CoLab *An Interview with Erin Childs, Founder, Owner, and Hair Artist

Warm. Soothing. Peaceful. Welcoming.

Those are the feelings that came to my mind upon entering CoLab on a cloudy Monday morning. I had the pleasure of spending Erin’s day off with her, getting to know her vision, her values, and what she believes about herself and the world.

Erin truly cares about her craft, the environment, and every single person she interacts with. For her, owning a salon is about making people feel cared for and listened to (love that!). In her interview, Erin gives us great advice on owning your own business, following what is true for you, and living an inspired life.

Hey, when you stop by, be sure to let her know Winter Moon sent you!

Without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Erin Childs…

tell us about CoLab?

CoLab is a boutique hair salon that specializes in hair services for all hair types.

what made you decide to start CoLab?

Freedom, my desire to run and do business in the way that has me, and the world, feeling good.

What would you say is your big vision for CoLab?

For my city to fall in love with CoLab as their salon and to know it as a business that cares greatly and contributes immensely to the people of our city.

tell us about how you came up with the name CoLab?

It is short for the word collaboration, my favorite and best way of doing life.

how would you describe the vibe in your salon?

I would describe it as beautiful, as in an edifice to beauty. Sophisticated, comfy, and approachable.

what feelings do you want your clients to walk away with?

I would like for them all to leave feeling heard, at ease, and joyous.

why do you do what you do?

Because I love it, I believe that it is a big part of my purpose for being here.

when did your passion for hairdressing start?

When I started teaching it.

what inspires you?

People and humanity inspire me. I want to show up being and doing my best for all the people I see and talk to in my day. And that inspiration comes from Spirit and Creation.

if you had to chose one person in your whole life that has inspired you, who would that be and why?

My dear friend and mentor Julie Baum. She is the most incredible human being. She demonstrates levels of gratefulness, patience, listening, generosity and kindness on a daily basis that are highly uncommon and seemingly impossible. She can light up a room full of people and leave them all sustaining their brightness long after she departs. She is unique and free-spirited with always a bit of mischief about her.

if you could drop everything and do ONE thing, what would you do?!

Ride my bike across New Zealand’s South Island. I visited last year and I can’t get that land out of my head. Also, it would clearly be an amazing adventure!

what is the best place you’ve traveled to?

Queenstown, New Zealand. It is the most spectacular place I have ever seen and I saw it with my sister and got to visit with our friend who lives there, that helps!

where are you from and where do you live now?

I grew up overseas and also on the East Coast of FL. I am currently a new home owner in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, FL.

as a business owner what are some of your personal self care practices?

Prayer/meditating, journaling, gym/bike riding, cooking for myself, reading/class for self growth, spending time with my family and friends, spending time outside every day. I would recommend them all to anyone and as a business owner I think there isn’t room to not do these things and stay mentally and physically healthy.

what made you decide to open CoLab here in St. Petersburg?

I’ve lived here for 12 years now and I love it. I wanted to do it for St. Pete and be part of the small business movement here.

describe St. Petersburg in a few words.

That’s tough, I have so many good words for it… small but big, artist, young spirited and beautiful.

when do you feel the most creative?

When I am most at peace and present in the moment. I have no thoughts that get in the way of my natural expression then. When I need a head check I go outside and usually I am all better for it.

what are your personal favorite books?

Where the Red Fern Grows, it was the first book that made me want take time out of playing to read. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, because I lived in England at the time and desperately wanted my wardrobe to be magical
Then I stopped having all time favorites and now my favorite book is the one I’m currently reading. Right now I have committed to read the Bible in its entirety for the first time this year. The King James Version, which is going a bit like translation and puzzle solving. I am enjoying it.

when do you feel your best?

When I’m well rested.

how did you know it was time to open up your business? In other words, when did you know it was time to JUMP?

I suppose it was an idea that came up and over time I let it unfold. And when it was the right time I just knew and it went quickly. 3 years prior to opening the salon I had the idea and along with a partner and friend at the time, developed a concept and found a space. When I started working the business plan I figured out there were some things that I need to work through as a person. Three years later I emerged a renewed person ready to open my salon.  It took getting divorced,  being fired from a 10yr held job and a massive brake down in my relationship with my family to be the person to have the kind of business I wanted.  It was ugly and beautiful as a process. I opened my salon in two months from the time I signed the lease for the building.

what do you think is the most important thing to focus on when running your business?

My daily attitude, perception, and intentions.

what are some non negotiable daily practices you have?

Kindness, honoring one’s word, doing good work, and taking a break when needed.

what would you say is the best thing about running your own business?

The freedom I experience in owning it and throughout my life because of it.

as a business owner, what is your take on following your gut instinct aka intuition?

Following ones gut or intuition is the only way have peace and success together I believe.  There is no peace to be found in controlling things or trying to make things happen. Only worry and fear.  For me it is an experience of faith. I set my intentions each day for the day and I let the details work themselves out.  I have to deal with my fears and anxiety at times in this process. I have found with practice it does get easier for me to not give those particular feelings power.

favorite quote.

That changes regularly as well as I use them to live into. This one I like now:

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
Julia Cameron

any words of advice would you give to our readers wanting to start a business?

I would offer loads of encouragement and I would happy to share my own experience in opening and running a business. I will be leaving my contact information below and I would be happy to talk to anyone that so desires.

what kinds of social media can we follow you on, & how can our readers contact you?

We are on Instagram and Facebook as CoLab Salon. I can be contacted by calling 727.914.4930 or by emailing us: colabsalon1 [at] gmail.com