Two years ago Lindsay Barnhardt, K.C. Lutes, and Mireya Albarran decided to open a salon together. All three entrepreneurs knew that they wanted to run a business that gives back to the community. They started brainstorming, talking, and working on their business plan.
On December 17, 2013 they opened Manifesta, a gathering place that they call, “a salon…and so much more.” The trio offers cuts, color, and styling using natural products by Aveda. They don’t use perms, relaxers, or other heavy chemicals. They also participate in the community in three unique ways:
– Within the Manifesta Salon the owners offer popup retail kiosks to small business owners.
– On Sundays and Mondays the space is closed for hair appointments and groups can rent it for classes and events that focus on wellness and community.
– Finally, Manifesta hopes to begin partnering with non-profits to host fundraising events, collaborate on community outreach, and find innovative ways to partner.
During their planning process the three founders began their funding research with a bank but didn’t get very far in the process. They saw Nido opening their doors in the Jack London neighborhood and went to talk with the owners, Cory and Silvia McCollow. Cory and Silvia, who are also Main Street Launch (then OBDC) borrowers, referred Manifesta to Scott Lewis (Main Street Launch’s CFO).
“There was so much to do during the loan application process,” Lindsay said. “Once we opened we were thankful that we went through all of the steps, it set us up for success.”
With their Main Street Launch loan Manifesta renovated their space at 831 Broadway, in Oakland. They were frugal during the startup process and ended up with more working capital then they anticipated. The founders also used funds for a marketing campaign and a thank you event for the people that helped with their opening.
Manifesta is also a part of popuphood, an innovative small-business incubator in Oakland. Between popuphood, meeting neighbors, and their location on a busy corner, Lindsay said Manifesta feels like it’s connecting with the community. “We’re excited to be growing a bigger community of clients who live or work in the area.”