Gemy opened Studio 39 on July 5th of 2001 in a loft space on 39th Street. Eight weeks later we experienced one of the worst tragedies in U.S. history on 9/11. She was 24 years old, like the rest of the country she was devastated. Opening a business at this young age, during this unique time would shape her and the salon. The future was uncertain, but the nation quickly united in compassion and strength. She focused on the present by making the salon a place that brought people together. She drew inspiration from the 39th Street community. In the early millennium it was a neighborhood of diverse shops and restaurants, the perfect place to establish a studio of artistic expression through style. Areas of specialty work were rare in local salons, her approach to cutting and color soon gained attention. She began working with assistants to serve her large clientele and still had a wait-list that stretched for months, but her assistants were developing into confident stylists. With the belief that success can be taught and shared, the answer was obvious. The salon grew in loyal staff and client base alike and the stylists eventually became mentors as well. Soon Studio 39 became a Kansas City favorite by becoming one of the top requested salons in the area. The team consists of a group of stylists chosen for personality, skill and talent. Over the years they have fund-raised for toy drives, shelters, oil spill cleanup, wildlife rescue, after school programs, sponsored families in need, and volunteered at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Since September of 2001, Studio 39 has offered a discount to military, law enforcement and first responders.
Becoming a Signature Salon
With a focus on teamwork and education, the salon had a great start. In late 2008 a recession came that would impact small business. While many were downsizing or closing, Studio 39 was evolving. Leaving 39th street was not an easy choice, but future growth required a different space. She found a sleek gallery space in the emerging West Side/Crossroads area but kept the name to honor the salons beginning. After a brief maternity leave in 2010 she began new construction. The first year in the Westside art space would mark the beginning of an era of unprecedented growth, just two years later another expansion was needed. This time she wanted a permanent salon home they could not outgrow, but in post-recession KC development had come to a halt. In 2012 she found a 4,000 square foot warehouse in the historic Bottling District and her largest project began. In January of 2013 the salon opened doors for a third time on the south edge of the Crossroads. The eclectic style of 39th street combined with the colors of the of the gallery building created the Zen inspired urban escape that became the Studio 39 Brand. As growth continues, it serves as a flagship location for future locations. The salon is opening a second location in Spring of 2019 in the Lakewood area of Lee’s Summit.
I know what growing up a in a family business is like. Mine was in construction and real estate, so I didn’t think of the salon as a family business. In our staff we have sisters, cousins, and best friends and it can be difficult for others to understand what salon life is like. We get each other. We enjoy spending time together in and out of the salon. I feel that’s becoming more rare in a workplace, but our dynamics are special because of the people who choose to work here. Our guests can see that, so it’s easy for them to become part of it as well. I don’t just look for future stylists, I look for future partners, so in a way we are a family business.Gemy Chiarizio
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