Beauty Launchpad is spotlighting the winners of its Top 20 Salons contest for 2024.
Here, Bobby and Kayla Thompson introduce us to Thompson & Company Salon Parlor in Iowa City, Iowa, founded in April 2015.
Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What is the backstory of your salon? What motivated you to start your business?
Kayla Thompson (KT): We were both working in separate salons for about seven years before we decided to open Thompson & Co. We had just had our 2nd child, Bobby was traveling a bit with the salon he was at and we were just looking to set our roots here in Iowa City. We have great respect for where we started. We were just looking to create something unique to us. We had a vision of combining the old school parlor and salon into one cohesive space, where everyone who walks into Thompson & Co feels confident in our space.
BLP: What was the most challenging thing that happened while opening your salon?
KT: The most challenging thing when opening was having a vision of this old school parlor area, mixed with a modern salon and not knowing if the guests would interpret, share or buy into the vision we had. We can’t touch every guest, so relaying that concept and idea with our team allowed them to translate that to the guests.
BLP: What is the overall aesthetic of your salon? What inspired you when designing the space?
KT: The salon is very open concept, not too big by design. It is a mix of an old school parlor area on one side and a more modern salon on the other. Our waiting area is in the middle of the salon. Sometimes getting your hair cut/colored can be intimidating or uncomfortable. It was our goal to create a space where a guest can be immersed into the process, making sure they know they are welcome and a part of our family. Black and white tones run throughout the salon with pops of color through artwork. Our parlor area is a little more eclectic. We have shelving with gifts from guests over the years that we love to display and create wonderful conversation pieces.
BLP: What services do you provide your clients? Are any of these services signature and/or exclusive to your salon?
KT: We are a full service hair salon: cutting, coloring, smoothing treatments, extensions and styling. We do offer facial waxing as well. Something unique to Thompson & Co is our monthly membership. It is a monthly fee that allows you to come in up to twice a month for edging, beard or bang trims.
BLP: What products are used/retailed in your salon? Do you have a personal favorite?
KT: At Thompson & Company Iowa City, we retail Oligo Professional Hair Care, ARROJO and our personal favorite is our Thompson & Co Advance Hair Care. We work with private label companies to create products that are unique to us and we feel will best suit our guests wants and needs, based on their feedback as well.
BLP: What makes your salon unique and stand out?
KT: Something that makes us standout as a salon is our willingness to give back and be active members of our community. We love to donate our time and talent to many different organizations in our community, and it is something we are very passionate about our stylists getting involved with as well.
BLP: What takeaway do you hope clients have after a visit at your salon?
KT: We want every guest of Thompson & Co to feel better when they leave than when they walked in. Of course, we always want them to love their hair, but we are looking to create a bit more of an experience than just that. We want to create a space where they feel relaxed, safe, beautiful and exude confidence both inside and out.
BLP: What piece of advice would you give to a new salon owner?
KT: One piece of advice I would give a new salon owner is never say no to any opportunity. Also, the more you give, the more you will receive.
BLP: What’s next for your salon? Do you have any goals for the year?
KT: We just opened our second location in 2023 in the corridor of Iowa City. We were able to do that with two former stylists of Thompson & Co Iowa City coming on as part owners of Thompson & Co Crosspark. We believe in the model of giving our staff the opportunity to step into new roles if they are looking to do so, and we are excited to see what the future brings with that.