Business Spotlight: New beauty school to open in Carson City
Submitted by Brett Fisher on Fri, 04/14/2017
The last time Brandy Gayner walked through the doors of 1851 South Roop Street, she was a student at the Carson City Beauty Academy, which closed in July 2014.
Now she's returning to the space as owner of an all-new beauty school preparing for its first class in just a few weeks.
The Sierra Academy of Style (SAS) is expected to open for classes on May 2, Gayner said. Enrollment is still open until May 1, she said.
Gayner co-founded the school with her husband, Anthony, a sales and marketing professional who also moonlights as a gold miner. She said the couple originally sought to open a salon together, but in listening to the needs of the community she said they both felt a training facility was needed more.
"We were going to open up a salon, but when Carson City Beauty Academy closed, we realized that Carson City really needed this more than another salon," she said. "So we started looking into it to see what it would take, and the next thing we know, everything is falling into place. It's like it was just meant to be."
The Gayners said they consulted with Carson City Business Development Manager Michael Salogga, who helped them craft a business plan that got them the financing needed for the school. They then worked with Andie Wilson at NAI Alliance to find the ideal location for their new business venture.
Turns out it was right where Brandy Gayner had left off nearly four years ago.
Although the 12,700 square-foot facility is more than enough space than the academy needs, taking over the old Carson City Beauty Academy made the most practical sense.
"Shopping around Carson City, this one made the most sense because it already had the plumbing we needed in place," Brandy Gayner said.
Plus much of the equipment from by the old academy had been left behind for use by the building's new tenants.
But the Gayners want to make clear that SAS is not connected with the former Carson City Beauty Academy.
"We're not affiliated with the old school at all," Anthony Gayner said. "We have nothing to do with the old school."
Brandy Gayner said SAS is setting itself apart from the old academy as a school for the community, not simply in the community.
"We're getting a great response from the community and are really excited," she said. "We're going to care about our students."
Anthony Gayner said SAS will be distinguished from the old academy because it is fully investing in its students, their clients as well as the Carson City arts culture.
"We're here for the students and for the community," he said. "This town has become really rich in the arts, and cosmetology is an art. This really finishes the whole Carson City arts scene."
To build the reputation of a business that's for the community, the Gayners said they are going to keep prices affordable both for students and clients. This means offering classes at a tuition rate that is substantially less than competition elsewhere in the region.
"All of our prices are reasonable," Anthony said. "We're anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 less than the Reno schools because we care about our community."
Payment terms are reasonable, too, the Gayners said. Besides a partnership with United Federal Credit Union to provide lenient credit terms on loans, SAS will also offer a self-pay program for students.
"Just because you may not have the credit worthiness doesn't mean you don't deserve to go to school," Anthony said. "To show our support to our community and our students, we are taking a risk with this self-pay option."
Brandy Gayner said the value of an education through SAS also transcends dollars and cents. A comprehensive cosmetology program -- which consists of formal training in hair, nails and skin -- can be completed in as little as 11 months of full-time school.
"Everybody pushes for that four-year degree," she said. "If you go to school full-time for cosmetology, our longest program, you'll be done in 11 months. And you'll only spend a fraction of what you would with a four-year degree. After that 11 months, you can start making money."
The Gayners said that while SAS is not accredited, this doesn't mean students won't receive the same quality education attained elsewhere at a larger institution. They will also be prepared to sit for the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology licensing exams, too.
"The Nevada State Board of Cosmetology recognizes us as the same as all of the major schools," Anthony said. "We are the exact same."
Accreditation, Brandy Gayner explained, is really just following a set of hourly curriculum standards and guidelines. It has no bearing on whether or not a student is prepared to enter the profession or the workforce.
"The difference with being unaccredited is that we are not held to a specific standard," she said. "If you are really good in one area, but need help in another, we can give you the focus on the areas you need help on. This gives us the freedom to adjust training to individual strengths."
The Gayners said they are really focused on ensuring the SAS curriculum is practical and preparatory. They said they don't just want their students to learn the trade. They also want them to find success in it, too.
"We really want to teach our students hands-on real world knowledge, what they are going to face out there," Anthony said. "Our motto is to keep the student first in everything we do."
Brandy Gayner said SAS will go a step further than meeting state licensing standards by teaching its students how to succeed in the profession.
"We are going to train them and teach them on what they are going to be doing in real life," she said. "Not just what the state board dictates."
Although the first day and night classes are due to begin in a few weeks, the school will not be open to the public for services until July or August, the Gayners said, because students are required to log at least 300 hours of classroom training before they can even touch a client for the first time.
For more information on the Sierra Academy of Style, call 775-885-7417 or email firstname.lastname@example.org