Fantastic Sams owners thrive with full houseJanuary 25, 2019
Salon franchise affords couple the flexibility to spend time with family — so they added to their family in a big way
Life was good for Mike and Rebecca Pavlich when they purchased a Fantastic Sams salon outside Denver from her parents. This gave them the flexible, full-time jobs they wanted so they could spend time with their two daughters. The couple inherited a successful business and a team of employees that helped them thrive. Life was good — but it wasn’t complete.
“A business is awesome,” says Rebecca. “You should want to make lots of money. But at the end of the day, our satisfaction comes from the intangibles.”
Shortly after Mike and Rebecca purchased the salon in 2015, they adopted two boys from Congo. Suddenly, the Pavliches were a family of six.
Becoming business owners
Adopting two children wasn’t the only way life drastically changed for the Pavlich family shortly after they purchased their salon. Rebecca lost her father, the man who opened Denver’s first Fantastic Sams salon franchise more than 30 years ago. He helped teach her what she knew about business and led her on the path toward success. Rebecca’s mom, who is happily retired, stepped back in to help guide Rebecca.
“Other than working with my parents, I had no other business experience,” explains Rebecca. “They were just such an unbelievable source of information for the first year.”
Along with sharing the responsibilities of salon ownership with Rebecca, Mike is a fire captain for the Denver Fire Department. He and Rebecca met in high school, and the two became engaged when they were both 19. Rebecca worked on and off for her parents, running several locations before she and Mike purchased the sole salon her parents still owned.
Becoming a family of six
Life was good in 2015. The Pavliches, now business owners, had flexible full-time jobs that allowed them the opportunity to spend more time with their two daughters, Allison and Catherine. They were happy as a family of four, but Rebecca felt a calling. Their family wasn’t whole yet; they hadn’t finished growing. It was time to welcome two more: David and Joseph.
“We had to live in Africa for three months,” says Rebecca. “Our store manager and team ran the salon while we were gone, with the help of my mom. They’re really amazing.”
David and Joseph, now 8 and 7, are not blood brothers, but they have been together since they were babies and are brothers in every other sense of the word. They quickly bonded with their new family, especially their older sisters Allison and Catherine, now 11 and 10.
Rebecca says now they’re one big, happy family.
“My oldest daughter recently told me life is so much better with more kids in our family, and that was so nice. They were old enough to remember life without the boys, but for her to make that statement is pretty cool. They’re remarkably close. They’re best friends.”
Growing and giving back
David and Joseph made life feel complete for the Pavlich family, and they also inspired their new parents to help other families in need. David almost died from malaria before he was adopted, and the Pavliches felt it was their calling to protect other parents from experiencing a devastating loss due to this disease. According to the World Health Organization, there were 435,000 deaths due to Malaria in 2017 and an estimated 219 million cases in 90 countries. The disease, which is transmitted to people through mosquito bites, is treatable and curable with the right resources.
“Malaria is so simple to treat, and it’s so cheap,” explains Rebecca, who is passionately committed to helping those suffering from the disease. “It weighed heavily on our hearts when we saw how sick David became. To imagine being the mom whose child is dying in front of her, needing just $3 to $5 worth of medicine, but they can’t afford it… I end up in tears.”
The Pavliches use their Fantastic Sams salon franchise as a means to give back to their community — and the world. They fundraise for Global Refuge International every year on World Malaria Day and match the amount raised by their customers. The organization, which helps prevent and treat the diseases with the highest fatality rates among displaced populations, is headquartered just around the corner from the salon.
“It means something when the guests support a local charity and a local business while helping people around the world,” says Rebecca. “I love being hyper-local yet also being able to reach others on the other side of the world.”
Raising a Fantastic Sams family
Owning a Fantastic Sams salon has given the Pavliches the opportunity to enrich the lives of others while allowing them time to feel fulfilled at home. Rebecca is able to homeschool her four children while sharing in the responsibilities of owning the salon with her husband.
“We love working together,” says Rebecca. “We have something in which we’re both so highly invested. It’s not one person’s passion, it’s a family passion.”
Rebecca admits they have a rule about not talking about the salon at the dinner table, and she and Mike schedule business meetings with each other. She makes plenty of phone calls throughout the day, but on those calls, she’s reminded of the fact that she’s still at home.
“I determine my schedule. I can’t remember the last time I had to miss something. It doesn’t feel like work.”
For now, they have time to enjoy their not-so-little family of six. But they just might be raising a team of future business owners. Rebecca concedes she and Mike didn’t think about the next 30 years when they bought the salon, they just did it. Now, they are indeed planning for the future, and the salon might be passed down to a third generation.
“Our kids talk about taking over,” muses Rebecca. “They go in and help fold towels, enter inventory, print reports, talk with customers, do product labeling… they’re very involved. It is such a privilege to be an entrepreneur and have them learn at a young age, just like I did. I didn’t realize how beneficial it would be to grow up and learn these tools.”
Owning a Fantastic Sams salon allows the Pavliches to focus on what’s important to them — their family. It allows them the ability to spend time together and to teach their children the importance of hard work and giving back. When they welcomed David and Joseph into their home, life for the Pavliches felt complete. Now, they are aiming to give all their children a bright future. They are doing so in part by demonstrating the importance of hard work and helping others.
“The most important thing you can do is find something that’s very dear to your heart that makes the impact you want to make,” shares Rebecca. “It’s just like when you have that conversation with your kids about making the right decisions instead of the wrong ones and they actually do it… you’re making an impact on their character. That’s bigger than money.”