Rachel Harned: Planning for Success

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Clients of the Bombshell Blow Dry Bar in Holland may be surprised to learn that the head bombshell, Rachel Harned, is an efficient businesswoman at heart.

After graduating from Grand Valley State University in 2005 with a degree in communications and marketing, Harned worked in advertising for the Grand Rapids Press and as a marketing specialist for Facility Solutions, Inc. When her son, Christian, was born in 2009 with a serious heart defect, Harned decided that working outside of the home wasn't what was best for her family at the time. After her son recovered from open-heart surgery, Harned opened an airbrush tanning business out of her home, which expanded to such a degree that it was not practical to keep it there. As she and her husband, Scott, explored different options for their own business, the concept of Bombshell Blow Dry Bar came to life.

Because of her advertising background, Harned had experience working with business owners—watching businesses grow and seeing the challenges they faced, as she collaborated with them as their advertising consultant. Her parents were also business owners, and she drew from their experience, too. Her husband's background in economics was also a great resource as they developed a business plan, which they took to the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center at GVSU for review before moving forward with their idea. Knowing that there were already seventy-five salons in the area, Harned needed to differentiate her business, and identify services that would provide an appropriate profit margin, appeal to potential employees, and be appropriate for their market audience. This analysis led to the creation of Bombshell Blow Dry Bar and the signature product, the blow out—that elusive, impossible-to-recreate-at-home, red carpet-ready hairstyle. In addition, the blow dry bar offers airbrush tans, manicures, bareMinerals makeup applications and lessons, waxing, cut and color, and a variety of other services. Doors opened in June 2014, about a year after the birth of Harned's second son.


Working with salon management consultant Summit Salons, Harned strove to develop a management model that would encourage a quality work environment, and attract and keep strong employees. Harned works with her manager, Amanda Marquez, to nurture new employees. They start them out side-by-side with a more experienced staff member before moving them on to their own chair, which provides challenges and opportunities for growth, as well as good role models. "Amanda is the perfect example of how to grow as an employee," said Harned, who believes in hiring staff she has knowledge of, especially regarding work ethic. Many have come with recommendations from people she has close working relationships with. Hiring the right people is critical. "We don't have drama here. We're like family."

Harned loves the positive vibe she gets from the day-to-day experience at the blow dry bar. "Every day I get to see transformations—it's so neat to be a part of that!" Whether brides on their wedding day, moms on the day of their child's graduation, or "bitty bombshells" getting pretty at a birthday party, watching clients' confidence build is rewarding. Harned continues to work with Summit Salons to keep on top of industry trends and training, knowing that it takes planning and perseverance to keep a business growing.

For more information about Bombshell Blow Dry Bar, click here.

Written by Jennifer Reynolds, West Michigan Woman staff writer.


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