Going beyond great hair

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Brian Perdue and his wife Karen moved to Snellville in 1987 at a time when Gwinnett”s economy was growing at a furious pace. She was starting out in a career as a hair stylist. He had a degree in business management and a desire to own his own company.

"I started looking at my wife”s concept of an upscale hair salon," Perdue says. "I saw upscale salons in every shopping center, but I noticed that they weren”t providing what upscale consumers wanted in terms of quality and consistency."

Perdue decided to focus on making it big in the hair industry. He enrolled in beauty school and learned how to cut hair, but his talents had more to do with developing a business than doing perms.

The couple opened their first salon in 1991 in Snellville, and Perdue immediately set out to base the company”s philosophy on providing the best training possible for its stylists.

Around that same time, he also had the idea of opening a beauty school to supply his salon and other Gwinnett salons with stylists who had a professional-quality education.

"Because of the lack of people working in the industry at the time, the other schools were just teaching their students how to pass the state board exams," he says.

Perdue”s understanding of the hair industry has made his company one of the fastest-growing in Gwinnett County. In May, Perdue was named the Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

Perdue”s company owns three Salon 124 locations, two Genesis Salon locations and The Process Institute, the company”s own training school. The firm had $7.5 million in revenues last year and employs 190 people.

Perdue is in his element when he”s talking about his own company”s success. He plans to open two more salons and a second Process Institute. "I love working with beautiful hair, but I get more of a kick out of working on improving my business," he says.

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