Entrepreneur Steps Out With East Austin Salon

By Gary Dinges Austin American-Statesman.

Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone.

That's what Lindsay Hoffman did recently, when she quit her job as festival marketing manager at concert promoter C3 Presents to open Triage, a salon in East Austin.

"I'm pushing 40," she said. "I'd always wanted to do my own thing. I had a million ideas."

Over the course of a year, she leaned heavily on a pair of well-known Austin entrepreneurs -- Galaxy Café co-founder Kelly Chappell and former Shag Salon owner Amy Conroy -- to help start her new business.

Triage, part of the Corazon mixed-use development at 1000 E. Fifth St., opened about a month ago, offering blowouts, makeup, manicures, pedicures and waxing.

Hoffman sat down recently with the American-Statesman to talk about the adventures that come with building a new business from the ground up.

American-Statesman: Why did you decide to open a salon?

Hoffman: I live in East Austin. This is my neighborhood, and I knew that we had nothing like this here.

Question: You don't have a background in the beauty business. Was that an obstacle?

A: I'm a big believer that you don't have to know everything to succeed. You just need to surround yourself with the right people. There's such a great community of entrepreneurs in Austin. I've had so many people reaching out.

Question: What was the reaction when you told people what you were planning to do?

A: Everyone was so supportive. I said, 'I'm crazy. Tell me not to do this.' Not one person did. They were all like, 'You've got to do this.'

Question: Was it difficult to leave C3 Presents?

A: It was so hard. I have a ton of loyalty. I loved my job. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It was the greatest training for being an entrepreneur.

Question: After a year of planning, what's it like to finally have Triage open?

A: With any new business, it takes a while to get operations streamlined. We're listening hard to all the feedback we've been getting. We're always going to be growing and evolving.

Question: How would you describe the salon's decor?

A: It's so hard to find time for yourself. For me, personally, this is about taking care of people. I wanted it to feel like a social space where people are comfortable, where they can talk to each other. If they're having fun, they'll want to stay. I think we're really well set up to have groups, too, like bachelorette parties.

Question: Who have your customers been so far?

A: It's been a good mix. People from the building, the neighborhood ... and all over town, really.

Question: I know it's early, but any thoughts about expansion?

A: I'm absolutely open to that but right now I'm going to focus on nailing this.

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