One of my favorite things about Dallas is the new people I’ve met – either through church, out shopping, or just doing life in general. Over the past five years, as I’ve settled into Dallas and made it my own, I’ve gotten to know people from all walks of life and specializing in all sorts of different trades. As a small business owner myself, I’ve appreciated getting to learn more about some of the amazing small businesses here in Dallas.
I’m partnering with American Express this week to share the stories of two small businesses here in Dallas. I’ve gotten to know my hairdresser at FORM, Leighanne Shelton and my trainer at VIVE , John McDowell, as well as Brock Travis, co-owner of VIVE, pretty well. Not only do I trust them and have great relationships with them, but we connect on the small business front; I’ve enjoyed learning more about how they got started, their struggles and what’s they’ve learned along the way.
Today I’ll be featuring Leighanne of FORM and next week I’ll feature John of VIVE personal training. I had such a fun time interviewing both of them and have loved switching things up recently by playing ‘journalist’ for a bit. It was actually really fun to write about THEIR stories rather than my own – definitely something I’d love to do more of on the blog in the future!
I know a lot of you have a side hustle or are on your own, so it’s my hope that their stories inspire you as well!
First up, let me introduce you to Leighanne, my hairdresser – an incredibly talented hair colorist and business co-owner of FORM salon in Dallas. They’re killing it on the hair front in every way possible – so much so that they just opened up a new salon to handle all their stylists and clients!
When I first met Leighanne, I’d never dyed my hair, but wanted to try it out. But let me back up into her story because it’s a cool one. Leighanne “wanted something that would help give herself and others instant gratification” – so she mixed that with a “childhood passion for beauty” and pursued her dream of hairdressing.
After beauty school she migrated from Dallas to NYC to work with the “best of the best.” This is where she found her true love, balayage, a hair highlighting technique. Leighanne left the big apple and landed at a top notch salon in Dallas, which to her benefit did not offer the balayage highlight technique.
Her manager at the time encouraged everyone to try out the new (well, new at least to Dallas) technique, which was her specialty. Lack of education and exposure kept clientele from requesting her unique services, but Leighanne believed in the technique and knew it would catch on eventually. With growth and success on her mind and a genius marketing friend offering guidance, she decided to create her own website to build her customer base focusing on Dallas-based ladies searching for the balayage technique. She became the top-ranked google search result for “Dallas bayalage” (which is how I found her actually!)
After her SEO win, new clients, and five years of killing the balayage game, Leighanne was able to build her own personal business. Years after coming to Dallas she branched off on her own which led her to the next turning point, Whitney Haynes. She was immediately drawn to Whitney’s passion for education and desire to train others. This was the beginning of FORM for Leighanne. She “knew she couldn’t do it alone, and had an opportunity to work with another amazing hairstylist and business woman.”
They shaped FORM with the “vision of being an educational house.” They “wanted a place that was enjoyable for all, (from clients to artists), and an inspirational place, not just a hair factory.” The art of beauty and hairdressing is “their main source of inspiration, not brands,” so they take their craft very seriously – and love sharing it. From helping people like me get over the terror of their first dye, to helping artists become their best, to being a flexible accepter of American Express cards, I couldn’t love Leighanne and FORM more! Over 2,000 salon and spa locations in the Dallas area started accepting American Express® Cards in 2016.
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