Having owned two salons and travelled the world with Redken to educate hair stylists, Peter Valenti has once again ventured into salon ownership with Changes, a full-service salon located on Route 111 in Smithtown.
Reflecting on his past ownership experiences and comparing them to owning and operating Changes, Valenti said the differences are simple but integral to becoming established as a top salon.
"[Changes has] a little more focus, [and is] a little more education oriented," he said. "There's set guidelines where before I opened the doors and I thought people were going to walk in and it was going to become a success, but business requires a bit more than that."
Valenti described Changes -- which opened Sept. 26, 2010 -- as a current, urban setting, similar to what you'd find in a Manhattan salon, but relaxed and free of pretentiousness. The salon owner said many of his city-working clients preferred to have their hair cut and styled in a Manhattan salon before Changes opened for the ambiance and quality of the hair styling, something he strives to give them here in Smithtown.
"I worked in Manhattan for many years, I understand that mentality," he said. There's no reason you can't have it out here."
Prior to opening Changes, Valenti owned two salons -- one in Stony Brook and one in Selden. While owning the two salons Valenti worked for Redken, travelling around the world to teach colorists and stylists how to color hair. Working for Redken took a toll on his business, so Valenti closed one location and later sold the other.
His longtime affiliation with the company allowed for Changes to become a Redken Elite Concept Salon, which has plenty of perks. According to Valenti, Redkin helps with educating his staff, offering new products to and in the salon, promoting the salon and more.
The biggest difference responsible for the success of Changes compared to his past two salons is finding ways to help his staff grow to become the best stylists in the industry. "If they grow, you grow," he said.
"Everyone I find is very friendly with each other, very outgoing," said Kerri Marx, receptionist with Changes since June. "Everyone is willing to help each other out, very open with each other."
Valenti shares Marx's adoration of the Changes staff.
"We have a great team ... there's a common goal, everyone knows what's required of them," he said. "They know what to do without having to be asked. My goal is to make them feel as if it's [the salon] is there's as well as mine."