10 Questions with a Seasoned Lexington Business Owner (and father)
How being a son, and a father, can impact business choices …
In speaking with Lou Volpicelli, co-owner of Stephanie Louis Salon with his wife Stephanie Volpicelli, one gets a strong sense they both love what they do for a living, and it shows when you are in their salon. Stephanie publishes a blog about styling and caring for hair, and she also hosts a bi-annual clinic for teens, along with her busy stylist schedule. Lou styles both men and women, and with the new styles for men & high school boys, he stays on the cutting edge.
How did you get into cutting hair?
My dad was a hairdresser on Newbury Street, so I guess because of him, I have been around it my whole life. My father was a part of the inspiration and motivation to set up our own salon.
What was your first job?
After I finished my college degree at Suffolk University, I started working at my father's shop, Richard Joseph's Salon on Newbury Street. My dad wasn't keen on me going in that direction at first, given the work I had put into a college degree. Even so, he could tell how much I wanted it, so he eventually came around and supported me.
How did you end up owning your own business?
I met Stephanie years later at another salon in Lexington that I had been working at for a long time. After we got married, we decided to open our own place. Despite how he initially felt about my career choice, my dad was a big help in setting things up.
What do you like most about doing this for a living?
Being on my feet, moving around, engaging with people all the time, and not sitting at a desk in an office. This job is very well suited for me. Most salons are closed on Mondays, in addition to Sundays, so that weekday gives me opportunities to spend more quality time with my son, supporting his academics, sports, etc.
How many of your clients are male vs. female?
It’s about half. I really enjoy the mix a lot. It’s fun talking sports, fatherhood, and food with the guys, while I also enjoy working with women and making them feel great when they leave my chair.
Have you styled anyone famous, or do you have any interesting stories?
A reality TV celebrity who won Survivor Africa, the 3rd season of the series, Ethan Zohn. He competed two more times and is a motivational speaker. Most Lexington residents know him as the goaltender for the high school boys’ soccer team who went on to compete in the Major Leagues.
How did your business survive Covid?
Lots of things. The town was very supportive with a grant they gave, and there were also many clients that were dedicated and continued to come in, though business was slower for quite a long time. People were coloring their hair at home (or not coloring it at all) and buying trimmers/clippers online. The business assistance and client dedication were key. Despite all the challenges, the pandemic did give me more time with my son.
It’s amazing you have been in Lexington Center for 17 years, what is the most important factor in that?
We were lucky enough to get a smaller space that works well for our business. Retail space in Lexington can be pricey, so a smaller space supported by very full stylist schedules and a great support staff is a perfect combination. We love it here!
Does being in this location impact your business?
We love being right in the heart of the center. It gives us great visibility, is convenient for us and our clients, and the proximity to restaurants and shopping is ideal.
What makes you most proud of Stephanie Louis?
The compliments from our clients that they like the atmosphere, and they feel very welcomed and “part of our family team” here. As one of Stephanie’s clients put it, “Boston quality with town hospitality”.