out. She told me, “When you walk into that salon you leave your problems at the door. They will be there waiting for you when the work day is done.” I find myself doing that almost every day I go to work and you know what I have found? Those problems become a little smaller at the end of that work day. Shifting your focus and not allowing your worries or problems to manifest during that time can give you some major perspective and help you work through it without even realizing you are doing it.
Why are mental health and wellness important to you?
Working with people all day every day, while it is rewarding, can be very draining both mentally and physically. It is so important in this industry to keep your own mental health in check because it can become depleted without you even realizing it. My biggest outlet is yoga classes. It allows me an hour to just sit and gives me a chance to quiet my mind.
Name someone who has inspired you and tell us why.
This is an easy one. That answer will always be my mom. As a young girl she showed me women can be both badass business owners and amazing parents. She is my biggest cheerleader, confidant, advocate, and mentor. As I mentioned earlier, she was the voice of reason when it came to making the leap to go out on my own. I told myself, ‘hey mom thinks it’s a good idea so it must be!’. I have spent many years in this industry going to my mom for advice whether it be about a particular client, mixing a certain color, handling a business transaction, etc. She has truly been there, done that and I know she will always shoot straight with me. Many little girls say they want to be just like their moms when they grow up, I am lucky enough to actually have done it!
Favorite mantra or quote you live by?
“It’s okay if you are scared, do it scared.”