Salon brings AMBIANCE to community
Teamwork is key at Oconomowoc’s Ambiance Salon

By Eric Oliver - Enterprise Staff

Feb. 5, 2015

Jen Simons and Justin Osterloh own Ambiance Salon, which has been in business since 2002. The two of them dream of being one of the best places to work in Lake Country.  
Submitted photo

OCONOMOWOC — Jen Simons knows how to take care of Oconomowoc, because for her entire life Oconomowoc has taken care of her.

Simons has run Ambiance Salon for the past thirteen years. Her partner, Justin Osterloh, joined her in April 2010.

During Simons’ 13-year run she has worn a variety of hats in the salon world from doing everything herself, to renting chairs to other girls, to what she is doing today, teaching.

Osterloh spoke to the Enterprise on the behalf of the salon and how it is a part of the community.

ENTERPRISE: Why a salon?

OSTERLOH: The salon gives us the opportunity to work the way we want to work with the team we want to work with to carve out our place in the community we love.

ENTERPRISE: How did it all start?

OSTERLOH: Jen was working with a woman who moved away from Oconomowoc so she took over the lease and her journey began.

ENTERPRISE: What has the salon grown into today?

OSTERLOH: The salon is a team-based pay AVEDA concept salon focusing on AVEDA hair color, hair cutting, AVEDA makeup and all organic spray tanning.

ENTERPRISE: What will it be five years from now?

OSTERLOH: Our dream is for the salon to be considered one of the best places to work in the Lake Country.

ENTERPRISE: How does it feel to be so cemented into the community of Oconomowoc?

OSTERLOH: We take pride in being part of the community and look forward to giving back as we grow so we can thank the community for all its years of support.

ENTERPRISE: What is your most memorable story?

OSTERLOH: So many we could fill the entire paper, but I think the most meaningful are the times when it’s just the two of us working together to make this thing work. For example, we opened the new salon in January 2011 and we had appointments on the books for that morning. So throughout the holidays we were there throughout the clock. We were supposed to go to a New Year’s party but we ended up tiling till 4 in the morning because we had appointments on that Monday, so I mean that sort of speaks at us trying to get everything together so we could open and get going.

ENTERPRISE: What do you think the future of the community is like?

OSTERLOH: With all the residential and commercial development in Oconomowoc it is a exciting time to be in business and as a consumer and resident there are more choices to spend our hard-earned money.

ENTERPRISE: What is one thing you’d want everyone to know about your salon?

OSTERLOH: We are a team-based pay salon, which means we do not rent chairs and we do not pay commission on services or retail sales. Unlike traditional salons we pay a guaranteed wage plus bonuses tied to hitting team goals that drive the growth of our business. This form of compensation produces a consistent paycheck for our staff and promotes teamwork.

In the future, our business will be able to provide benefits like 401(k), health and paid time off, things that traditional salons have historically been unable to provide.

Our entire staff is responsible for each guest experience. At Ambiance Salon we are all responsible for growing the business and we all reap the benefits of that growth. We have a skill certification process that every one of our team members must complete. This ensures that our guests receive consistent service no matter who completes their service. We practice the highest level of teamwork; many times two and three team members provide services to a guest.

For example, one staff member might apply a color service another may shampoo that same guest and a third team member may perform a haircut on that guest. Team booking accomplishes two things: First, we can accommodate our guest’s busy schedules because we utilize all team members schedules to their fullest. Guests no longer have to be put on a waiting list to see their favorite service provider; we encourage guests to see multiple team members. Variety is the spice of life! Secondly, although we skill certify, we all have strengths and weaknesses. Team booking ensures the most qualified staff member performs each part of a guest’s service. We believe in true teamwork and the result is a superior guest experience. We have a saying at Ambiance Salon, “Everything is the most important thing.” We invite everyone to come see our point of difference!

Is your business a proud part of the community?

Email Eric Oliver at and tell him why.