Name: Karissa Saffuri Age: 25 Business: Unity Hair Artists
Saturday February 15, 2003
KARISSA Saffuri is the mother of three young children, runs her own hair salon with a staff of 14, and is half way through her MBA. It's enough to make most people want to tear out their hair!
How does she do it? ``Great support from the team and everybody around me, and a really strong passion to get ahead and to create an environment that is going to work," she says.
Karissa is a young woman who knows what she wants. She started Unity Hair Artists at the age of 22, and the business hasn't stopped growing since.
The former Dapto High School student regards herself foremost as an entrepreneur, then as a hairdresser (she had already launched a construction engineering company with her husband before embarking on Unity). She cuts in the salon one day a week, with the rest of the time dedicated to making the salon work for her.
Her criterion at the outset was simple - it had to have an edge:
``I wanted to do something which was really different - very team-focused, client-focused that stood apart from everything else. There was nothing like it in Wollongong," she says.
This meant doing oodles of market research, paying generous wages, hiring people with similar ambitions to her own and providing ongoing training for all staff.
Asking a lot of questions of those already successful in business, and developing a strong business plan were the keystones of her vision, she says.
Team motivation and team leadership are the most important facets of the business, ``as well as a good product", she says. Karissa attributes Unity's overall success to her staff.
``They run the systems, they run the policies - we're a team - there's no hierarchy ... it's everybody around me that is empowering the business to go forward."
Advice: Do what you have to do today because there is a load tomorrow; be very organised; and be focused on the leadership management aspects and balance out your jobs.
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