BABE #104: GWYNNE MIMS MINTER, Owner @ Gwynne Mims Salon & Gloss Goods
Gwynne is one of those women that everyone has only the nicest things to say about, and we don't doubt any of it for a second. What really sealed the deal for us, though, was her willingness to get involved with BWH and let us pick her brain right before and right after she gave birth to her son just a few weeks ago. With two businesses of her own, a ton of side projects up her sleeve and a growing family, she's the kind of woman that we aspire to be - and she somehow makes us feel like it's possible to do All The Things. Thanks so much for your time, Gwynne. You're a hustlin' babe, personified.
Babe you admire and why?
That's a no-brainer: Eva Chen. I've respected her from her days at Lucky Magazine, to when she was the beauty editor at Teen Vogue, to now as the fashion editor for Instagram. She's beauty, brains, wit, drive, and a mom of two. An OG it-girl, in my book. (She's also the reason I watch Instagram stories and don't feel bad posting so many baby pics.)
How do you spend your free time?
Running around with my 2-and-a-half-year-old daughter, cuddling with my newborn son, and flirting with my hottie husband.
Must-have item in your purse?
Ogee wipes from The Rosy Cheek in St. Augustine for a quick refresh on my face after the gym or baby spills. Also that rogue diaper and $10 bill that I needed so badly and is somehow always is in there.
What would you eat for your very last meal?
Steak tartare or a bomb-ass taco salad.
Biggest pet peeve?
The sound of a spoon stirring in a coffee mug.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
It’s not glamorous, but my best friend Stephen who lives in New York. We had coffee together almost every morning for six years, and I miss it!
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Italy, eating a bowl of Caccio e Pepe the size of my head.
What game/reality show would you win?
Oh god, none of them. I don’t have a competitive spirit.
What’s one thing you wish you knew more about?
Architecture and interiors.
Weird beauty tutorials—the ones with crazy manicures and contouring, or terrible updos set to awful music. If I’m stressed out, I go to the Caboodles Facebook page (don’t ask; I don’t know why I follow them, but I do) and go down a black hole of weird beauty tutorials for hours.
What's something most don't know about you?
I can’t swim and I have social anxiety.
Tell us about your hustle:
I am the Owner and Stylist at Gwynne Mims Salon, as well as Owner, Buyer and Creative Director at Gloss Goods, a lifestyle and apothecary boutique. Both are based in Five Points - Jacksonville, FL, right around the corner from one another.
What does your typical workday look like?
It changes by the day, with the constant adjust/adapt that comes with not only owning the businesses (and leading the teams) but with two kids and hundreds of clients in the books. I have to be able to pivot on a dime. When the stars align, though, it goes something like this: I wake up, nurse my son, and whip up some breakfast for my family. Next, get the kids dressed. (I let Brinkley pick out her outfits most days, which is hysterical. You can see a lot of them on her Instagram hashtag #hellobrinkley.) Then, throw on workout clothes. (I try and work out at least three times a week. It’s the only way I manage my anxiety successfully. I have an amazing trainer who’s somehow taught me that I can love being in the gym.) If time permits and my first client at the salon isn't too early, I take an hour and sit at BREW, drink a green tea, and get some office work done. Since I'm behind the chair four to five days a week, I have to cram keeping books, making orders, hunting for new lines for Gloss Goods, returning the 500 calls I miss in a week, and managing the businesses in these short bursts. It's not ideal, but somehow it's working.
Have you always had a love for beauty? Did you always plan on focusing your career around it?
Always, yes. Since middle school, I wanted to do hair. I decided to take the leap and dive in after college and a year in the workforce when the itch hadn't gone away.
Similarly, when did you know you wanted to open your own salon?
I decided to open a salon when I moved back home to Jacksonville. I’d been doing hair in New York for almost a decade when I came back and was still going back up for clients every six to eight weeks. I had some conversations with salons here in town that were all really wonderful, but I felt hesitant. It was time to plant roots, and my thought was that if I was going to start over, I may as well really start over. I had the money saved, the time to spend, a good support system at home with my then-fiance, and the technical ability and creative drive, so I took the leap. Man, am I glad I did.
When did you get the idea for Gloss Goods, and what pushed you to take that leap?
To be honest, the space came first. One day after closing the salon I was walking over towards Alewife in Five Points when I saw the “for lease” sign going up on the store. I called right away and essentially negotiated the lease, and locked down the space before fully knowing what would live there. I just knew I needed to do right by it. When you walk in, it's like being in another city. So tiny, so perfect, and such good energy. Granted, when the keys were handed over it was a dark, ratty old space that had to be completely gutted out, but the vibes were there. There’s something magical about creating environments that I'm addicted to.
Did you ever expect to own and manage multiple businesses?
No way! But that's how life goes, right? If you can't find what you want, sometimes you just have to make it yourself, which is what I did with both businesses—filled a void myself.
What are your work environments/cultures like?
