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Meet Dawna Jarvis of The Studio On Elm in Manchester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawna Jarvis .

Dawna , let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My start in the beauty industry dates back to my high school years. When I was 16 years old I saw a job posting for a receptionist at a salon, I applied and got the job immediately. While being the receptionist I quickly realized I enjoyed the atmosphere and seeing clients walk away not only looking good but feeling good as well. After being the receptionist for some time, I was given the opportunity to obtain my apprentice license where I learned from another stylist for 18 months and then passed the state boards and became a licensed stylist.

I stayed at that same salon for 20 years, educating myself though various workshops and classes, learning as much as I could while building a very loyal clientele. For years my family and friends encouraged me to take a leap and venture out on my own. However, I was very comfortable where I was and opening my own salon was just an idea that was talked about. Thinking back I guess the only thing that held me back was being afraid to fail.

In late 2016 I really started evaluating my career and really wanted to start up a salon that focused specifically on creating a positive team atmosphere for my staff, one where every stylist is celebrated and supported rather than the competitive environment that is all too common in our industry. I also wanted to create a business model that focused on a total client experience, not just a new hairstyle or color. I really wanted clients to walk out feeling not only beautiful but that their stylist really cared about them as a human.

So in August of 2016 I left my Salon of 20 years, and on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 I opened the doors to The Studio on Elm in downtown Manchester.

Has it been a smooth road?
Smooth not always but it could have definitely been a lot more bumpy. Like anything in life owning your own business has its ups and downs. I can honestly say my ups have totally dominated my downs, even when things don’t necessarily turn out the way I originally thought. I’ve found that remaining positive and trusting the process, I’ve been able to take the mistakes that are inevitable when doing something for the first time into valuable lessons that helped me grow as a business owner and mentor to my staff. One of my biggest mottos is to never give up so whatever happens I get up, dust myself off and move on by trying a different approach.

I have to say one of my biggest challenges and one I feel I’m still trying to master is balancing time with my young family and the needs of my business. There’s been countless times I’m working from 8am to 11pm and time with my family has been extremely limited. I am very thankful to have such a loyal staff, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with for years and we all work very hard to support each other so that we can have as much time as possible to spend with our families.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Through the years it became very apparent to me that I enjoy teaching and mentoring where there’s an equal emphasis on a positive upbeat mindset as there is on the actual skill of being a stylist. I took that philosophy and applied it to The Studio on Elm, which besides being a full service salon contributes to giving our clients a total experience. You can’t be in a room of people that are happy and not leave feeling a little more upbeat yourself.

We also place a significant emphasis on continuing education, I’ve always had the mindset that there’s always something new to learn no matter how long you’ve been in the industry. We pride ourselves on keeping up to date on the latest styles, trends and techniques. All of my team members have attended over 16 classes in the past 16 months ranging from in-salon workshops, to regional workshops, and we have all attended a week long class in New York City at the Redken Exchange. As a result, recently our apprentice won a regional award in a blonde category- a difficult category to place in. This just goes to show what you can help someone achieve if you give them the tools, confidence and opportunity to do so. It was an amazing accomplishment for someone who is not even eligible to take the state board yet, I couldn’t be prouder…

With the recent shift we’re seeing in our industry to a booth rental business model, I’m proud to say that we’re not a booth renting salon, as we feel it takes away from the total client experience we strive to create. I can understand why owners are tempted to shift to that model, as it’s certainly a lot less work but in the end it ends up being bad for business.

I really try hard to stay focused on creating a positive team approach by building my business around like minded, goal orientated employees. We strive to have a consistent positive vibe in our salon where drama of any kind isn’t tolerated which creates an amazing experience not only for our guests but for our stylists as well. We actually have clients tell us they feel a different vibe when they walk through our doors.

As far as what we’re most known for, I would have to say it’s probably for our color technique as well consistency. We’re also known for our social media, we get a lot of positive feedback from not only our clients but other stylists and salons as well. It’s great when I see other salons use us as a model and inspiration for their own social media, it’s such a great confirmation that we’re doing things right.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1000 Elm Street Manchester NH
  • Website:
  • Phone: 6039358990
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @thestudioonelm
  • Facebook: @thestudioonelm
  • Twitter: @Dawna_jarvis

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Katie

    September 23, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I’m retired now but truly enjoyed this article! You are very smart to be keeping up with the latest! Ongoing education is the secret to success!!! Keep up the excellent work!!!!!

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