WESST Client Profiles

Runway Hair Studio

Runway Hair Studio, is an Aveda hair salon that provides a variety of services including haircuts, barber cuts, steam towel shaves, styling, coloring, Pamasana Scalp treatments, Botanical Conditioning treatments, makeup touch ups, scalp, neck, shoulder and hand massages, and waxing. The salon also sells a large variety of Aveda products.

There were a few things that motivated Natalie and Michael to become entrepreneurs. They wanted to provide a Salon with an atmosphere where clients would feel welcomed, appreciated and supported. Excellent service with a superior product (Aveda) was also important to them. Additionally, Natalie and Michael wanted to provide a work atmosphere for their seven employees (one barber, five cosmetologists and one assistant/receptionist) where they too felt appreciated and treated as valuable community members. Finally, Natalie and Michael wanted to use their enterprise as a way to give back to the community through local charities and non-profits.

The primary obstacles that Natalie and Michael faced revolved around their financial situation. They wanted to own a salon and barbershop, but they did not have a lot of cash on hand to open the modern, contemporary, salon they envisioned.

Michael began looking for capital from three to four large national financial institutions and smaller local lenders. He worked on the loan process for nearly five months with no success. After his last loan request was rejected, he felt depleted and frustrated. That was when a Bank of The West employee told him about WESST. Natalie decided that she would contact WESST, and after her initial contact, things began to fall into place. Meetings were scheduled with the appropriate staff, and each day Natalie and Michael felt that they were moving closer to their goal.

Natalie and Michael worked closely with the loan department, who, in their words, “were absolutely amazing!” WESST staff walked them through every step of the process. The couple’s passion and dream was clearly evident in all their work, and their loan was unanimously approved by WESST’s loan committee.

Although Runway Hair Studio, LLC has only been open for one year, they have already provided free hair services to over 25 homeless youth for New Day Ministry. They have also donated $250.00 to the Galloping Grace Foundation. Most recently, from September to December, the salon has been asking their clients to provide travel sized cosmetics and body care items so that they can be donated to homeless youth.

Natalie and Michael are living their dream by owning and operating a successful salon and barbershop just one year after opening their doors. Owning a business has many ups and downs, but there is one thing that has been a key to their success from the start – Natalie and Michael always work as a team, weather it is parenting, supervising, growing the salon or simply dealing with day-to-day issues. In their opinion, if either of them did not have the other to rely on, they would not be where they are today!

Client Details


Natalie and Michael Tobin


Runway Hair Studio

"I can’t thank Wesst enough for providing all the fundamentals for entrepreneurs, from all the classes that are offered, to the staff that works with you to help with the process of getting the financial backing you will need to start your business, WESST is more like a partner to your goals and success!"
Natalie Tobin
Runway Hair Studio

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