- Bob Ratterman Contributing Writer
Her dream just kept growing.
Christa Schram opened the Rose Room Salon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 8 and it was the realization of another life step for her.
Sitting in the pink room with flowers painted on the walls, a row of salon chairs and hair styling equipment lining the far wall and a buzz of conversation between stylists and clients in the background she thinks back to her days struggling to build a life.
“I was in beauty college, a single mom and working,” she said. “Now, I am able to own a business and be able to give back. I get very emotional. It’s just amazing to see. Just work hard and trust God. I think back on those days and do not know how I got out of it.”
Her faith in God is her tribute to what she believes moved her life forward and on a stand next to the reception counter is a Bible. The slogan for the shop is “Where Heaven and Hair Collide.”
When she opened the Rose Room Salon at 318 South College Avenue she decided on a business plan in which she owned the shop but used booth rental to allow the stylists there to pay her a flat monthly rent rather than commissions. That allows them to operate their own business with more control over their own income.
Schram said she was a high school dropout and attended the Western Hills School of Beauty, commuting to Cincinnati. A Pell Grant helped with the education part of her schooling, but the commute was wearing.
After finishing school, she said she worked in the industry for a while but kept dreaming about how to build on that start.
“I went back and got my educators’ license and taught for several years. I started dreaming about what I could do differently as an owner,” she said. “I decided to go into booth rental. I am not the boss. Jesus is the boss. I am the manager. I would love for the girls here to go and start their own business or do well and have financial freedom.”
Schram said the usual business model is for stylists to work for a salon and be paid a commission which can be 50-50 or even 40-60 and with required monthly product sale minimums.
In addition to Schram, other Master Stylists at the Rose Room Salon are Gini Combs, Julie Combs, Paige Sewell Hackney and Brittany Marcum, while Alexis Neff is a Stylist.
Since the opening, Schram has added a Master Barber—Juiquetta Harmon—to the mix offering that service to men in the community. The other women in the shop spoke highly of her work with men’s facial hair, calling her the “beard whisperer.”
Schram said of Harmon, “She is amazing. She also offers ethnic hair services.”
She said the women in the salon offer a wide range of additional services from eyebrows to nails to skin care to provide for many options in addition to haircuts and styling.
“We’re actually pretty unique. We have so many services we offer, it’s pretty amazing,” she said. “I love the culture here. We are independent but we work together and build each other up. It’s a more homey feeling.”
Some of those special services include SeneGence long-lasting lipstick, Nova lash extensions, skin care, body waxes and natural nail services such as shellac. Schram offers microbladed eyebrows which she describes as “permanent make-up” which will fill in thinning eyebrows or darken the color.
Schram started the Rose Room Salon with not only the idea of setting herself up professionally but also looking ahead to finding ways to help the community.
From that was born “Cuts for a Cause” held Nov. 11 when all the stylists donated their day’s earnings to a fund to help others in the community. She was impressed all those in the shop gave all their earnings that day amounting to $500, not just a percentage, and several customers made additional donations of $425.
The money was used to buy “turkeys and all the sides and fixins” for 30 Thanksgiving meal baskets which were given to residents of Park View Arms apartments on College Corner Pike. She said the amount was fortuitous because Open Hands Food Pantry needed that number of turkeys and food for residents there.
“When I was in beauty college and a single mom, I actually lived there,” Schram said. “I was like skipping around Walmart (shopping). I knew they could use them at Open Hands Food Pantry. They were not able to get enough baskets needed for Park View Arms Apartments. It was like a miracle I called her.”
She said she is planning another “Cuts for a Cause” day at the salon in December but had not yet confirmed a date and plans to use the money to buy Christmas gifts for children.
The salon is located in a building which had previously been used by a taxi service and a telemarketing firm. That latter use explains the fact that the walls were carpet-lined to reduce the noise from the adjacent railroad tracks, but the carpet has been removed and paint applied to the walls.
Sound from the occasional train is negated by the friendly atmosphere and caring staff.
“The idea was to make it more comfortable for everyday women or gentlemen so they will not be intimidated by the beauty industry. We want to be a service. Be comfortable. Be You,” Schram said. “It’s incredible what a haircut can do for somebody. It can make someone feel extra special when they come in.”