I spoke to Tabatha Coffey, the no-nonsense hair dresser turned TV host, author and business coach, in anticipation of her season premiere tonight on Bravo. This season, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover becomes Tabatha Takes Over as the tell-it-like-it-is queen of common sense tries to save a gay bar, a doggie day care, a bed and breakfast and a beauty school.
“So many people have written to me to say ‘I wish you would come to my business and help me,’” Coffey says. “It’s a natural progression. Business is business–especially when you’re dealing with the customer service industry and all the problems small businesses face.”
She starts the season true to her roots, by taking over Jungle Red Salon in Minneapolis. Bravo’s plot summary says “Owner Suzanne Erickson seems more interested in acting like a teenager than a boss.” Coffey is actually gentler: “Suzanne got off track. She was one of the girls, which is really a problem. You have to be a leader and hold your staff accountable.”
Coffey, who is still in touch with Jungle Red, says things at the salon are going much better now. She applauds Jungle Red for getting organized, getting better educated and dreaming up a signature hair cut, “The Sex Kitten.” “It’s very fitting for Jungle Red,” Coffey says. “And anything that helps you stand out in the market is a great thing. I think they’ll do well.”
She was less optimistic about H Design Salon at Lake and Lyndale, which will also be taken over by Tabatha later this season. “It was a unique situation. The owner is not a hairdresser. He didn’t know what he needed to give his staff to do their jobs effectively.” And it sounds like he didn’t take much advice.
“I do my best to go and try to help people see things from a different point of view,” Coffey says. “At the end of the day, as much as I try to get the staff to be honest about their problems, if the leader of the team doesn’t want to listen to that advice, things aren’t going to change.”
Attend a Tabatha viewing party tonight on the second floor of Seven, 700 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. The Jungle Red staff will be there to reveal “The Sex Kitten” cut in a runway show, and watch the episode, which airs at 9 p.m. on Bravo.
Want more? Listen to my conversation with Tabatha on Shop Girls, myTalk107.1 (halfway through hour 2 of Jan. 7 show.)