Starting a new business is always a challenge. Starting a new business at age 60 can be an even greater challenge. Developing an entirely new type of business from the ground up, well that’s something only a “Savvy Senior” would do!

It’s exactly what Sali Caquelyn of Wheatridge, Colorado has been up to for the last year and a half. She saw a need in the marketplace and instead of just saying to friends, “Wouldn’t an on-site salon for boomers, seniors and those with disabilities, be a great idea?” She actually went out and did it.

I managed to meet up with Sali at a local coffee shop while she took a break between appointments and she told me a little bit about herself and her new business.

A Successful Career

lagunaSali discovered very early in life what her vocation would be for the next forty years. After receiving her cosmetology degree from Lane Beauty Academy in 1975 at the age of 21, she began a successful career as a hair stylist.

Her career included working with photographers from Ladies’ Home Journal, working behind the scenes of many television shows, including the Regis Philbin Show, Eye on L.A., and even having a beauty segment of her own on the show, Laguna Tonight. She’s met some of the most influential stylists in the world, including Paul Mitchell and eventually worked with one of Mitchell’s associates in Boulder.

Throughout her career as a hair stylist, Sali continued her education, receiving two associate degrees, including a degree in Multimedia. The valuable lessons she learned earning that degree, would come in very handy just at the time she thought she was retiring in 2013.

That’s When Sali Had an Idea…

While visiting her mother in assisted living, Sali began to think about the need for someone to go out to people’s homes, hospitals and retirement homes to do women’s hair. This would be especially valuable for those who could not regularly visit a salon, whether it was across town or just down the hall.

She bounced the idea off others in her profession but received little encouragement from her peers. Undeterred, Sali began researching the idea online and could find no one who was advertising the level of service she was willing to offer her customers.

In March of 2014, Have Salon Will Travel was born.

Bringing the Idea to Fruition

There was a lot to get in place, but having forty years of hair styling experience, coupled with a firm knowledge of graphic design she had acquired at college, she was able to create her brand, design marketing materials and develop a website on her own. Perhaps one of the most useful set of skills she would draw upon for this new venture, however, was five years’ experience as an advocate for seniors.

Utilizing SCORE

When Sali first got started, she contacted the Small Business Administration who referred her to SCORE. SCORE offers small business start-ups advice and mentoring from retired executives and former business owners.

“Through the SBA I found SCORE, they have all kinds of classes, they would bring in people in advertising, marketing, branding, social media…you could really learn a lot and walk away with printed materials and great ideas, and you can get your own mentor.”

Time to Start Telling the World

Having purchased her equipment, printed her marketing material and created her website, it didn’t take long before the phone started ringing.

“A lot of people who reach me are boomers who are seeking help for their parent… People are really, really appreciative, in fact one of the things I love about what I’m doing is when I walk in the door, people are ecstatic that they have found somebody that will come to them …I don’t have any unhappy customers!”

Offering Dignity & Independence

sali_workingSali went on to describe a couple of her clients including an 87 year old man who has just undergone heart surgery. She’ll be giving him a pedicure in the coming days. She spoke of an elderly woman who, confined to a bed, hadn’t had her hair styled, let alone washed, in a long time. She was thrilled after receiving a shampoo, haircut and style.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for Sali to receive hugs and kisses from her clients, or even a bushel of apples! “It’s something, I love these older people,” explained Sali, “they all have a story.”

While many of Sali’s clients are in assisted living facilities, others still live in their own homes and are in desperate need of services to come to them if they are to remain independent.

More than Just a Hair Cut & Style

As our interview was wrapping up and Sali prepared to head off to her next client, she leaned toward me and said, “This is important: When I go in to do somebody’s hair … I will always have a conversation with people, particularly if they’re alone, ‘Are you getting everything you need, do you need resources…if you need something, if you need somebody to clean, if you need someone to run an errand, I know people, please contact me and I will hook you up with who you need.”

With that kind of attitude, I have no doubt that her business will be a thriving success!

You can visit Sali Caquelyn’s website at: Have Salon Will