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Sue Kolve-Feehan, Sue Kolve\’s Salon & Day Spa and The Salon Professional Academy

Not only is The Salon Professional Academy our title sponsor of Women’s History Month, celebrating women-owned local businesses; but Sue Kolve-Feehan has had quite a career in our area. Sue is the owner of both The Salon Professional Academy and Sue Kolve’s Salon and Day Spa (both in Onalaska). She is the perfect inspiration for this incredible celebration of empowering women business owners Around River City! Sue stopped by to share her story and chat about both of her wonderful businesses.



Sue Kolve-Feehan is a shining example of a woman small business owner setting high standards for herself, her team, and her businesses. Sue began as a La Crosse hairstylist who knew she was meant for more. After graduating from Cosmetology school, at 19, Sue began working at a salon, averaging $2 an hour. Knowing she was destined for something bigger, she took her talents to another salon. This pivot allowed Sue to grow her clientele to a level she had never experienced, and to learn more than she could ever imagine from her colleagues. Little did she know that this would be the start of her journey as a business owner. The opportunity eventually came for Sue to purchase the building she was working in and shortly thereafter the team of stylists that she had grown alongside in that salon followed suit and became the first team members at Sue Kolve’s Hair Studio. Sue quickly learned how to build a team, grow a brand, and exceed expectations through high-quality services and products. Her drive quickly earned her national accolades, and she continues to be a model for other salons across the country. Around the same time, in 1985, Sue was approached with an offer to be hired as a Redken Regional Performing Artist. Within a few short years, she was teaching 27 weekends a year as a National Performing Artist for Redken and was asked to present Redken’s business programs internationally. She was teaching the same business principles that helped build the foundation of her salon. As the salons she was working with continued to grow, they desperately needed additional staff. Salon owners were now struggling to find graduates with strong technical skills who could also deliver high levels of customer service. This is the moment Sue recognized the need to place the business program into schools. After moving her hair salon to Onalaska in 2001, Sue achieved a new dream, in 2006, of training the next generation of industry professionals when she opened The Salon Professional Academy, her own educational facility. There were a variety of students in the first class, including those with 2-year and 4-year degrees, and only one student was a recent high school graduate. Regardless of their background, they all had big dreams! These students had thought about a career in the beauty industry for a very long time. To date, The Salon Professional Academy has graduated nearly 900 students and expanded its programs from cosmetology to esthetics, nails, and massage therapy. Students receive all the pieces of the business program that she originally brought into salons years ago, as well as all the state requirements for their chosen program. They also receive the same coaching and mentoring used with the team at Sue Kolve’s Salon & Day Spa. They meet every month to review their guest retention and new referrals along with other components. These are measurements that reveal how well they are delivering exceptional customer service. Owning two businesses has its rewards and challenges. Sue Kolve-Feehan has continued to enrich her businesses and provide a great place to work for their employees. Sue Kolve serves as a great example of what women can accomplish with the right education, hard work, perseverance, and courage to dream big.



Author: admin

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