We had the good fortune of connecting with Meagan Kuharski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Meagan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My story differs from most that start their own businesses. I started working at SalonTrose in 2019 and was asked to take over the business in 2022 by the founder, Traci Burke. I had very little time to prepare to switch to ownership, but I feel as if I fell into the role pretty quickly. I’m grateful every day that Traci chose me to take over SalonTrose. I have loved our little house, and salon family since day one. We definitely are different from all the rest.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career started in the pre-historic era of no social media. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, none of it existed. I started doing hair during a recession, back in 2007. My first paycheck was less than $35. When I started I was very young, 19 years old, I was at the mercy of the wind back then. I wasn’t responsible, I was impatient and lazy. I say this, because I feel like I read so many stories that start off with stylists mentoring under influencers, or celebrity hairstylists, and my story is the complete opposite. I had very few stylist mentors, I never assisted, I was forced to stay behind the front desk for years after I should have been on the floor. Looking back, my first move to a Houston salon in 2012 was when my career really took off. I started working as an “assistant” at a salon in River Oaks called Hairitage, and I blossomed there. The owner Jackie Byars had slowly stopped taking new clients and was passing them down to me. Within a year I had an almost full clientele. I worked at Hairitage for 3 years before the property the salon was on was sold, don’t we love Houston zoning laws, and the historical house was sold to the City of Houston. From there I bounced around at multiple different salons for a few years until I ran across SalonTrose on Instagram and stalked them until they responded to my application.
SalonTrose has given me everything I ever hoped for in a salon home. As a stylist, I was encouraged to grow, to succeed, to explore new avenues in the industry. It’s an environment that every stylist deserves. Never in a million years did I think my drive and passion would be noticed in the capacity that it has been.
Sitting down with Traci Burke at Postino that day to talk about the future of the salon, I just started crying. For almost two years prior I had worked three jobs, almost 32 days in a row, all to save money to purchase my first home. I had paid to have my credit repaired, I had saved half of my paycheck for months. All of my hard work had been noticed, and was being rewarded. I actually wasn’t even ready to purchase a home. The universe knew what I really wanted, but didn’t feel I deserved. I hadn’t ever felt truly proud of myself, but that day, I knew I deserved everything I had manifested for myself.
As an owner, I now have the ability to advocate with a bigger voice for the LGBTQ+ community, to provide jobs for my community. I also will continue to offer a working environment that is safe for ALL, that is encouraging and compassionate. A place where my staff and stylists can succeed, can make a sustainable income, they can go on vacations, get married, purchase homes, they can SAVE. In a world where being successful is contingent on who you are and who you know, I want to provide a environment where everyone can grow, no matter who you are, where you came from or who you know. If you know me, you will succeed, that’s my promise as small business owner.
Living in Houston, there is an abundance of places to eat/drink/run/walk/shop. We have it all. You could eat at a different place every single day for a year for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and still not go to the same place twice. My absolute faves are El Tiempo, Candente, Backstreet Cafe, Burger Joint, Dish Society, Lucilles, Nancys Hustle, Postino, Brasil and Max’s Wine Dive. Happy hour is great at Julep, and Boheme.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I feel like this is the moment where I’m winning my first Academy Award and I only have 45 seconds to list everyone. One person that deserves the title of mentor is the founder of SalonTrose, Traci Burke. Without her, I would have lost my mind on day one. Her support, honesty, rawness and direction are the reason I own SalonTrose today, and have my head on straight. She’s uplifting, incredibly decisive and is always 10 steps ahead when making business decisions. I strive every day to run SalonTrose consistently and lovingly like she did.