What’s not to love about working at Phenix Salon Suites?
That’s the feeling of stylist Courtney Knight, who’s worked at Phenix since it opened in Colorado Springs more than six years ago.
She likes having her own space, separated by walls, to offer her clients “undivided, pampered attention,” Knight said.
Phenix Salon Suites operates with a different business model: Instead of a traditional hair salon that’s one large open room with many different stations, Phenix offers each of its stylists a room of his or her own. Each suite has a door that can be closed for privacy.
Stylists rent the room by the month.
“I like the privacy,” said Stylist Jacquie Wilson. “My clients are able to speak openly” without concerns that others will overhear their conversation.
“Also, the owners are pretty great,” Wilson said.
The owners, Jason and Gina Rivera, launched the first Phenix Salon in 2003, expanding to Phenix Salon Suites in 2007. Since then, they have franchised 42 locations throughout 10 states. In addition, they own eight individual salon suites.
Individual stylists, “come in and run their own business,” said Jason Rivera.
Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Phenix Salon Suites 352nd among the top 500 franchises in the United States for 2014. In 2013, it ranked 67th in the magazine’s top 75 new franchises. “That’s huge, said Jason Rivera. “That’s the Who’s Who. We were ahead of Hooters and Wyndham.
“To do that in just under two years is just a great accomplishment to our brand and everyone who believes in the brand,” Jason Rivera said.
The owners hope to have 80 franchise stores open by the end of summer and 100 by the end of the year.
Each location offers varying services, including traditional hair styling and coloring, botox, permanent makeup, cosmetic tattooing, chemical peels, massage, nails, teeth whitening, barber services, and more.
Included in the monthly rent is liability insurance, utilities and equipment. Stylists can decorate their suites to suit their personalities. Also included in the rent, which averages $185 a week, is free training.
“We have an education team that’s in Denmark now,” learning the latest trends in the industry, Jason Rivera said. “Europe is the capital of hair.” Once the education team returns, its stylists will give free training to stylists at Phenix throughout the United States, all paid for by the Riveras.
The company earned $20 million in revenue last year, Jason Rivera said. For the past two years, revenue has doubled annually, he added.
Jason Rivera said the business is rolling out new products early this year after four years in the making.
The signature product will be Ash by Phenix, a product that will add volume to hair, Jason Rivera said.
“Everyone wants to add volume to their hair,” he said. The product has been tested in stores and is currently in its packaging phase.
The company’s Facebook page features other items, such as Phenix Souffle, a “luxury salt scrub,” which also will be introduced early this year. Also new, Glove by Phenix is an anti-aging hand lotion.
The products are being endorsed by model and former World Wrestling Entertainment diva Torrie Wilson.
A portion of the money from the sale of the product lines will go to a foundation named for the Riveras’ youngest son — the Priest James Foundation seeks to raise money and awareness for cancer research.
“Our mission is to build a network of education, hope, passion and vision for cancer patients and their families,” the Facebook page said.
It was inspired by Gina Rivera’s mother’s battle with pancreatic cancer. She died Dec. 9, 2009.
The company stresses family. On a recent day at the company’s Briargate location, Gina Rivera’s father, Larry Peneschi, 72, was cutting and styling hair, and the Riveras’ children, Priest, 7, and Phenix, 10, were helping their mom and dad.
“We’ve been blessed,” Jason Rivera said. “We keep our priorities straight.
“You make God and family your business, and never make business your God and family,” Jason Rivera said. “Never focus so much on the business that it takes away from family priorities.”
The company’s Facebook page has photos of their son’s football championship team as well as information about the foundation.
Gina Rivera wasn’t new to styling; her parents owned salons, and her family’s experience in the salon field spans 75 years, including 25 hair stylists who have owned and operated salons and beauty schools.
Gina Rivera followed in the family business, and started by sweeping up hair in her father’s salon. Born in Amarillo, Texas, and raised in Colorado Springs, she attended beauty school after graduating from high school. The Riveras named the business after their oldest son, Phenix, who was born six weeks before they launched the business in 2007.
Before their son was born and they were considering names, Jason Rivera’s best friend’s name was Reno, “and we thought that was cool to have a name [the same] as a city,” he said. “Gina thought to drop the “o” to give it some distinctiveness.”
Phenix Salon Suites
Info: 1747 Briargate Blvd., 260-7508
In business: since 2003
Number of franchises: 42; eight owned by the Riveras
Number of employees: 60