Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

Members of the Studio E team welcome customers into their spa and salon. Contributed photo

This week’s featured business is Studio E, a salon and spa that features a wide range of services for both men and women in a gorgeous space. Heading up the team at Studio E are partners Crystal Draxler and Troy Miller, along with Amy Tabaka acting as floor manager and a group of enthusiastic and talented beauty professionals. Studio E, 130 Jefferson St., welcomes clientele to a luxurious retreat in downtown Wausau, where they feel immediately welcomed and pampered. The modern aesthetic sets the tone for this expert team of stylists and colorists who are known for their trendsetting innovation and attention to detail. From complex color techniques to sophisticated cuts reflective of the runways, the Studio E team delivers a customized experience that makes you look and feel your best, setting a new bar for industry standards. From extensions to nail treatments, massages to airbrushing, waxing, facials and more, this salon truly does it all, including a space dedicated to men’s spa services. Read what Crystal has to say about Studio E’s philosophy – and what sets them apart from other salons and spas in the area.

Q: When was your business established, and what prompted you to start? 

A: We opened in 2008, with the goal to bring a place to the area where industry professionals could work together in a beautiful, positive environment, for a reliable stable career, where everyone is always welcome, and willing to learn and grow together in the beauty industry. We based everything we put into our business plan, on our experiences while working in customer service industries. We wrote our plans based on how it would be to work here, as an employee, writing in everything great out of past job experiences, and working out everything that was not great.   

Q: What are you trying to convey with the name of your business? 

A: We want everyone to know that we have it all here! Studio E is more than the average salon, we are a salon, with a full-service salon, and a ManCave – a separate special area for the guys to get serviced in a space just for them – and a full-service spa; we are a one-stop-shop for the whole family. 

Q: Tell us more about Studio E. What do you offer?

A: We do not have any individual businesses or renters here, we are all one team of employees, which allows us to provide a special level of customer service, standards and care.  We are open 7 days a week providing services by appointment and call ahead same day appointments whenever available. We are offering Haircuts, Hair Coloring, Color Correction services, Hair Extensions, Full Body Treatments, Sugar and Waxing hair removal, Nail Treatments, Makeup and Airbrush makeup services and more, for individuals, couples visits, group bookings, and wedding party services. We offer and use the best exclusive professional product lines. 

Products sold at Studio E in Wausau. Contributed photo

Q: What makes your business unique? What sets you apart? 

A: Our mission to provide the best in hair and the best in service. Our customers experience is all based upon their convenience when scheduling visits here. Our team and teamwork allow guests to feel comfortable booking based on whatever works best for them and their schedules. We have a fully staffed front desk, operating 7 days a week to handle all scheduling and rescheduling needs. We take request bookings, but no customer is every locked in with any one service provider or expected to see the same person every time they visit. As a team of service providers, we all help each other out whenever needed, we share our color records with each other and celebrate each other’s strengths and help each other work on weaknesses, we pick up the slack for each other on a challenging day, or cover appointments for each other when someone needs to be out for a sick day or any situation that arises, we do everything we can to make the whole schedule and visit as convenient as possible. We also offer a price quote before beginning any color service, and have a satisfaction guarantee, which offers a follow up visit, where you just need to let us know within 24 hours and schedule a time for a follow up if needed to any hair service visit.   

Studio E interior. Photo: Crystal Draxler

Q: What do you love most about your job? What drew you to this work? 

A: Helping people look and feel their best and become more confident through the services we provide is the best. Seeing our team work together and get better at their skills every day, while communicating through tough situations and seeing people come together and succeed through a challenging situation is something we love. Using our business to give back to the community through donating to local events, hosting fun gatherings for customers and just seeing our team and guests leave happier then when they arrived each day is what we love the most.   

Q: What are you most proud of accomplishing? 

A: Knowing that our stylists are earning well above the national average in our industry is a proud accomplishment, as we originally set out to make the best career in the area in the industry, when NCTC opened its program and put out this information, we knew we succeeded at providing a great career in the industry, that is what we are most proud of.   

Starting up in the recession of 2008, expanding in size to the property next door to open our spa, continuing to navigate and grow through the Covid pandemic, and our commitment to continue to reinvest everything we can back into our team and the happiness of those on it are other accomplishments. Helping those new to the work force learn to be an important team member at their first job or guiding old friends to take the leap of a new career here and seeing them and stylists who I once taught in beauty school over fifteen years ago, now become high demand stylists in the area is the best!   

Studio E interior. Photo: Crystal Draxler

Q: How have you changed and evolved over time? What is different now from when you first started? 

A: We have upgraded to all LED lighting, luxury reclining salon and Barber chairs and comfort plus massage beds, and ultra-thick floor mats for our team’s comfort. When we first opened, we set a goal to someday get to the point where we felt able to reinvest in our team’s ergonomics, comfort and physical longevity with our FREESTYLES, weightless blow dryer system. Nothing is more rewarding then knowing our Stylists feel the impact these investments/upgrades have made on their wellbeing.      

Studio E interior. Contributed photo

Q: What challenges have you had to overcome? Basically, if you had it to do all over again, would you do anything differently? 

A: Every single day has different challenges, in the beginning the challenge was where to begin and how to survive, now it is what can we learn from each day’s experiences and what can we change to make the next day better for our guests and our team. We are always working to improve, grow, and do better.

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Where do you see your business in five or ten years?

A: We currently have a team of 20 people, and we are only about 50% staffed. So, our biggest plan is to continue to grow our team and preserve our culture at the same time! We will keep adding on part time and full time Stylists, Estheticians, Nail Technicians, Massage Therapists, Management, and hiring on more help for our Front Desk staff too! Continuing to grow the team and provide our customers the best service is our ongoing goal! 

The Studio E Team. Contributed photo

Connect with Studio E

Studio E Salon – ManCave – LUXE Spa, 130 Jefferson St., Wausau