We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelle Neff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelle, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
I am a big proponent of combining spirituality and business in the workplace. Without one, you can’t have the other. I have been working with a spiritual mentor on a personal/business level for over ten years, which has changed my life. I have learned that the only person in your way is YOU. That’s a hard pill to swallow, I know. The minute you change your way of thinking on a spiritual/energetic level is the minute your life will take a shift. Another lesson is that we all have our own pie. When my pie is building up, it’s never taking away from yours, and vice versa. The opposite is true. The more you surround yourself with people that are building up their own “pie,” the more abundance will follow you. I also believe I am 1000x more successful because I integrate spiritual/mindful practices. One example is we have two yearly retreats at our salon company led by Rebecca Hamm, an intuitive healer who is the Founder of the One Center in Austin, Texas. We focus on being mindful of one another, learning that we are mirrors of each other, and how to expand and get into alignment with our higher selves. It has shifted the entire culture of our company. We practice being happy for others when they do well and excel! When you put negative energy towards others whom you perceive as having the things that you want, you block those very things from coming to you. Your life and your abundance will always be a reflection of your attitude, energy, and desires.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I began my journey as an entrepreneur first as an employee in the salon industry. I knew from a young age that I wanted to do hair. At the age of sixteen, I enrolled in Cosmetology school at my high school. During my junior and senior years of high school (1993-1995), I attended a half-days of regular classes and a half-day of Cosmetology school. When I received my license in 1995, I started working behind the chair at Supercuts. I slowly worked my way up the ladder to high-end salons. Five years later, I got a small suite at the Gallery of Salons and was an independent contractor. That was my first stepping stone to running my own business. I was all by myself for the first week when I opened Urban Betty Salon and had only one hairstylist/contractor for the first three months. I didn’t hire my first employee until six months after opening. Everything that I did behind the chair paid for the entire salon and my household. It was a very stressful situation. After having one employee, I learned that it was much more profitable to have employees rather than booth rental/contracted hairstylists. After about six years, I slowly phased out all of my hairstylists that were contractors and transitioned to a 100% commission-based salon. We have now successfully grown Urban Betty’s revenue year after year and today we have a space that houses more than 60 employees. So successful was the first location that I opened the second Urban Betty Salon in February of 2019.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a homebody/introvert at heart. However, I do love to get out and visit restaurants, shop, see movies, and move around, aka exercise. The first thing my best friend and I would do is visit the Domain. I am an admitted Nordstrom addict, and I will use any excuse to visit there. Once in The Domain, I like to hit up the Frye Store. This store is where I purchase about 90% of my shoes and handbags. I also love to visit Cb2, their home furnishing is my exact dream aesthetic, and I would like to have my house stacked full of their furniture. A few of my other stops in the Domain are Lush, Brandy Melville, and Free People. Next is eating out! I prefer foods from all around the globe. I usually frequent or have delivered the same food month over month! I also would require my best friend to try all of these and lucky for me; she usually enjoys them too. Favorite Chinese: Din Ho Chinese BBQ. Favorite Ramen: Ramen Tatsuya. Favorite Tacos: Veracruz All Natural. Favorite Ethiopian: Asters. Best Pizza in the WORLD: Homeslice. I’m a Pisces, so I love anything to do with water. In Austin, we are lucky to have Barton Springs. Lady Bird Lake, and Lake Travis. I usually prefer going out on a boat and hang out all day. You can throw in an anchor and float around. It’s the best! I’m also a massive fan of movies, and the only place I will go to is the Alamo Drafthouse. It combines everything I love, a good film, hamburgers, pizzas, and queso! I usually don’t order those all at the same time, but it’s never too late to try. So between a day of shopping, eating at all the best local restaurants, swimming and going to the movies, I think it would be a fantastic week for anyone.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Yes! I’m going to give credit to my spiritual mentor, Rebecca Hamm, whom I mentioned earlier. I met with her once a week for the first five years after I opened my business. I am down to every other week now. When you are an entrepreneur, you always need someone in your corner who can call you on your B.S. in a gentle way. She does that for me. She has helped me to overcome my ego and become a boss in every sense of the word.
Photos by Thanin Viriyaki