“Most knots untie themselves. Being patient may feel like doing nothing, but sometimes giving conflict the space to resolve itself is the best course.”
I had the pleasure to interview Erika Wasser of GLAM+GO. Erika is a young entrepreneur who founded GLAM+GO just four years ago and now has 9 locations in NYC, LA and Miami. GLAM+GO is a “best blowout” award-winning salon and blowout membership service in NYC, Miami and LA. With eight convenient locations and 30-minute Signature Blowouts and 15-minute Express Blowouts, GLAM+GO is the blowdry bar of choice for women short on time but who have high standards
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
At the beginning of my career, I worked full time as an on-air digital host and stand up comedian. I spent most mornings in green rooms going from “less than glam” to camera-ready in just minutes — like magic! I wasn’t working, what I missed most was how my hair looked (in such a minimal amount of time) — I knew beauty could be achieved painlessly and efficiently! I thought “what if we could recreate the green room experience for every woman?” and Glam+Go was born.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
When we were opening Astor Place we decided to throw our first big launch event. The night before, finishing touches were being put on the space, it was the most beautiful (and most expensive) salon we’d built to date. We were set to open the next morning with 7:00 a.m. appointments booked in all chairs, back to back, until close and an RSVP party list for the evening of nearly 200. Of course, all good parties call for champagne — some of which was sitting on a hair tray. In an attempt to “set” the salon and put the tray in place, I needed to move the champagne. I brilliantly decide to put them lined up on a floating shelf that was supposed to be for towels that lives about a foot above the porcelain sink bowl. The shelf comes down, one of the bottles hits the champagne in such a way that the sink shatters at the impact spot causing a massive flood whenever the water runs. We spent the rest of the night surgically putting the sink back together, complete with maxi pads to soak up water, glue and tape for the morning appointments (maybe we could get through a few hours without a flood?), while finding an Atlanta truck driver named Elliot on Craigslist (who we still use!) to go to the factory an hour outside of Atlanta, pick up a new sink top, and then bribe a FedEx worker in Atlanta to take the box and fill out the air-slip (which apparently they’re not allowed to do?) so that we could running water back by the time the 200 people showed up. We pulled it off, and actually had Elliot pick up 2 sink toppers in the event one broke in transit, the second of which, thankfully, still sits in storage to this day…in case of any future champagne emergencies!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We’re really a company built by modern women, for modern women — and while there’s a bunch of those now, which is awesome, there weren’t when we started. We really tried to create the trifecta of beauty for women: quality, convenience and affordability. Our memberships start at $79/month. Our express blowouts retail at $25. We’re co-located within gyms/hotels/corporate buildings — place where our women already are. And our quality is consistent across every location throughout the country, meaning women can know what to expect and what kind of experience we’re going to deliver — every time.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Glam+Go is about to launch our first store-front flagship, we’re looking at launching branded retail and opening in a new market soon. Personally, I’m starting to get back to my roots within the entertainment/comedy space on a few exciting projects. The first few years just operating was something that demanded 100% of my brain. It’s taken years, but as we go from infancy to toddler, I’m honestly needed less and less — which for me, really is the goal — to support the team, give them the tools and direction, and congratulate them when we all succeed.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Plan for perfect, but give people the room to up and come forward. We always like to say “reality, we can deal with” but if your employees don’t feel like they’ll be supported when things don’t go 100%, you’ll be the last to know about problems that may be hurting your business.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
My dad is my sounding board/support system/mentor. He’s 100% the reason I am where I’m at (in more than just business). He’s really helpful at brainstorming or structuring ideas and can tell me when I’m being crazy (which of course, is never!). When something good happens or something bad happens, he’s always the first call and good news or bad, he usually has the same response: “Great. Keep going”. Growing up watching him really gave me the confidence to even try to do something. I want to make him proud.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
On a daily basis we make women feel beautiful and we always like to say that what we do is so much more than hair. Ask any woman how they feel after a great blowout, and they’re ready to take on the world. We also have a “Glam Gives Back” program. On International Women’s Day, we partnered with Dress For Success. On Thanksgiving, we partnered with ACE programs for the homeless and invited our team and clients to help us serve thanksgiving meals. On a more personal note, anyone who ever is thinking of starting something or is in the entrepreneurial trenches that ever asks to meet, I always try to make time with fair warning that I may not be able to help with what to do, but am happy to share what not to based on experience.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Most knots untie themselves. Being patient may feel like doing nothing, but sometimes giving conflict the space to resolve itself is the best course.
2. Progression, not perfection. You’re going to have days that are wins and days that feel like a total failure. The important thing to do is just keep going and try to be a little bit better tomorrow than you were today. If you do that every day, you’ll get exactly where you wanted to (or further!) in time.
3. It’s OK if you need a day… or two. People think running a business has to be 24/7 — always. In some ways it is, even on personal days the phone may ring with a fire on the other line but giving yourself the ability to take care of yourself, while you’re taking care of everyone else, is really important. Often times the speed at which the business can grow is in direct proportion to the learning curve of its founders — so make sure to take care of yourself when needed!
4. Choose the kind of company you want to run and the quality of life you want to have, and make it happen. The best part of starting a business is that you make the choices, you manifest your own reality. Not a morning person, but love working into the night? Make your hours 11–7… If you structure your work to work for YOU, you won’t burn out.
5. Fire Fast, Hire Slow. Taking the time to hire the right team you want to work with is the most important thing in the world (because you’re going to spend the majority of your life with these people AND they are partly responsible for your failure or success.). When you get the feeling it’s not right, don’t make excuses, just make changes.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?
My dad says it best: “Keep Going.” When great things happen, keep going. When not so great things happen… keep going then, too.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this :-)
Cesar Milan… so we can talk about him not returning any of my emails, and then I can convince him to train my dog! ;)