My husband, Pete, and I dreamed of having our own salon/spa – a place that we could be proud of. – Sally Marchand Collins -Owner of Sundance Salon and Spa
We needed just the right name to start the dream and it came, of all places, as we rode up a ski lift in Taos, New Mexico. I commented on the majesty of the mountains and the way the sun seemed to dance in the sky and Pete said, That’s it….Sundance! We opened our first salon less than a year later (November, 1997) in a basement of a business at 86th and Ditch, Indianapolis. Despite its diminutive size, we found that we loved pampering our clients. Pete had been working at AVEDA as an account executive and decided to help me out full-time. He not only did the books but he practiced his other love-massage therapy. We enjoyed working together; it was the high point of our lives!
Then the news came that my 35-year-old husband, a man who loved tandem bike riding and coaching lacrosse, had leukemia (February 21, 2000). Days later our basement salon flooded. Then the news came that the cancer had spread to Pete’s brain. Next, we learned that the salon was to be demolished to make way for a new pharmacy. We were at a loss and very scared.
What were we going to do?
How could we keep all that we had worked for, including our love for one another, alive?
In May of 2000, we found out that Pete’s brother Jeff was a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant. We were elated. We had hope! Our landlord let us move upstairs in a vacant spot until we could find a new home for Sundance. It was almost impossible to work 65 hours a week, look for a new location, and take Pete for cancer treatments. Somehow, just days before his scheduled transplant and a month before the building was to be torn down, we found the perfect spot for our salon/spa in Zionsville. With the support of our friends and families, we were ready for business in a week (August 1, 2000).
Specializing in the Impossible
I read the quote, “What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible” by Theodore Roethke and felt that quote described me. I continued to expand our new salon/spa, adding stylists and watching our client base grow, all the while racing back to the hospital to support my very ill husband. I do not know where I found the energy, the motivation, and the drive to succeed. Pete served as my inspiration. The harder he fought to live, the harder I fought to make the salon/spa work for the both of us. When Pete was told that he was going to die, he became very business-like, telling me that he needed to teach me everything that he knew so that the business could go on. He helped teach me about the accounting system and all that it entailed. Here I was, sitting in the hospital with my dying husband, and all Pete could focus on was making sure that I would be alright, happy, and able to keep our dream, our business, our lives minus one, alive and well. After Pete died (February 12, 2001), I signed up for a 100-mile tandem bike ride in Lake Tahoe for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Pete’s honor. My 65-year-old father began training and stepped up to the challenge to ride with me as captain (lead rider). It was one of the hardest things I ever did; when I wanted to give up, I could hear Pete cheering me on. That same spirit cheers me on every day in my salon. The more I give to my clients, the more they give in return. It is truly amazing. Currently, Sundance Salon/Spa employs a growing professional team. Our salon now encompasses 1680 square feet (compare that to our original basement salon of approximately 400 square feet).
Sundance SalonSpa Today
I have to say that my motivation today is driven by my will to succeed, no matter the odds. I don’t make excuses; I just keep focused on what matters most-friends, staff, family, and making my clients happy. To be a successful entrepreneur, it takes an internal drive to survive–for me it was keeping the business alive during and after Pete’s death. I couldn’t move away or change my occupation. I couldn’t just crawl into bed and sink into despair.
I had to face my dedicated clients who were always there for me because they believed in me and wanted me back. They cared. You have to love what you do and believe you can make a difference in the lives of others. When you do that, you reap the benefits.
Training a team of employees to work in harmony is one of my greatest accomplishments. Focusing on my employees’ strengths and reinforcing their accomplishments has been a key to our successful business. There is a saying in behavioral psychology, “Catch’em being good!” I try to shower praise as often as I can. It makes a difference in the working environment and comes back to you two-fold.
Additionally, being a part of a wonderful community like Zionsville makes you feel at home. I enjoy giving back to the community by participating in food and toy drives, silent auctions, and contests geared toward children.
My role models include my parents, Normand and Annette Marchand, who taught me about what it means to work hard in life and to keep a good sense of humor; my in-laws, George and Ann Collins, who provided support even in the face of their own grieving;my sister, Dr. Nancy Marchand-Martella, and her husband, Dr. Ron Martella, for pushing education as a way to expand into new directions; my brother-in-law, Jeff, for teaching me to never give up; David Wagner, salon owner and author of Life as a Daymaker; my best friend, Kim Small, for telling me not to let weeds grow in my dreams; and my dear friend, Cari Estes, for making me believe in my heart.