Split Ends Salon co-owner Jennifer Hardison left her 9-to-5 job working PR for the Orioles in 2000, and decided to open a hair salon with her sister—something she had no background doing.
Twelve years later, Split Ends is one of the most popular hair salons in Severna Park.
“I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I just thought it sounded like fun. I have always been a risk taker,” Hardison said. “My mom thought I was crazy. She thought we were crazy.”
Split Ends Salon opened in February 2000 and was overwhelmingly voted best hair salon in Severna Park Patch’s Readers’ Choice in 2012.
Hardison said that while she was excited about the honor, she is just grateful the customers enjoy coming to Split Ends as much as she enjoys working there.
“There are so many great things about working here,” Hardison said. “I love the social environment we have—everyone gets along well and we are like a family here. And our clients can feel like we have a great connection with each other.”
Hardison went to Towson University and graduated with a degree in public relations and advertising. She was 27 and working in the Baltimore Orioles PR department when her sister approached her about opening a salon.
Her sister, Wendy Moore, went to cosmetology school and worked in a salon for five or six years before deciding she wanted to open her own place. And it didn’t take much convincing to get Hardison on board.
“I just thought OK; Let’s go. That’s how easy it was,” Hardison said.
She added that a desk job wasn't all that she thought it would be.
"I thought there was something else out there for me," Hardison said. "When she brought the idea to me, I was single with no children and it felt like no better time than now.”
Moore is one of the stylists at Split Ends, while Hardison handles more of the business side of the salon and the day-to-day operations, which includes managing Split Ends’ unique business style.
Hardison said Split Ends is a summit salon, which means they “grow stylists for a living, not just for a hair salon.” When they hire stylists, they are presented with strict and detailed guidelines for how they will grow within the business.
“We grow our staff from bottom up,” Hardison said. “We believe in mentoring our stylists since they are out of hair school and showing them their full potential. You enter a level system and it is productivity-based and eventually you can work your way up to becoming a shareholder. We have a very specific career path for our stylists, which not all salons have.”
One of Hardison’s favorite parts about working with Split Ends is the relationship she develops with the stylists as well as the customers. She said they have had clients they started styling for in 2000, and have now seen them grow up.
While Split Ends offers traditional hair salon services—such as cuts and coloring—they also offer facial waxing, airbrush tanning and makeup.
When Hardison was sitting at her desk working PR, she never really dreamed that one day she would run a hair salon with her sister. She said she is beyond grateful for their success, but also realizes that timing is everything.
“I definitely feel lucky for sure,” she said. “In this economy I wouldn’t tell someone to roll the dice. I think timing is everything and I think to be a smart businessperson you have to understand timing is everything and do things when you have the most opportunity for growth.”