St. Anthony: Entrepreneur Driven Minnesota’s three salon business is still growing

Melanie Richards could teach us all about the grit and long hours it takes to build a business.

She has spent her career in service, particularly for women. She spent 14 years on probation, 12 of which for Hennepin County.

In 2010, he started goGlow, a skin care company rooted in plant-based products and salons, with $ 5,000 on his credit card. She attended the nights of the Aveda Institute while working on working days in criminal justice.

For 10 years, the company has grown 40% annually, profitably, he said.

At first he couldn’t get a loan.

“The bankers were hesitant,” Richards said. “They didn’t see goGlow as a business.”

GoGlow now has 35 employees and is expected to exceed $ 2 million in revenue this year. Add to those 12,000 fervent followers on Instagram.

Richards, 47, was raised with a sister by their working single mom. His mother, Terry Magaard, would sometimes take the girls from home to Esko about 15 miles to night school classes at the University of Minnesota Duluth. They saw Magaard graduate and pursue a successful career in accounting and small business management.

Richards’ late grandfather, a Minnesota StatePatrol soldier, was his surrogate father. And Magaard, now retired, was an inspiration and hardworking supporter.

Richards, a divorced and single mother, also made her way through the UMD. She worked part time and paid student loans for 15 years.

Richards worked briefly in California before joining Hennepin County as a probation officer in 1998. She was increasingly interested in family members who were sometimes victims of those who had been convicted of crimes. Two women and a grandfather were murdered by two clients on probation.

“We realized we needed to do more for the victims,” ​​said Nancy Halverson, Richards’ former supervisor at Hennepin County.

Richards and Halverson were an integral part of the county securing federal money to establish one of the first nationwide domestic abuse service centers at the county attorney’s office.

“A victim could come in and talk to a lawyer,” Halverson recalled. “Melanie was the supervisory officer in that office. There was assistance, including a police officer, a prosecutor and protective orders.”

Halverson called Richards intelligent, energetic and compassionate.

“He also supervised a small group of women convicted of domestic assault but who were also victims,” ​​Halverson said. “She made that position work. She doesn’t sit in an office waiting for the job to come to her. I’m not surprised she’s a successful businesswoman.”

After 14 years as a probation officer, Richards was also running low. She attended night school in 2010 and graduated from the Aveda Institute as a beautician. She eventually developed plant-based, alcohol-free sprays and other skin products, including a gradual self-tanning moisturizer rich in antioxidants and plant extracts as part of the secret sauce.

Richards began working remotely from his car. She lacked the capital to rent commercial space.

Eventually, she was able to focus on her full-time business, quitting her $ 70,000-a-year job that she loved in a daunting but inspired move.

Richards was encouraged by the growing number of women who would pay $ 45 to $ 65 per session in addition to purchasing products. He said he also liked the confidence they got from a hydrating and healthy glow.

About 10% of the customers are men.

GoGlow operates retail clinics and salons in Edina, Maple Grove and Chicago. An Uptown Minneapolis location was closed after the 2020 riots over police shootings.

The Next Step: Richards recently filed legal papers with Minnesota and other state trade regulators to sell franchises.

Its salons recorded an average operating profit of $ 154,000 on sales of $ 509,000 in 2021, according to the franchise documents.

GoGlow employees earn $ 25 plus hour, including fees and tips.

“I pay myself more than I earned as a probation officer to support my family, but the profits have largely returned to the business growth,” Richards said.

Scott Larson, an independent financial advisor at Wayzata and also Richards’s brother-in-law, said he has willpower and tenacity.

“Every entrepreneur is driven,” Larson said. “There is a fire inside [Richards] I’ve never experienced it. “

Richards’ sister Stacy Larson, also an entrepreneur, is the veteran owner of a women’s clothing boutique in Uptown called Covered.

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