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Eric Fisher Academy finds beauty in business plan

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 10:11 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 18, 2013, at 12:08 p.m.

Eric Fisher Academy

Division: Tier 2

Owners: Eric and Mary Fisher

Year founded: 2007

Address: 6727 W. Central

Phone: 316-440-5555

Website: www.ericfisheracademy.com

For decades, Eric Fisher has been known locally and internationally for hairstyling.

He has Eric Fisher Salons on Wichita’s east and west sides and in Derby, and he regularly travels the globe as a freelance hairstylist.

These days, though, Fisher’s focus – and acclaim – is on his work helping train hundreds of future salon owners through his Eric Fisher Academy and through creating a new business training plan.

“We have taught this in our school for some time. This just formalizes it,” Fisher said. “It’s a program we hope to tell to other beauty schools.”

He said it’s “an amazing undertaking.”

“That’s our big news right now,” Fisher said. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, by the way, but it’s fantastic.”

He said he began by asking, “What would the best school look like? … What’s a checklist?”

He toured top schools nationally.

“Everybody was so kind. We really learned a lot from that exercise.”

Fisher compared objective measurements from other top schools.

He says as much of a creative business as a salon can be, it’s also one filled with red tape from government regulations.

“That’s our biggest challenge,” Fisher said. “We spend so much busy time … that we consider busy work.”

A lot of the business curriculum comes from his own academy, which has been much lauded.

“We’ve got national presence now,” Fisher said. “It takes a while to do.”

Numerous awards he’s won from the North American Hairstyling Awards – the Academy Awards of hairdressing – have helped.

“We’re the only school in history that’s been in it every year and won it as well,” Fisher said.

He said the academy has been named best business school, best marketer and educator of the year.

“The culture’s fabulous,” Fisher said of his employees and students, 200 of whom go through the academy annually.

“We’ve had opportunities to put more schools in,” he said. “I’ve turned them down simply because quality is No. 1 with me. … I just want to make sure it’s successful, so I’m really concentrating on that.”

Fisher still cuts hair four days a week and travels extensively.

Fisher didn’t realize he wanted to be in the salon business until his father, a test pilot, dropped him off in London on one of his routes and suggested he visit the Sassoon school.

He’s now living a dream he never even knew to have, particularly with the school.

“It’s just the best high anybody could wish for, you know?”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com.

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