Jen Baudier opened Bella Style Salon in October of 2009. Six years later, the salon made the move to its current Olde Towne Slidell location on 2265 Carey St. The historic locale—as well as the luxury salon experience—made Bella Style a destination. "People come from all over the area to come here," Baudier told Aveda Means Business. "We want to be the Ritz-Carlton of Slidell," she added. A few years (and one pandemic) later, Bella Style defended its spot on Salon Today's 200 list for the fifth year in a row.
The honorees of the national award were unveiled during this year's Salon Today 200 Virtual Watch Party. Along with the announcement, the broadcast profiled 12 honorees. The conversation during the event centered on discussing what creative survival strategies salon owners implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic after local shutdown ordinances caused salons to be temporarily shuttered. Some never reopened. The ones that did needed to make safety changes and reconsider their business models to survive.
Stacey Sobel, director of Brand Content Strategy at Salon Today, profiled Baudier at the virtual celebration. Explaining the profit-sharing model her team switched to, Baudier credited her savvy business background with PIP University in preparing her for facing a new reality.
"During our two-month closure, we took the opportunity to completely restructure how we ran our salon," Baudier told Sobel. "We moved our girls from the commission model to now paying them hourly. We changed our dated a la carte service menu to now charging our guests what it costs our salon to operate per hour. What this allowed us to do was get ahead of our expenses, profit, and pay our people really well all during a time of low bookings."
Holding its place on the Salon Today 200 list in a topsy turvy year is an achievement in itself, but what makes this year truly special is that Baudier graces the 24th Annual Salon Today 200 cover. "We made the cover of the magazine this year, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Baudier wrote.
During a year that saw home haircuts, DIY dye jobs, and more roots showing than anyone ever asked for, Bella Style Salon managed to achieve a 13 percent growth over 2019. In addition, the business managed to preserve the jobs of Baudier's 15 staff members from across management, hairstylist, and esthetician positions.
Going into its 12th year, Bella Style continues to be involved in its local community. In February, Baudier posted a Facebook video on a closet purge that would benefit John Jay Beauty School students in need of professional clothing. "They have professional career days and need to practice looking and feeling their best!" the post said. "We remember being a struggling student."
Baudier has come a long way from those struggling student days. In August 2020, Baudier posted a video of her giving a tour of Bella Style's completed million-dollar renovation. She offers champagne or a craft beer before showing off the state-of-the-art open floorplan. Included in the salon's makeover is a color bar that is cleverly designed to mimic the kind of bar that is typically staffed with bartenders (replete with tubes of hair dye hanging from wire racks in the place you would expect wine glasses). Looking at this playful attention to detail, it's no surprise that Bella Style's been a success through thick and thin.
Bella Style Salon, 2265 Carey St., Slidell, 985-639-1602. mybellastyle.com