Thursday, April 24, 2008

Julep Downtown - Coming Together!

We passed our inspection today! (Thanks Kirk & Mitch from Wilcox!!).

Our general inspection was delayed because we initially failed our fire inspection because our strobes or horns or both were not powerful enough, so we had to get our electrician back to change the wiring, but the fire alarm guys did not show up as planned yesterday to test the system, so we were flying blind in our general inspection. And that's not the half of it.

It's amazing how many details have to come together for us to open! Amy has been interviewing and hiring up a storm on the vernisseur front. Kate M. has been managing dozens of suppliers, bringing doughnuts where possible. Mary Lee has been hitting every store in Seattle, shopping for vernisseur baskets, trash cans, office supplies, mirrors, benches and more (while also working as a parlor hostess!). Jeanne orchestrated all of this to work by stressing about it months ago, and Lisa has been preparing for immersion. Lisa, Kate G and Angelina have been preparing training materials, and Angelina and Lisa have been working on our retail products. And Danielle's been making sure our suppliers are paid, while Anna and Patience are continuing to support and nourture our first parlor.

LOTS of hard work has gone into bringing the Julep experience to more women. And just tonight, a group of businesswomen walked by our new parlor and started dancing in excitement. (We're not even making that up, either!). That guest excitement is what makes this all worthwhile!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Slice of life

Tomorrow I am working on:

- Getting 2 investors their documents to sign
- Getting together with my broker, Tracy Cornell, for our weekly drive around to look for new locations
- Figuring out what to do about a location on the East Side
- Coordinating getting decals on our windows downtown
- Finishing writing our front desk new menu training (which we're holding Sunday night, for exciting new menu that will be launched on Tuesday)
- Having lunch with Scott Staff and a colleague of his at Purple
- Checking in with Kari and Jennifer at Marketing Alchemist
- Checking in with Kate G for our weekly one on one
- Figuring out how to implement our call center (and purchasing the phones we need to do that)
- Looking at our Immersion Binder to figure out what we need to add to make it better
- Hopefully accepting delivery of the first batch of our new menus!!!
- Taking my mom out for her birthday!

Chris at Dovetail

Here's Chris at Dovetail, who's building our new transaction plane, manicure bar table, sink cabinets, and, most incredibly, an awesome all-in-one manicure table / drink table / purse holder / pedicure cart solution. All designed by the crazy talented Jennifer Thuma - with lots of live input from all of our team, but especially Amy and Lisa. Thank you Chris, for working so hard on our project - and for weathering all our constant changes and occasional tears.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Weekly Manager Meetings

Here's a teeny picture of the interior wall turned gun-metal grey (from Kate's phone camera). And the rest of the walls painted buterry.

And the new parlor is not the only thing that's been moving forward in leaps and bounds!

We now have an official Julep Manager Resource Guide, 2008, which pulls together all of the information, tools and processes we've been developing over the past 10 months. We've been taking some time each Wednesday to meet with the manager teams from our first parlor, and our new downtown parlor (and one new location that we'll announce soon . .. ).

For those of you who have been at the parlor, wondering what the heck all the "Manager Meeting" blockouts are for, here's the inside look.

Over the past few weeks, we've been sitting in rather uncomfortable (but free!) chairs in our Support Center office, taking the time to pull together, improve and share everything we know about how to support you better. In particular, we've covered the PURPOSE, and HOW-TOs of:
- Strengthening and Sharing Julep's Mission and Values
- Delivering Memorably Outstanding Customer Service
- Staff Development, Management and Career Paths
- Optimizing Parlor Performance
- Cash Management
- Inventory Management
- Facilities Management
Jeanne created an tabbed binder that breaks down each of these areas into "Daily," "Weekly," and "As Needed" responsibilities. Then we have the specific goals, metrics, tools, reports, processes and forms in each relevant section. (I was her hole puncher and binder organizer, and I was so amazed by all the rich material! And my hand hurt by the end). It's all what each team makes of it, but we were trying our hardest to enable smoother, more predictable expectations going forward - especially as we launch additional parlors.
We've also had great debates about what Julep IS (passion for touch, job that feeds your soul, passion for the environment, growth, opportunity, openness to be creative, openness to new ideas, team work, customer service driven, excited, asking instead of telling, accountabiltiy, integrity, honesty, authenticity, walking the talk, pride in our work), what Julep IS NOT (first one out the door, dispassionate, artificial (nails or personality), soley money motivated, selfish, "solo artist," chop shop, "because I said so").
And then we've created and shared staffing tools (where I got to dust off my advanced excel skills), goals and metrics. We've created a mentorship program for new team members, as well as a new immersion program.

I'm so proud of what we are today - but it's exciting to think about what we're going to be a month from now.

Of course, it's frightening. We're about to more than double in size. And we're thinking explicitly about how to do this while preserving what is great about our culture and work environment, and strenghening it in areas where we needed to develop.

Like therapy, I think it's powerful to name and detail out our fears. They are justified! And only then we can plan around how to avoid these potential pitfalls.