This small business leader has achieved great success while running her salon. Learn how she has grown her business and read tips that can help support your company today.

If you ask a dozen entrepreneurs about what ultimately inspired them to take the leap, go all in, and start their own company, you will likely end up with a dozen different responses. Many of the themes you hear may be familiar—passion, financial opportunity, and the freedom of being your own boss—but every business owner has a unique story as to how they got started and why they continue pushing forward on their business journey. For Farah Gholami Pastaki, owner of Farah Beauty Salon, that story dates all the way back to her childhood in Iran, and centers around one motivation above all else: to build a business that provides real value to her community.

Farah’s experience in the beauty industry began when she was 13 and started working as a stylist at her grandmother’s beauty salon in Iran. It was here that she began developing the skills and knowledge that she still uses today, and also when she first recognized the impact that a community-oriented business could have. She started her own salon when she was 19 and, drawing on the lessons she learned from her grandmother, created an environment where clients could engage with their neighbors and leave feeling revitalized.

When she immigrated to the U.S. in 2013, she knew that she wanted to continue her passion and build a business with a similar purpose in her new Greater Boston community. But Farah discovered that she needed to obtain a license before she could open her own shop in Massachusetts. So, Farah took a job at an existing salon—where she could work as a stylist prior to receiving her certification—and babysat at night, working 16-hour days to support her family before receiving the license she needed to go out on her own. Her long days and hard work ultimately paid off and she opened Farah Beauty Salon in 2014. Today, Farah is a licensed esthetician and cosmetologist, and operates a thriving business that offers haircuts, hair coloring, and a range of other styling services in two Massachusetts locations.

To Farah, owning a small business has always carried with it a certain level of responsibility. Through her salon, she recognizes that she has a unique opportunity to not only earn a living, but to create jobs, deliver value to her customers, and engage with the communities in which she operates. While the day-to-day challenges that go along with running a company can sometimes make it difficult to focus on the big picture, Farah has discovered a blueprint over the past eight years for managing through adversity and staying committed to her mission. Here are three strategies she has developed over the course of her career to build a successful, purpose-driven business.

Your Clients Are Often Your Best Resource.

Providing a great customer experience has always been at the core of Farah’s business identity. Through her grandmother, she learned that the key to finding success in her community lay in the depth and quality of the relationships she was able to form with her clients. Since opening Farah Beauty Salon in 2014, she has gone above and beyond to connect with her customers personally, providing them with high-end styling services to meet their needs while also getting to know about their lives outside of the salon. In this way, she has been able to build trust with customers and make them feel like part of her extended family.

Farah has found that her emphasis on personal service has not only enhanced her business’s position within the community, but it has also had a tangible impact on her bottom line. Through the years, Farah’s customers have served as her marketing engine. Much of the salon’s new business is earned through word-of-mouth referrals. It’s the styling skills, quality products, and welcoming environment that her clients experience that often serve as her best sales materials. “My clients know me,” Farah explains. “I’m always honest with them, I’m always getting to know them, and I’m always making sure that they get the service and attention that they need. This has helped my business grow more than anything else.”

Adding Locations Can Be a Game Changer.

After receiving her license and certification in 2014, Farah opened her salon in Watertown, Massachusetts. As her reputation grew and her customer base expanded, she recognized the growth potential of her business and began contemplating expansion. Adding a second location would enable her to serve an even wider range of clientele across the Greater Boston area. Farah recently opened a second salon in the nearby town of Arlington, but she’s not finished. She hopes to one day open additional locations, own her own building, and even franchise her business.

Expansion has opened new doors to revenue growth, but—in keeping with her mission—it has also enabled Farah to broaden the positive impact of her salon. By opening a new location in a new town, Farah has been able to extend her unique blend of quality service and personal care to a new audience. This new profile has also allowed her to play an even bigger role in creating jobs and stimulating growth in her community. “Since opening my second location, I’ve seen an evolution in both the business I can generate and the good that I can do with my salon.”

A Team of Trusted Advisors Can Help Your Business Grow.

Building a purpose-driven business from the ground up can be challenging, especially for a first-generation immigrant adjusting to life in a new country. Throughout her business journey, Farah has constructed a team of advisors around her to help manage through challenges and make meaningful contributions to her community. Whether it is her lawyer, her small business banker, or the friends and professional connections she has made through her community engagement, Farah knows that she has a diverse sounding board where she can turn to gain advice, share business ideas, and balance her personal and professional priorities.

“Having a support system is key,” explains Farah. “I rely on my friends, my banker, and my community to make the right decisions for my business.”

Moving Forward

While Farah may have moved to the U.S. less than a decade ago, she’s already achieved the kind of business success that is only possible through hard work, perseverance, and a clear vision. Since arriving in Massachusetts, Farah has embraced the opportunity to contribute to her community and enrich the lives of her clients through the care and compassion that she shows to everyone who walks through her doors.

Moving into 2023 and beyond, the Farah Beauty Salon is poised for new and exciting growth. But there is one thing that isn’t likely to change, and that’s Farah’s commitment to her clients and to her community.

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