For anyone who doesn't know, Christine Gatto is the talented beauty behind the popular downtown salon, Salon Gatto. The salon is a local favorite according to the Little Hoboken Awards, offers one of the best blowouts in town according to our readers and editors, and is spearheaded by a bad ass mama of two adorable little boys!
As a salon owner, your busiest hours are nights and weekends. That means more time away from your family, right? How do you balance the work/mom life with such a busy schedule?
No matter the industry, being a working mother has its challenges and guilt. You feel guilty when leaving your children or leaving your business. I’ve learned to live in the present so I can give 100% of myself when at work or at home with my children. At home, I try to put the devices away and enjoy the moment right in front of me! At work, I have an incredible team that has Gatto’s back and keeps it operating like a well-oiled machine.
We know that we are around the same age, so we have seen many of the same hair styles come and go. The Rachel, anyone? What is the worst hairstyle you ever had?
Honestly, I don’t hate on any past haircut especially "The Rachel." Jennifer Aniston is the hair icon of the past 2 decades! She stays current and on trend, BUT if you’re still stuck on "The Rachel" then we need to have a conversation, girl!
We aren’t sure why stylists are so therapeutic, but we're sure that people really tell you some crazy stuff during their appointments. What is the weirdest story someone ever told you?
There is definitely a therapeutic aspect in hair and in my position, I’ve heard it ALL, but a Hairdresser never tells!
What advice would you give someone looking to start their own venture and leaving the security of “working for the man” behind?
Plan and prepare! Write a business plan! Create the organization and operating structure that best supports the goals of your business. When game time arrives and your business is in motion, there will be very little time to allocate to planning and preparation. It's best to have your playbook before the game begins so after launch, you're focused on executing your growth plan rather than backtracking.
When you do finally get a night out with your hubs, where are your favorite local date night spots?
I recently scheduled out a babysitter for the next few months. It is very important to get out and have fun -- and for your kids to see you happy and having fun together! In Hoboken we love Grand Vin, Stingray Lounge, and Antique Bakery. Obviously, we love to eat & drink!
What is the best business advice anyone ever gave you? How about the worst?
I studied Zappos Insights before launching Gatto and there was a real focus on developing Core Values into the fabric of the business. At Gatto, we live and breathe ours. It really unites us and gives us guidance on how to operate each and every day consistently aligned with Gatto’s brand, despite the many scenarios that play out on any given day.
For the worst advice, I’m not quite sure since I probably let it go in one ear and out the other, haha. One thing is for sure, people always want to give you their 2 cents when it comes to business and what they think. It’s important to develop a good intuition about whose feedback to value. Ultimately, it’s your business and will be your good decisions and hard work that make it successful.
What is your funniest mom-fail moment?
Hands-down, learning to bring back-up clothes. We’ve all been there with poop to the ears and nothing to change them into. All you can do is laugh and say, it's just poop, the kid will survive. While at the same time, internally panicking, running into Baby Gap and spending money on an outfit that you probably don’t need! And ewww, I like to wash everything first! #doublemomfail
What is your favorite thing about raising a family in Hoboken?
SO MUCH! I couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere else. The ability to walk everywhere. The ease of enjoying life as adults with access to kid-friendly restaurants, amazing parks, and most importantly, the incredible community of families. I’m so thankful to all my mom friends, clients, and platforms like Little Hoboken that unite us! Oh, and did I mention the fact that you don’t ever have to drive, so enjoying some adult beverages is never an issue!
How does motherhood inspire you in business?
In a way, Gatto is my first child and I continue to put my heart and soul into it. My family has shown me many things from another perspective. Especially patience! The lessons learned and skills developed from family life find their way into my leadership of Gatto. Having a mentorship program for the up and coming stylist is a “motherly” role in itself. One of the best parts of my job is educating and leading others in their career paths.
A day in the life of Christine....go!
Just like any mom, I'm a multi-tasking queen! There’s 3 of me. Average day always consists of Mommin... we all know the drill! From diapers, cooking, cleaning, and playing. Biz woman kicks in and I’m hitting a workout before the grind begins. Running a small business is no joke! The tasks would be enough to fill this page. Let’s just say the hustle goes on until I head home to get some quality time with the kids before they're out for the night. That’s when wife mode goes into effect. With a large exhale, comes a glass of wine, a top knot, comfy clothes, and cooking a nice meal for my hubby and I. My boys fill my heart and my job feeds my soul and although the juggle is a lot at times, I wouldn’t want it any other way.