More than four decades ago, a free haircut was the catalyst that ultimately set a construction worker on a whole new career path.
In 1977, Fort Worth resident Tim McDowell was working in construction when he accepted an offer for a free haircut from a student hairstylist. He was inspired by the vibrant atmosphere of the salon. Soon after that experience, he quit his job to attend a hair and beauty school.
A few years later, McDowell bought his first salon. Unfortunately, this first effort did not pan out. McDowell told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he “didn’t have any business training” and made many mistakes along the way.
In the 80s, McDowell spent time doing hair and makeup in the fashion industry in Paris. He also traveled to different hair shows across the country with Paul Mitchell. McDowell even dipped his toes into the film industry in 1984 when he worked on the horror-comedy Blood Suckers from Outer Space.
He then opened a second salon, but again this venture proved unsuccessful.
The third time proved to be the charm when McDowell and his wife, Donna, opened a salon in 2004 in Near Southside off Magnolia Avenue. By then, McDowell felt he had gained the necessary business experience and knowledge to succeed. He stated they “started with the philosophy that customer service is the No.1.”
That philosophy seems to be working. Just recently, the Magnolia Avenue Salon won the Star-Telegram Readers’ Choice poll for the best hair salon in Fort Worth, accumulating over 69,000 votes. The business has expanded and now has 14 stylists and employees.
McDowell focused on hiring employees who are good with people and friendly. He stated, “You can teach people to cut hair, but you can’t teach them to be friendly.”
The salon offers various services, including color, foil work, cutting, men’s grooming, styling, eyebrow waxing, custom work, and more.
The McDowells are now stepping back to let their son and daughter-in-law manage the business and marketing of the company.
Donna is still amazed that they could achieve all they have, saying, “This is what we dreamed of, but we never knew that our dreams were going to come true.”