The story of a salon that wants to change the world.

By Lisa Cochran – Founder of The Studio & Studio R3

The beauty industry is a very healing and therapeutic tribe to belong to.

I saw this first hand as a young girl when my parents lost two babies between me and my brother. Shannon lived 15 days and Ricky lived 15 hours. This incredible loss happened just a year apart.

Part of my mom’s path to healing was her weekly visit to the salon. I saw her depression begin to lift as she had her time in the salon. She felt better on the inside and looked good on the outside. Today it is the mission that drives our company, The Studio.

Inside our doors, we work to better the days and the lives of both our clients and our employees through a loving touch and policies that serve our people first.

Continuing our mission beyond our doors, we are working every day to help stop human trafficking around the world – specifically in Cambodia. We invited a young man named Den to shadow in our salon for 3 months so that he could take the lessons learned back to Cambodia to open a salon of his own, and to employ some of those affected by human trafficking in a restorative and renewing career.

We also partner with two non-profits – The Hard Places Community and Justice And Soul, and are donating 10% of all lipstick sales to help fight human trafficking around the world.

We are proud to have a strong mission to drive us forward; but, our path hasn’t always been so clear.


Hidden Struggles

The Studio started in Laurel over 30 years ago and was a vital part of the community for many years. Our business looked really good on the outside but financially we were struggling.

We committed to caring for people on the inside and the outside; but, we didn’t take that mission to heart for the company. I was faced with a hard decision, closing the Laurel location and focusing solely on our location in Hattiesburg.

This was a tremendous time of soul searching and deciding who The Studio would become as we worked through extreme financial adversity and made the inside of our company strong. I knew I wanted The Studio brand to be uniquely different; to affect others the way my mother had been affected all those years ago.


A New Model

Most salons are commission-based or independent contractors.

If you use someone once then you may feel as if you are “locked in” to that stylist for life. We’d regularly get phone calls from clients saying, “I really want to use another stylist but I don’t want to hurt her feelings. Will she get mad at me?”.

I wanted an environment that clients could feel comfortable using anyone on our staff without hesitation. I knew we could create something more that would be focused on the customer and their experience, without the complications and pressures of the commission-based model.

I also wanted a salon that provided benefits like retirement, paid vacations and 6 weeks paid maternity leave and had a stellar education plan.

Today we have all that and more due to our unique compensation model that sets our brand apart – Team Based Pay. All of our team members are paid competitive hourly wages along with a profit sharing bonus to acknowledge the important role they each play in our continued growth and success.

You can feel free to use anyone on our team, anytime, without hesitation. It is about your schedule and your time. Gone are the days of wanting to use someone else in the salon and feeling guilty, or having to make up a story or wait until the stylist goes on vacation to try someone new.

Because of this model, we are able to work together as a team to serve you, and have been able to improve the quality of our work through trainings and learning opportunities completed as a team.


Growing Stronger, Together.

Repair. Restore. Renew.

Those 3 words were on my heart for a couple of years. I just wasn’t sure what to do with them.

Every time I would be out and about in Laurel someone would say “I sure miss The Studio but I just can’t get to Hattiesburg, do you ever think of opening back up in Laurel?”

I continued to reflect on “Repair, Restore, Renew,” and finally the day came to put those words into action.

Today, we have a strong new location in Laurel – Studio R3.

The name Studio R3 means so much to me and The Studio team. To remind us of the power of our name, we have illustrated those 3 words in the decor of the new salon. Every piece tells a story.

The desk was made from an old torn down house found on the side of the road and was renewed into something totally different. The stations were the original ones from the old Studio 20 years ago. I repaired them and restored them, and they continue to remind us of our purpose here.

The number 3 also represents the spiritual aspect of the Holy Trinity as well as a 3 day work week for a stylist desiring to work part time.

Studio R3 is unique, it is a boutique salon, small, quaint and intimate. A place where you can come to feel the power of those three words, a place of repair, restoration and renewal.


Look Good, Do Good.

Our future is so bright.

Both locations are growing and thriving and we are nearly debt free.

But, we haven’t forgotten the struggles of our past. We adopted the image of the dandelion to represent our strength and endurance (have you ever tried to kill a dandelion?), and the whimsy and faith of a wish made as the seeds blow away in the wind.

That became us. We were not going down. The community needed us; we were a ministry and we believed in our mission.

We are going to continue to grow, and we are going to change the world as we go. We hope you’ll come along with us.