Michele Holloway never set out to own a salon, but in May, Eden Michele Salon off of NW 43rd Street will celebrate its sixth anniversary.
Growing up in Gainesville, Holloway said college and her didn’t mix well. She worked at Circuit City off of Tower Road when her employer closed shop.
Holloway said she had to do something with her life. So she went to the hair school next door, signed up and before long had a job with a local salon.
After a few months, Holloway found a passion for the business side. She began helping with the payroll, doing the sales tax and asking questions. Before long, the owner made her a manager.
“At the beginning, I honestly felt like I could have just managed a salon forever ‘cause I liked it and didn’t want the full responsibility of owning a salon,” Holloway said in an interview.
Seven years later, her salon decided to close, pushing Holloway to start her own in a building her grandfather owned.
She’s operated Eden Michele Salon since, and the business earned the 2020 Favorite Local Salon award in Our Town magazine.
But Holloway said she led the business horribly during the first four years.
“Communication and leadership were the two things that I failed miserably at, and I still struggle with it, to be honest,” Holloway said.
During that time, she hired business consultants, but Holloway said that approach led to nothing. They had rubrics for businesses to follow—how to pay and what to say to employees—but never addressed her leadership problems.
Holloway had to find her own way, which ended up leading to another business.
Crush the Box, Create the Space opened its doors in 2021 with Holloway as its Certified Box Crusher. She works as a business and leadership consultant, helping others tackle the personal and workplace challenges she did in her salon business.
Instead of handing out stock rubrics, Holloway said she helps clients crush the obstacles by sitting down to identify obstacles, create a plan to conquer it and then connect with resources needed.
“Sometimes we just need support,” Holloway said. “We just need to know that someone believes in us or for somebody to say ‘You can do it.’”
For herself, Holloway said her large support network helped her face the challenges of owning a business. She looked to her father to model his leadership and trusted his guidance.
She said she loves seeing her clients’ trust and the results from her input.
Holloway wrote and published a book in November about the process titled, “Crush the Box, Create the Space.”
“I use my own book almost daily to go back and read through it and go back through the steps,” Holloway said.
She said publishing her own book forced her to live out the principles to their full extent.
Moving forward, she hopes to connect with more entrepreneurs and add value to their ventures while continuing to improve herself.
“I’m just starting to turn those things around and be aware and be proactive about my leadership,” Holloway said.
This is part of a series of stories featuring Black-owned businesses and organizations during Black History Month.