A family affair: Three generations of women keep salon growing


Clara Olson never planned to be a cosmetologist. Neither did her daughter, Lisa Heinrichs, or Lisa's daughter, Carley Yeats.

But now all three women are licensed cosmetologists and work together at Hair Profiles Salon and Day Spa, owned by Olson.

The salon, located on Fifth Avenue, has been in business for 48 years. Heinrichs joined her mother in 1994, while Yeats came on board in 2012.

Growing up, Olson would have her daughter's help with her salon. Though Heinrichs grew up around cosmetology, she never had any desire to enter the field herself. But eventually that changed.

"She had (career aptitude) testing when she was in high school," Olson said. "She came home and cosmetology was at the top of the list. I laughed so hard."

When Yeats decided to follow in her mother and grandmother's footsteps, Olson had no plans to hire her.

"I told Carley I was not going to hire her," Olson said. "I thought she should work for someone else, learn their way. But then some staff members left, and I thought, 'She might as well learn from Grandma.'"

Working with family can create an odd dynamic at times, according to Olson. But Yeats says her grandmother does a good job of balancing her roles.

"My grandma is really good at being grandma and being boss," she said. "She's the boss out here, but if I'm having a bad day and we're in the break room, she's grandma."

However, Heinrich and Yeats both admit that Heinrichs has a harder time turning off mom mode.

"It's hard to be a co-worker versus being mom sometimes," Heinrichs said.

For Yeats, working with her family soon after she graduated from cosmetology school has been rewarding and educational.

"I feel that I've grown and I'm better now, too," she said. "I've learned so much from my grandma."

Olson agrees, and says she hasn't regretted hiring her granddaughter.

"I see a lot of me in her back when I was younger," Olson said. "She's got that drive that I had."

The women say one benefit to having three generations working in the same salon is the clientele it draws.

"What's so cool is that I've got my generation, Lisa's got her generation, Carley's got her generation," Olson said. "So we are able to service all generations."

All three women say one of the best parts of their job is the relationships they've been able to build with clients over the years. In fact, Olson has had one of her clients for more than 50 years, while Heinrichs has had one particular client for more than 20 years.

"You go to hair shows and they tell you, 'Don't have a relationship with your client, you just do their hair,' that kind of thing," Heinrichs said. "Well, that just doesn't happen. You have a relationship with these people, especially when you've been doing their hair for quite a few years."

Though working with family can at times be trying, Olson says it's ultimately worth it.

"A lot of people would say don't do it (work with family)," Olson said. "But I guess we've always been a close family."