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St. Kates gives alumna skills for small business

Goodie Audette chose St. Kate's to pursue her small business/entrepreneurship degree.
Goodie Audette chose St. Kate's to pursue her small business/entrepreneurship degree.
Photo by Kris Drake.

When Goodie Audette ’08 decided to start a family, she realized that it was time to take charge of her working life. A busy, successful hairstylist employed at an upscale St. Paul salon, Audette felt that her demanding, six-day work weeks were incompatible with the kind of “hands-on” mom she hoped to become.

“I wanted the flexibility to make my own schedule,” she says. “I even had the audacity to think that if I went out on my own and was efficient enough, I could work fewer hours and not have to take a pay cut. That was my goal, and that's what pushed me to take the next step.”

For Audette, the next step was to become an independent contractor leasing a chair at a smaller salon. But to make the transition from big salon — where managers took care of marketing, merchandising and advertising — to her own small operation, Audette needed a strong business foundation.

She enrolled in St. Catherine University’s small business/entrepreneurship major. “St. Kate’s had everything I was looking for,” says Audette, including excellent reputation, small class sizes and an  Evening, Weekend and Online Program that offered flexible class hours.

Becoming a small business owner

Audette left a guaranteed salary and benefits at the big, busy salon to rent a chair at The Petite Salon in a quiet neighborhood (West 7th St.). Her St. Kate’s degree gave her the skills to run a business and the perspective to persevere.

“The marketing tools they taught me at St. Kate’s and the accounting background have a huge impact on how I conduct my business,” she says. “But to be honest, the biggest benefit was the confidence I gained from earning my degree from a baccalaureate college for women. In classes, we focused on how women affect the workforce, and after hearing this for a while, you start to feel like you are part of something much larger than yourself.”

Audette created marking materials and special price promotions that lured clients to her new location. In the two years since striking out on her own, she’s kept a full schedule, booking appointments weeks in advance. Her gross revenue now tops six figures.

“I’m proud that I’m earning a good living for myself and my family,” she says.

Audette wants to open her own salon some day, but right now, her two young daughters come first.

“I feel so blessed and lucky, and thankful that I earned the skills that helped me make this transition. I wish I would’ve done it earlier.”

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Read about other entrepreneurial graduates who have gone into business for themselves in St. Catherine University’s magazine, SCAN:

"Success On Her Own Terms"

"Lady vs. The Bugs"

Nov. 1, 2011 by Andy Steiner

See also: Alumnae/i, Business, Students