Hair extraordinaire Andrea Steckler never thought she would enjoy being in the hair industry until she rented her first salon chair. Initially, Steckler described her career choice as a shortsighted decision, an easy way to earn a degree with minimum schooling. Now, she believes hair is her life’s calling.
For the last 22 years, Steckler has worked at different salons around Downtown Bellevue. She immediately fell in love with her work and likes being part of the reason people feel good about themselves. After decades of building her knowledge and skills, Steckler purchased Salon TEWL in 2019 from a previous owner. She had plans to change the business name until she found out what it stood for: Treat Everyone With Love. Steckler thought it fit perfectly with her vision of creating a space where everyone can "feel like a 10."
Learn more about Steckler's experience opening a business during a pandemic, the environment she wants to provide and her favorite places around the heart of Bellevue.
What does the environment feel like in your salon?
You know when you go somewhere and you don’t quite fit in or feel like you belong there? I wanted to create the opposite feeling of that. My idea was to design a space where everyone could feel comfortable. It’s so important to me that the people who walk through our doors can come to us for advice and discuss any issues they’re facing with their hair identity. That goes the same for my stylists that work here. When I became a business owner, I realized I had this influential power. I wanted to do right by the people I work with and it’s a fantastic feeling to see our stylists work their way up. I feel proud when I see them succeed.
What was it like opening your first business during a pandemic?
We were open for six months before the shutdown When we came back, our customer's safety was our priority. We spaced out chairs, wore masks and disinfected surfaces. I think the decision for me to open came at the perfect time. That pause where we had to close and slow down gave me a chance to establish the ideal team, learn new experiences as a business owner and find a way to position myself in Downtown Bellevue. Now, our business is booming as we see more people having weddings, parties and get-togethers again.
What is your favorite hair service?
I love doing significant transformations, so my favorite service to do is extensions. I resisted extensions for a while because I didn’t feel comfortable doing them, but then I met an inspiring client who came in with hair loss from stress in her life. She allowed me to do hair experimentation on her and it turned out so well. Hair is that outfit you can’t take off. It’s the biggest piece of your outward appearance and it’s a way to express yourself.
Why do you love working in Downtown Bellevue?
Working in Downtown Bellevue is amazing. I’ve been here forever, and I can say for certain I’m never leaving. When I first moved here, I remember there were 16 cranes in the sky, and now the skyline is unrecognizable. It’s such an up-and-coming scene, you want to be here because of how new and amazing it feels to be in a city like this. There’s really no place like Downtown Bellevue.
Where are your favorite places to dine in Downtown?
I love Main Street. They have cute little boutiques on every corner -- My favorite has to be Glassybaby, they have a great local story and I’m all about supporting female entrepreneurs.
Any favorite hidden gems in Bellevue?
This may not be everyone’s hidden gem but I think Central Bar + Restaurant is mine. I love the atmosphere and vibe of the space. It’s so posh and comfortable to be in. It’s a beautiful, dark space tucked in this alleyway. More people should go there.
Where do you see Downtown Bellevue in 5-10 years?
I really don’t see the growth stopping any time soon. The market here is so hot right now and I think five years down the road, the city will go through the biggest boom we’ve had in years. There will be tons of new restaurants and, hopefully, more local businesses around.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I see myself on the same path as Bellevue, growing at a fast pace too. As a new business in a pandemic, I felt forced to do uncomfortable things and dealt with tons of learning experiences. From that, I gained a wealth of knowledge I would not have otherwise. I see the salon and myself continuing to succeed from here.
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