Annie Alaimo (left), a co-owner of Culture Hair Studio in Mt. Airy, combs the hair of a client as her business partner, Rachel Flynn, looks on.

by Sue Ann Rybak

Culture Hair Studio, a multicultural hair salon nestled in the heart of Mt. Airy, was named in the January 2013 edition of Salon Today magazine, the trade journal for spas and salons, as one of the 200 best salons in the country.

Salons were honored by the magazine in 11 different best-business categories, including advanced education, compensation and benefits, customer service, environmental sustainability, philanthropy, planned profitability, recruitment and training, retail and merchandising, retention and referral programs, technology and growth.

Culture Hair Studio was honored for the category growth.

“The salons named to the Salon Today 200 for 2013 not only proved they excel in one or more of these areas, they also have created rewarding environments for their staff members and standout experiences for their clients,” said Stacey Soble, editor-in-chief of Salon Today, in a statement. “Their willingness to share their success offers our readers important business benchmarks and inspirational sales-building ideas.”

Rachel Flynn, of Abington, co-owner of the salon at 7201 Germantown Ave., said she and her business partner, Annie Alaimo, of Ambler, were elated to be selected as a winner.

“It is such a great accomplishment for our team to be honored in our industry,” Flynn said.

Flynn said she began her business in February 2005 “on a wing and a prayer.”

“Recently divorced, and the mother of two small boys, I set my hopes high and took a leap of faith,” Flynn said.

She said that when they first opened the salon, they had a part-time receptionist and two stylists, including herself. Since then they have moved to a bigger location and have expanded the staff to nine stylists, two associate stylists, one assistant and a full-time front-desk coordinator.

In 2008, Flynn hired a salon consultant to help the business survive the recession.

“I know I had to ask for guidance from someone who had the expertise to help our salon not only stay above water during this time but to continue to grow,” Flynn said. “It turned out to be one of the best decisions I would make as a salon owner. Her knowledge, training and experience has proven to help me grow Culture through the toughest of economic times.”

She said the studio’s revenue has grown 117 percent since opening in 2005. In January 2009, the salon developed a universal system for every aspect of its business.

“The systems are based on the principle that in order to be successful in our careers, we must be conscious during the entire guest experience from start to finish,” Flynn said. “We have a plan to educate and offer to everyone who sits in our chair.”

She said Mt. Airy has always been a neighborhood “rich in artistic and cultural diversity.”

“Our multicultural theme was embraced by this welcoming community with open arms,” Flynn said.

“It has proven to be the perfect setting for us to break through the exhausted concept that women and men of different ethnicities must go to hair salons that specialize in their particular hair type. Our stylists are trained to do all hair, regardless of texture, density or color. In examination of our philosophy, I believe we have successfully bridged this gap.”

She said that thanks to the continued support of residents of Mt. Airy and surrounding neighbors, “Culture Hair Studio has not only grown during this recession but actually thrived.”

The owners and staff at Culture Hair Studio credit their continued success to building strong relationships with clients and businesses in the area. In January, Alaimo, became Flynn’s business partner.

“Something that makes us really excited is making our guests feel like they are part of our family,” said Alaimo, who has been doing hair for more than nine years. “We understand that people have busy lives and need an outlet to relax and be pampered. We love being able to provide our guests with a service where they leave looking and feeling more beautiful than when they arrived.”

For more information, contact Culture Hair Studio at 215-242-1314.