A boutique salon with a focus on sustainable products and practices emerged onto the scene with a holistic approach to hair care and skin care. CITRINE is a collective of women who impart wellness into the full salon experience. But like many entrepreneurial stories, the journey to opening was met with the unexpected yet culminated in a place of self-care and self-love that owners Dani Warden and Anna Quintero could not be more proud of.
How It All Began
The pair met about five years ago while working at a salon in the area where Dani handled management functions and Anna was a top stylist. Both left the salon to embark on solo endeavors; Anna took her skills independent, opening a styling suite of her own, and Dani was considering opening a boutique. At the time, Anna was styling Dani’s hair and the two established a deeper connection over mutual ideas and interests. “We both had something going on separately but we had the same ideas and thought [opening a salon together] makes so much sense. We knew we would be stronger together and could channel each other’s strengths,” Anna shares.
Dani chimes in, “It works so well because there isn’t overlap. We have different areas of knowledge and expertise and can focus on our zones. Plus, we worked together before and knew we could trust one another.”
The duo signed a lease in December 2019, months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Dani tells us, “We hadn’t started the salon’s build-out prior to the pandemic which allowed us to create the space with COVID in mind. We rearranged the floor plan and nixed the idea of a processing area, avoiding seating people close together and allowing more space between styling stations.” Like anything, patience was key. Delays came into effect as a result of pandemic closures thus contractor and product deferrals. The build wound up taking nine months and the salon opened in September 2020.
Step into CITRINE and breathe in a wave of neroli, a sweet and honeyed scent custom-made for their salon by Sugar & Grace, fellow R&A Business Spotlight, available as an essential oil and candle. This first impression is a subtle glimpse into the thought and care that is poured into the complete salon experience. Dani explains, “Our approach is holistic and we put a big emphasis on sustainability. We don’t use harsh chemicals and don’t do specific services for that reason.” Anna jumps in, “Our hair and skincare lines are organic with quality ingredients. We want our clients to know everything used during their service is good for their general health.” She pauses and grins, “And for our stylist’s health!”
CITRINE offers facials, lashes and brows and a full suite of hair coloring and styling. Following their heart for intention, appointments must be scheduled in advance to allow time for preparation. If you are interested in visiting the salon for the first time, you may text the team to share what you are looking for as well as what has or hasn’t worked for you in the past. Know that CITRINE will connect with you on inspiration imagery and the history of your hair and skin as this embodies their considered and meaningful process.
The gals did a ton of research when determining the collection of sustainable products (predominantly women-owned) they would use and sell at the salon. “We found a lot of different lines and don’t know a lot of salons using them,” Dani teases. “It is about the general health of our clients, and they notice the difference in their hair and skin too,” Anna says.
As CITRINE personally sources products, it creates more product exposure with like-minded brands that take their mission to the next level. Start shopping the unique, sustainable shampoos, conditioners, masks and more on their website.
An elevated online experience is on the way to create a one-on-one connection between the community and their team of professionals. “We are harnessing a way for our stylists to make product recommendations for clients without having to visit the salon.” Dani and Anna relate to the feeling of not knowing what you need or how to match a product with what you are experiencing, especially with the bounty of professional products at our fingertips. Look out for an online quiz to activate the experience.
Proudest Moment & Biggest Obstacle
Dani and Anna are just shy of their one-year anniversary and there are so many experiences to reflect on. “I am proud we opened!” Anna says enthusiastically. Dani jumps in, “The day the inspector told us ‘you are good!’ Radiance beams from the table where we are seated as the two recall the gratifying moments — big and small. “Getting our certificate of occupancy was a huge win for us. [Opening] was really, really hard, but if we can survive the endurance of the last nine months, we are good.”
Finding the right people to join their team has been a big obstacle. Anna says, “Fortunately, we are in a place where we can take our time.” The industry had a major shift and many stylists went independent during the pandemic so their pool of people became smaller and smaller. She continues, “But we interviewed a lot of people in the beginning and it can be hard to find dedicated talent.”
A shared sentiment: the challenges make it all the more rewarding.
In keeping with their sustainable roots, the salon is launching a product refill program. Dani explains, “Clients can refill their high-quality products in the same bottles and get a discount. It’s less waste!” Anna elaborates, “A lot of the time, people don’t want to compromise on a cheaper bar of soap or skincare lotion, so it can be hard to find the balance with both — and people don’t know the option exists!”
Advice for Aspiring Business Owners
From a pair of business owners to those budding entrepreneurs, here is a little advice. “Have a plan but be willing to pivot, especially this year. Pivoting is what got us this far. You have to be willing to change if you want to grow,” Anna says. “Let go of old plans and welcome new ones.”
Dani shares, “Really understand your business model before you open your doors and think through the possibilities and what-ifs. You have to have faith in your mission and stay true to it.”
Experience All CITRINE Has to Offer