Limitless. That’s a big, scary word. When looking at a life without limits, some people bow out and stick with the status quo. Thankfully, not everyone takes the easy, safe route. Lorry Green is a woman who dreams big – and wanted to build a business with limitless personal growth and career path beyond herself. That was the beginning of what today is known as Elle Marie Hair Studio. After 5 years behind the chair, Lorry knew she could do more. She imagined a workplace where there was a family-style culture coupled with limitless opportunity.
Since becoming a hair stylist in 2001, Lorry knew she had more passion and potential than building a great book of business for herself. She longed for a career path – one that would enable greater earning potential, the opportunity to learn, and support the boundless energy many hairstylists possess. After looking around for the right salon to call home and coming up short, she knew it was up to her to create the path. In 2006, she pitched her big idea to her mom, Colleen Buck, the smartest businesswoman she knew. Colleen was in, and Elle Marie Hair Studio, named after Lorry’s first initial and middle name, was born.
Right away Lorry’s brother Jody Bossert came on board to oversee Marketing and Communications. Lorry’s vision of a family-style salon culture with like-minded hairstylists became a reality. In 2007, a year after opening the business, Hollie Wesoloski was hired to join Lorry behind the chair as an experienced hairstylist with a passion for the industry. Right away Lorry, Colleen, Jody, and Hollie created a strong working relationship. The first salon location, Mill Creek, WA, quickly grew to near capacity. The growth was exactly what Lorry had dreamed of; it was limitless. In 2010, Elle Marie expanded into a second salon space, in Lake Stevens. Growth was steady, and as their community outreach continued, new opportunities would present themselves as though manifesting from the momentum. These opportunities enabled further development of the company and the team.
Incredible relationships were forming between the team members. These bonds lead to interests that stretched the thinking and the work of those employed at Elle Marie. Hairstylists transformed their careers to include management, education, and strategy to continue the growing trajectory of the business. Lorry and Colleen carefully cultivated this culture of support and expansion – it was the key to their success as their salon locations expanded in reach.
As the company grew, so did the careers of Lorry and Hollie. Hollie quickly found her place beyond the chair, helping Lorry with all salon operations. Aside from their close friendship, Hollie and Lorry found their superpower; the ability to bring different perspectives to each business decision, creating better process as a result. By 2014, Elle Marie boasted four locations: Mill Creek, Lake Stevens, Alderwood and downtown Woodinville. Without team members like Hollie leaning into new positions, multiple locations would have overwhelmed the family partnership. Training new stylists was well established, managers and support staff were also trained in house, enabling the family-focused company culture to flourish throughout all locations. Their bond was so evident that over time, Colleen, Jody, and Lorry welcomed Hollie and hers into their family outside of the salon too. Eventually Lorry’s brother Jody made the tough decision to leave the company and pursue a career in his passion, sports. While the family was sad to see him go, they were grateful for the time they spent growing the family business together.
In 2018, the team made the decision to move the Lake Stevens location to downtown Snohomish. At that point, they were hitting their stride. Colleen felt the company was finally at a great place, and she could start floating the idea of retirement. Discussions of succession planning started in earnest however little did the team know, one microscopic virus was about to derail their entire business, the community, and the world.
As with many businesses, COVID-19 hit like a ton of bricks – it was impossible to react or prepare or adapt. Before Lorry, Hollie and Colleen could get a clear sense of the pandemic and its possible effects on their salon company, the state began a stay-at-home mandate, shutting businesses down indefinitely. During the shutdown, employees from all industries received the pause many didn’t know they needed. It became an opportunity for people to reassess their entire lives. A moment for change, the alarming Great Resignation began nation-wide. For Elle Marie Hair Studio, in a company where people were happy & content, and turnover was nearly non-existent, valued team members started to make some major decisions. Some long-tenured stylists chose to stay home with their kids, some moved out of state, some switched careers, and many chose to work by themselves and moved to what the industry calls salon suites.
While the hardships on business that came from the pandemic was painful for the entire community, it gave Lorry and Colleen the opportunity to evaluate everything. How were they going to move forward, how do they come out of this? They decided if they pivot, they absolutely could get through this. After nearly 15 years in business together, the mother/daughter duo agreed that the time was right and together they honored Colleen’s desire to retire. Lorry stayed on as Owner, took Colleen’s role as President and Hollie was naturally brought on as Co-Owner, Vice President.
With Hollie by her side, Lorry found it a perfect opportunity to make some necessary changes and with that, Elle Marie has evolved and continues to grow beyond anything they’ve experienced. Lorry is dedicated to continuing the legacy her and her mother created together.
The world had changed; and Elle Marie Hair Studio changed as well. Business made an immediate comeback and amidst all the change, one thing remains – the culture and Lorry’s continued desire to grow and develop hairstylists and support them in their desire to live a balanced life no matter how that looks for them.
The future is bright!