LINCOLN — Imagine thumbing through a magazine while in line at the grocery store — like we all do — when you see it, your business made the top 100 list.
For Anna Evans-Bayer, this wasn’t something she had to dream about. She lived it.
When Elle magazine’s August issue came out she saw it. Her Lincoln salon, Sisu Hairdressing, made the list of the top 100 salons in the country.
“I freaked out,” she said while laughing, still in disbelief. “I told my husband it was the best day of my life since our wedding day.”
Elle magazine emailed Evans-Bayer in late spring asking her about trends her salon is seeing.
“But they never told us it was going to be in the magazine,” she said.
The 2003 Scotus Central Catholic graduate was raised in a way that taught her to do what she loved without focusing singularly on money.
“People always say, 'You’re so lucky to be where you are, but you worked really hard to get there.' I understand what they’re saying because there has been a lot of hard work that has gone into it, but to me, I don’t see it as work because I just love it so much,” said Evans-Bayer, who graduated in 2006 from Xenon International Academy in Omaha.
Evans-Bayer became an artistic director, then director of education, at a prestigious Lincoln salon and is now the state’s only TIGI Talent Creative Colour Force member, making her part of an elite group of colorists who travel the country sharing their knowledge of the art of hair color with other hairdressers.
Everything she was touching turned into what seemed like an overnight success.
There was no doubt Evans-Bayer has what it takes to be a business owner, despite her young age.
“I knew what I wanted. I just had to figure out exactly how to get there as best I could with the opportunities that were presented,” she said.
Evans-Bayer had the drive to run her own business, but was smart enough to know she needed to wait.
“I knew I had to take a year or year and a-half to plan how I was going to do it — to map out a business plan and what the concept was going to be," she said.
During the business planning stage, Evans-Bayer knew she would benefit by working as an independent hairdresser, operating out of a rented booth in a Lincoln salon.
If her plate wasn’t full enough, she also found time to marry the love of her life, Tony Bayer.
“He trusts my ability to succeed and supports me in any crazy idea I’ve ever had, whether it’s bad or not,” she said.
In 2012, at the age of 27, all her hard work, patience and dedication paid off as she opened her own salon in southeast Lincoln — Sisu Hairdressing.
She chose the name Sisu because its Finnish translation means the determination to walk through stone, strength of will and perseverance.
“It has been a journey of perseverance and taken strength of will to make my dreams come true,” she said.
Her salon, which has just six total employees, attracts clients from across the state and others who fly in from all over the country, just to get the perfect hair.
“We know trends and we work within that, but it’s not fully about that," she said, adding that the stylists work with each customer's individual hair texture and lifestyle.
“We’re diverse," Evans-Bayer said. "I feel like we have different stylists that meet different needs for different clientele.”
Evans-Bayer is constantly updating her stylists on new trends with in-house education, sometimes flying educators in from other states.
“In order for the stylists to continue to grow and not just do the same haircut every day and every year, we continue to progress and grow to become better,” she said. “I didn’t open the salon to be a business woman, I opened the salon in order to work in an environment that I thought was positive where people could grow, be prosperous and happy.”
It’s no wonder Elle magazine named her salon one of the country's best.