written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Earl Pindar was born and raised in California. He was a football star through high school but playing beyond that wasn’t in the cards. “Unfortunately, just like 90% of us out there that love to play sports, I got hurt and I couldn’t play football anymore.”
Looking for a new direction, he developed a passion for hairdressing. It’s a creative outlet for his artistic side and he gets to meet lots of people. “I love what I do!” You’d better believe it. He’s been a hair stylist for 27 years now.
Earl, along with his wife Kelly, opened up the Natural Fusion Hair Studio in Downtown Frederick in October, 2007 — nine years ago! “The Frederick community has just been great. They accepted us with open arms.”
When he isn’t at the Studio, he’s most apt to be found outdoors. He enjoys camping, fishing, hiking and working with wildlife. “I call myself the Hippie of Hair.”
What Sets Natural Fusion Hair Studio Apart?
Extensive Consultation — “When I meet clients for the first time, we have a very extensive consultation. We want to find out what they’re looking for, the challenges with their hair and even what attracted them to our location.”
Consumer Education — Stylists at Natural Fusion inform the clients about the waste and the chemicals that are typical in the hair salon business and the steps taken at the Studio that sets them apart.
Environmentally Responsible — “All the waste that we produce in the salon — even to the clippings of hair that hit the floor — we try to go out of our way to absorb all of that and figure out ways that we can reuse and recycle it.”
What Do Hair Dressers And Coal Miners Have In Common?
“Hairdressers are second in line to coal miners for getting lung disorders from all of the chemicals that we breathe in.” Allergic reactions are also a common hazard of the job and can mean the end of a career as a stylist.
“We’ve taken out a lot of the harsh chemicals in the salon. We don’t use traditional hair color that has ammonia and PPD,” Earl reveals.
“We’ve found different professional lines out there that have taken those chemicals out and have replaced them with more gentle or sustainable types of products inside so we can actually use it.”
When it comes to the wet line — shampoos, conditioners and styling aids — Earl can proudly say “we are the only salon in Maryland that have these particular products. One of them is called Tela Beauty Organics, a certified organic hair care line. We also have P2 (Performance X 2) which is a 100% natural hair care line.”
The Start Of Natural Fusion Hair Studio In Downtown Frederick
Leaving the West Coast behind was inspired by Kelly, Earl’s Fredericktonian wife. They met in California but she expressed the desire to live closer to her family. Ready for a new adventure, they spent three months on the road moving to Frederick. It was the perfect opportunity for brainstorming!
“As we were driving, we hatched out a business plan. We came up with this great idea for a salon.” Once they arrived, they found the perfect house in Downtown Frederick. The upstairs became their living quarters and the downstairs became Natural Fusion Hair Studio.
It took about a year to make it all come together. After about seven months of operating the salon, the volume of clients required the hiring of an additional staff member. “The popularity of the Studio had grown that quickly.”
Kelly does the bookkeeping, some of the backend management and accounting. “She also helps with a lot of our concepts and ideas in trying to be as ‘eco’ and ‘green’ as we possibly can,” shares Earl, “yet still fit that professional market of being an upscale hair salon.”
Natural Fusion has the knack for retaining its staff members. “I found the right people that are on the same page as us and really want to try to create a difference yet be able to create and work in a beautiful profession.”
The Biggest Challenge Of Being An Entrepreneur
Earl quickly responds, “Just figuring out the ‘ins and outs’ — one of the hard things was trying to pin down the culture and our direction. What could set us aside? There are all kinds of salons out there. I really wanted to build it from my heart.”
He continues, “The biggest challenge is being able to make it work and make it end up being successful. Not just be another ‘flash in the pan’ kind of idea that happens a lot in a lot of new businesses.
“You open up with a great idea but just don’t follow it through and, all of a sudden, that business is gone.”
Earl Would Give Himself This Advice If He Could Start Over Again
“Plan more! Get things in order before you jump in with both feet!” He explains, “When we got going, we thought we were very, very organized and really had the business plan down. But, there were a lot of things that we learned we definitely had to tighten up a little bit more.”
Earl confides that Natural Fusion is currently in the middle of another growth spurt and he’s putting what he’s learned into practice. “We’re in a development stage where we’re tightening down our game plan of how we structure the business, our skill sets and everything so we can provide the best of what we have to offer to the community.”
Natural Fusion Is Making a Difference From The Inside Out
Earl was going through some health issues at about the five-year mark of the salon. He had to completely step back from the business. However, he kept watch as the business stayed true to the mission.
“I saw how our team really came together. They stayed with our whole concept of trying to be more green. Trying to be more environmental.
“My staff starting coming up with their own concepts and ideas of everything that would really help the Studio put our vision out there of what we’re trying to do to be a little bit different.”
The well-trained team that formed under Earl’s leadership was fully capable of taking charge in a way that made him very confident and very proud.
What Resource Or App Does The “Hippie of Hair” Rely On?
This in-demand high-end Stylist isn’t going to part with his Google Calendar. It keeps him on track.
He admits that he just started playing with GQueue, a task manager that integrates with Google and GSuite. But, he’s not quite comfortable with it yet.
Earl’s Recommendation For The Entrepreneur’s Library
No Compromise Leadership by Neil Ducoff offers up some great business advice. And, yes, Natural Fusion is a business!
“A lot of people just think of a hair salon as ‘Oh, that’s just a beauty parlor.’ It’s really not just a beauty parlor.”
He adds, “It is a full functioning business corporation. We have all the same challenges and everything that every other business does.”
Are you looking for a more natural hair salon experience that’s better for you, your hair and the environment? Ready for a creative stylist to bring your idea to life? Need high-end salon services for a very special event?
Make an appointment now for a FREE CONSULTATION with any Natural Fusion Hair Studio Stylist!
246 East Sixth Street
Contents Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast Episode #072: Eric Verdi Interviews Earl Pindar