David is a former Horst Rechelbacher hairstylist who, along with his wife Charlie, owns and operates the award-winning Aveda Juut Salonspa (there are seven located throughout the Twin Cities in Minnesota and one in Palo Alto, California). David is an entrepreneur, educator, public speaker and author of Life as a Daymaker:
How to Change the World Simply by Making Someone’s Day. This book lays out the philosophy that has guided him in his personal and business life, and has steered his salons and team members to enviable success. As the book’s title suggests, this philosophy’s premise is that simple acts of kindness—in essence focusing on making someone’s day more beautiful in ways small or large—can have a positive, even life-changing impact.
David, who recently spoke by phone with Vivienne Mackinder, explains that he stumbled across the Daymaker concept (which has evolved into the Daymaker Project) quite by accident. He was sitting in the audience at a hair show, he tells Vivienne. He had been backstage and overheard one of
the presenting stylists talking to his young model about what he was going to do with her hair onstage. The model agreed to the stylist’s plans but once onstage, the stylist took things in an entirely different direction, shearing off most of the model’s long hair. Visibly upset, after the demonstration concluded, the young girl ran off into the arms of her (equally aghast) mother.
When it was his turn to present, David took the stage and said to the audience; “What if I was here to make her day and not yours? What if I was
here to make her day and not mine?”
And thus, because of this “profound experience,” a germ of an idea was born. Although the concept of making someone’s day resonated with him—in
fact, he put “Daymaker” on his business cards—it became more serious thanks to one of his clients. On a regular styling schedule, she unexpectedly dropped by one day off-schedule, asking David to style her hair. When he asked her if something important was going on, she told him that she just wanted to look especially good for the evening.
Intuition told him that something more was going on and so he handled her differently, taking great pains to show her how special she was and to make her as beautiful as possible—in other words, trying his hardest to make her day.
“She looked amazing,” he recalls. “Two days later I got a note from her; she had been planning to commit suicide the night of the day she came in. But she changed her mind after the care I showed her. This is when Daymaking went from being cute to being profound.”
Other Daymaking opportunities arose; in fact, David treated every guest as if they were this one woman. Not only did this positively affect those clients who were recipients of this new approach, Daymaking galvanized David, giving him a greater sense of clarity about his purpose. It also changed his ideas about the profession and its impact peoples’ lives.
“I used to think what we did on the outside was superficial, but I realized sometimes beauty has to come from the outside in,” he explains. And sometimes when this happens, it can inspire people to make life-changing decisions, adds David, recalling when one of his clients was so inspired by her new look that she (finally) gave her abusive boyfriend the boot.
Now everyone on his team is a Daymaker—Juut attracts those who want to be Daymakers and who embrace its values of creativity, love and passion. It’s an approach based in love.
“This is easy to say but it’s difficult to emulate,” David says. “Our whole purpose is transforming the world with beauty, not only the client but our staff, our business, each other, and society’s idea of beauty.”
Even so, this doesn’t mean David or his managers are pushovers; business is business after all. And when someone isn’t the right fit, they won’t
hesitate to cutties. “A loving action is also letting people go so they can right their behavior,” David explains. “When we let someone go, we do it with love and grace. It’s not about keeping people; it’s a false kindness to keep people past the time they should be there.”
David certainly has had ups and downs and, thanks to a cancer diagnosis, more than a few scares along the way. But Daymaking has been his rudder in stormy times, providing the mantra by which he lives his life: “Today I promise myself to live in joy. Today I promise myself to share love. Today I promise myself to be a Daymaker.”
This, he says, is his predominant thought. “Thought leads to action, and action leads to experience. When we decide to be Daymakers, the doing comes naturally.”
Want to find out the one question you should always ask a new client? Interested in opening up your own salon but don’t know how to get started? Dealing with staff conflict and don’t know what to do? Listen to this inspiring interview to get David’s insights on these and other issues. To
learn more about the Daymaker Project and Juut Salonspa, visit: