Dana Morrison, Owner of Heads & Tails Beauty Boutique

Her Campus Drexel was lucky enough to hold a great event last month to celebrate our first birthday. Our celebration included the appearance of Heads & Tails Beauty Boutique, a blow dry and waxing boutique in Rittenhouse, who made all of our attendees totally glamorous for a night out. HC Drexel didn’t know it at the time, but the owner of Heads & Tails, Dana Morrison, is a Drexel alum! Serendipity brought us together!

Morrison, who graduated in 2000 with a degree in Corporate Communications, opened Heads & Tails back in January 2012. Though blow dry salons are popular now thanks to chains like DryBar, at the time it was a revelatory idea for the Philadelphia market. Morrison and her business partner, Jenne Doyle have been friends since 7th grade and worked out their ahead-of-the-curve idea over drinks at Monk’s Café on 16th Street!

“Most people would tell you never to go into business with a friend, but she’s the main reason why I’m still considered legally sane. We’re a great team and I’m grateful she puts up with me every day,” Morrison said in an email.

Morrison may have begun working in the salon industry later in life than some, but seeing how different salons operated inspired her. “I kept thinking there’s a better way to maintain a professional work environment while making it feel comfortable enough so clients truly enjoy the experience,” she said.

Combining her idea of a blow dry bar with Doyle’s waxing salon concept allowed them to create a unique business that has been a hit ever since. Of course, any new venture requires some hard decisions and risks. Adding employees to the duo’s mix was the hardest part for Morrison. “Now we had other peoples’ livelihoods to worry about. We always want people to enjoy coming to work here, but at the end of the day we have to be sure we’re making sound business decisions so we can keep the doors open,” she said.

Morrison and Doyle have a special ritual for their continued success. Just like the first month when Heads & Tails was open and able to pay its rent, bills, and vendors, the two friends dance all over the salon to “All Fired Up” by Pat Benatar to focus on their amazing idea. “Oh, and did I mention how dorky we are?” said Morrison.

Now Morrison spends most days behind the chair, styling the hair of clients who she says feel like friends, not customers, every time they get to catch up. “I’ve met so many wonderful women over the past few years here that it rarely feels like hard work,” she said.

Though she has found her stride in her boutique, her career life was not always as satisfying. “I spent about 10 years working in a more corporate environment after Drexel but honestly, I wasn’t ever thrilled to get up and go to work every day,” she said of her life before Heads & Tails; “I knew I needed a change if I was going to have to work for the next 40 years!”

Morrison proves that sometimes your dreams and interests change over time and you don’t have to – and probably won’t – know your true path ahead of time. Despite following a different path post-graduation, Morrison knows her Drexel education has helped her every step of the way. She said, “I learned how to be an effective communicator and [I learned] organizational skills I use every day when I’m dealing with clients and vendors. There’s so much growth that happens during your college years, it’s impossible not to take the skills and lessons you acquire and implement them during your working years. You may not be doing it consciously, but it happens on a day-to-day basis.”

Growing up in South Philadelphia, Morrison did not have to travel too far for her college education but, as she said, “Drexel opened my eyes to the bigger world that exists.” By introducing her to peers from all over the U.S. who she would not have met otherwise, Drexel allowed her to expand her horizons – literally as well. While at Drexel Morrison studied abroad in London and traveled through Europe, something she’s glad to have experienced during college before working lessened her chances to get away.

As for advice, Morrison knows what she’d tell her freshman self if she had the chance: “I would tell young, fresh faced me to ease up and stop beating yourself up all the time. I have a tendency to be my own worst enemy. It’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older, because I’ve realized that as long as I can honestly say I’m working my hardest and giving any situation my best, that’s all I can do. There will always be someone smarter, funnier, thinner, or more fabulous than me. You can drive yourself crazy if you don’t come to grips with the fact that whatever you are, it’s good enough, simply because it’s you.”

But don’t worry, this successful entrepreneur has plenty of advice for your self-starting side. Surrounding yourself with people you trust in every aspect is crucial for starting your own business. You can’t do everything yourself, so you need people who will help you stay sane. “I don’t think the goal of being a business owner should ever be to be the person with all the power. That can leave you unfulfilled. Instead, I like to look at it as a team with the same core values all working toward a common goal, and in my situation, it’s to make Heads & Tails the most successful salon it can be.”

For more information on Heads & Tails Beauty Boutique, click here.