I take work culture very, very seriously. Building a team is an art and a total game of chance. I trust my gut when hiring; it’s all about feeling. In the salon, since we’re all together in one space every day, we focus a lot on team building, communication, and R-E-S-P-E-C-T. There's a cycle of energy in all things; the give and take has to balance, regardless of where that employee stands in the hierarchy. At Gloss, it’s all about the vibe and what these women can bring to the table. Since I’m at the salon most of the time, I trust our “Gossip Girls” (wink, wink) to treat the store as if it's their own. I have pages of interview questions, but basically I'm just trying to suss out if someone is cool, honest, and gives a shit.
How do you manage all of your responsibilities? Have you always been organized or is it something you’ve learned with time?
I have a lot of strengths; organization isn't exactly one of them, but we all have areas that we can improve, and I’m trying. To be honest, the only way it works is because I have an incredible team. That’s why my number-one responsibility is keeping my team happy. If the team is happy, everyone can carry their weight. If everyone carries their weight, I can focus on my tasks. Cesiney, who manages operations of both businesses, is my left and right hand. She’s my boss, really. Without her, I don't even know if the lights would be on. Then we have Jamie, who’s my assistant at the salon. She keeps me on schedule, fed, and hydrated, knows the ins and outs of every service with my clients, and helps me remember where I am and what-the-fuck day it is.
What do you look for in applicants/interviewees when building your teams? What do you not look for?
Kindness, taste, and humor. It’s less about skill and more about aesthetic. I’m one of those old-school believers that anyone can learn to do hair. It’s a craft and it takes time, but the difference between good and incredible is their personal taste. You can’t teach that.
How would you say being a woman has affected your professional experience?
You wouldn't guess it, but beauty is a male-dominated field. The stamina it takes and the competitive nature lends itself to be. However, there is so much power in femininity. My family and mentors brought this up to me, and I've built a career out of being unabashedly feminine. There's also the simple fact that by being a woman, I know women. I know my audience and customer.
What's the gender ratio like in your industry? Do you see it evolving?
There's a major shift happening right now; in a lot of industries, actually. I read an article a while back that said we're entering into a “new, pink economy,” and it resonated with me. Beauty’s big shots in the 80s through the early 2000s were [part of] an East Coast boy’s club. Every cover and every celebrity were styled by one of the same five men, it feels like. Now, we have these female power players on the scene, especially on the West Coast. These women aren't only setting trends and creating some incredible looks, but creating brands and businesses on their wave of success as well.
What are some common misconceptions about your job(s)?
That, as “my own boss,” I have flexibility and freedom. I have a lot of things in this wonderful life, but neither of those are one of them.
What would your advice be for other Jacksonville locals who are looking to start a business?
We’re lucky to live in a larger city that operates like a small town. Word travels very, very quickly. This can go one of two ways for you, but if you work hard, bring a fresh perspective, treat people well, and stay committed, the community is very receptive, and you'll build your base faster than your business plan lays out.
What kind of support system do you have behind you and your work?
The ground I stand on is held up by my incredible husband. Never once has he let me doubt myself, my talent, or the growth potential of one of my projects.
What would you say is your biggest strength in your roles?
Honesty, commitment, and putting my employees first. I’ll let you know in 10 years if that’s the right fiscal decision, but it definitely helps me sleep at night.
What’s your ultimate dream job?
The ones I have.
What motivates and inspires you?
The movers and shakers. I love being surrounded by people with grit who work hard, dream big, and ultimately just do the damn thing.
What does success look like to you?
In this phase of my career, happy employees.
How do you find a work-life balance?
I think this whole “work-life balance” thing is a myth. It's funny: If you’d asked me three years ago why I was leaving New York, that was the reason. I was on the hunt for this elusive beast. Turns out I moved to a sleepier locale, but ended up working and living even more. I think the key is staying present in whatever task you’re currently committed to. If your mind wanders to the personal when you’re being professional, and vice versa, maybe it's the universe and your heart letting you know that your time needs to be reassigned.
What helps you wind down and manage stress?
Peace and quiet. I’m an introvert in a very extroverted industry. I love driving home in a quiet car with the windows open, letting the day blow off of me so I can walk into my home refreshed and ready to focus on family.
What’s next for you?
[Launching] e-commerce for Gloss, and—I might be about 15 years late to this party—I’d like to start a blog.
What are your goals for the future?
To grow what we have, to build my business acumen, and devote more time behind the scenes and in the books.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
At the end of the day, the ball is in your court, and you’ve got to make the moves you want to make. Timing is never perfect, resources are never adequate, and time is always thin (and if not, then there's really no excuse!) Success comes in so many different packages; even “failures” are victories in their own way. My mother raised me to live in the headspace of asking, "what would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" It's an invaluable lesson. I used to see it as a confidence builder, a sense of false hope. As I've grown into myself as a woman, an artist, an entrepreneur, and a mother, I've realized that failure ain't no thang. It's just not something I do because it's not something I even define.
In partnership with: StringStrangStrung
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