Role Models: Carla Gentile

Carla Gentle: Harper Salon, Los Angeles 

Carla Gentile had only been in business for a few months when she installed a pop-up shop offering sunglasses from local L.A. designers. Since then she’s partnered with other businesses like hip British retailer Topshop. “Having pop-up shops in the salon is a fun way to collaborate with other vendors,” says Gentile. “We use both of our mailing lists to reach a different crowd to market our goods and services.” The pop-up shops change every three months to keep retail options fresh. Gentile also donates 10 percent of the profits from merchandise sold to L.A.-based charity Children of the Night. During L.A. Fashion Week, the salon partnered with other vendors—a jeweler and a handbag designer—on a trunk show to cross-promote their businesses. Naturally, they shared each other's mailing lists, a win-win.
 
Open Door Policy
The front doors of the salon came from a movie set and are painted bright blue, a shade that Gentile calls Marjorelle Blue. “We use our door as a sounding board,” says Gentile. When the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal, Gentile had the rainbow flag painted on the door. In October, the salon supported breast cancer research by decorating the door with pink ribbons and painting pink circles around the doorknobs. Because the salon is on busy Melrose Avenue, the doors are a great attention grabber and conversation piece as well as a creative marketing tool.

Image: From Left: Nicole Hartmann, Carla Gentile and Nikki Pittam.

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