Entrepreneur Sherrie Funk has skillfully run many small businesses over the past few years, with plenty of support. But, after struggling to balance work, family and her well-being, she decided to stick to her roots as a hairstylist by operating a home-based salon.
Funk has always loved a good challenge, so she was determined to manage her own businesses. While she has been passionate about hairstyling, Funk wanted to use her creative personality to her advantage and explore working in interior design and fashion.
Working alongside family and friends, she has owned a small home decor business with her sister and a clothing boutique with her daughters while at the same time continuing hairdressing on the side.
Funk’s family had a big part in the success of each of her businesses. Her sister and mother would often help work the open houses — which is where clients would walk through the house to see what items were being sold, and once they found something that caught their eye, they would then purchase and order it — for the home decor business.
“We were always so busy,” she says. “We even had my husband steaming the clothes.”
Most of the support Funk got came from her daughters, who were in charge of marketing and helping create the website for the clothing boutique. Her oldest daughter even used the marketing skills she learned to start her very own company, running a small gym with her partner.
“I feel like my kids learned a lot more than I did. They got to learn all of the harder business stuff, which really helped my oldest with her company,” says Funk.
Her youngest daughter, Kenzie Funk, 20, says that working with her mom and sister was a memorable experience as she got to watch their passions grow, each in different ways. She says that it also helped her better understand the fundamentals of running a business.
“I definitely realized how hard it is to run a business, it’s a lot of damn work and you have to be prepared for that.”
Ultimately, Funk found herself struggling to balance work and her personal life. She says that managing the clothing boutique with her daughters, at the same time as doing hair, was making it difficult for her to keep up with regular life. It wasn’t until she got sick with a bad case of pneumonia that she realized she needed to take a step back.
“I think just trying to balance between my home life and my kids, just being there for them and being able to have a social life. When you become so involved in your work, all that stuff kind of fades away, and it’s hard to stretch yourself out to everything.”
Those around her were also starting to notice the stress she was going through. Her daughter says that at that time, there was never a day that her mom wasn’t sick or tired. She believes that when someone is getting overwhelmed, it’s important to step in.
“Eventually we just had to sit down with her and have a conversation. As much as she was passionate about what she was doing, it wasn’t worth being sick and exhausted all the time,” says Kenzie.
Although it was a difficult decision to shut down some of her businesses, Funk learned valuable lessons from every accomplishment and mistake that she made.
“I got to learn more stuff about myself and realize when I need to take a step back and take care of myself, especially with how sick I got,” she says.“I think that everything you do in life unravels you to where you need to be, and you learn from every single experience.”
After taking a necessary step back, Funk decided it was time to focus on her roots in hairdressing.
Hair has always been a huge part of her life ever since she was a little girl. In high school, she started taking cosmetology. After that, she had to apprentice in a salon, learning skills from other hairdressers. She says some of her skills were also self-taught.
Now, working five days a week from her home salon, Funk is loving being back to the basics. She says that there is just so much to love about being a hairstylist and the relationships between stylist and client is what truly makes the job worth it.
“With hair you just have so many connections, and I’m such an extrovert and I need that social aspect in my life,” Funk says. “You just get to meet so many different people, even just helping people with what they’re going through in their life makes you feel good. They always look and feel so good when they leave. Having that connection is so important and amazing.”
‘Love at first sight’
Christine Pasin, a client of Funk’s for 12 years, says she is professional and talented when it comes to hair and that she knows exactly what will look best on each client. Pasin explains that right from the start, Funk was always so welcoming.
“For me it was love at first sight! She was amazing right from the get-go; it was a really nice change from the stylist I had before her.”
For Pasin, one of the reasons Funk is so different from other hairstylists is that her colour treatments are always so long lasting. Pasin says that people often stop to ask her where she gets her hair done, hoping they can go there too.
In addition to her hair skills, Pasin says Funk is like her very own therapist, and she can tell Funk really cares about each of her clients.
“When you go there, if you have anything that’s going on in life, she’s that person you feel so comfortable with and you can tell her anything.”
Moving forward, Funk plans on keeping her clientele small to maintain that special one-on-one relationship she has with her clients. She hopes to continue working with hair until she and her husband make a move to B.C. Funk wants her story to help others who aren’t sure which career path to go down.
“It’s important to find something that you love to do and that makes you feel good. If you can help other people, that makes it even better.”