Meet Your BOK Winner: Belinda Gambuzza of Salon Visage

Winner: Best Hair Salon, Best Nail Salon, Best Day Spa, Best Licensed Massage Therapy

This year is Salon Visage's 25th anniversary—what has it been like watching it grow?

It has been incredible. My first memory is having metal folding chairs for dryer chairs. Our restroom was also our break room, so it's safe to say our budget was low at first. Still, I wouldn't take anything away from our early years because it got us to where we are now. It's just so rewarding having past employees come in with tears in their eyes saying how starting out working for Salon Visage has helped them so much in pursuing their own careers. I'm really comforted by the passion this place has created, and the greatness we promote for our employees in our salon education system.

How did you and your husband Frank first meet?

Well we actually still work together, just not every day. We first met at the airport, where we worked at different salons. Frank was just starting Salon Visage and he was taking a lot of my customers. I did haircuts and color at that point and I noticed a lot of my clients would come in just for coloring because they had already had their hair cut by Frank. Anyway, we happened upon each other at a hair show and international convention in New York with over 50,000 people there. Frank invited me to lunch and I was still bitter at that point. He was from New York so he showed me around and by the end of the day we were in love. After that Frank started sending me clients instead of stealing them.

I know you and your husband are very active in the Knoxville community. How has this helped both the people of Knoxville and your businesses?

Well, we have been a part of many different causes, from schools, to auctions, to national groups like Ronald McDonald House. All of our employees are very active in these causes as well. Overall, we probably get around 20 requests a day! Knoxville is so good to us, so we like to give back. We like to live by the platinum rule, which is a step up from the golden rule in that we treat others how they wish to be treated.

I've heard you are opening a Studio Visage in Market Square in the next couple of months.

Basically, Studio Visage is full-service hair care studio with some of the best up and coming talent. Our education is the foundation of our company. What we do is hire recent graduates at our Studio Visage, where they gain confidence, learn clients' needs, and get advanced training and technical ability.

What do you enjoy the most out of running a salon?

The people. I'm a people person. My clients are such a valuable resource to me. I can think of one thing I want to learn more about, and by the end of the day, I'll know everything I need to know on the subject, just because of the casual conversation with my clientele. Openness and being close with so many different people is definitely one of the perks in this business.