39 Years of Excellence

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For almost four decades, Design 1 Salon Spa has been a modern and trusted staple in West Michigan, offering its guests high quality services in a truly relaxing and trendy atmosphere.

With five locations surrounding Grand Rapids and Portage, Design 1 is always offering the most cutting-edge hair designs and innovative spa treatments. West Michigan Woman caught up with Design 1 owner, Larry Walt, and COO, Graham Walt, to hear more about the origins of Design 1 and what they hope to accomplish in the future.

Explain how and when Design 1 Salon Spa got its start and what inspired you to do business the way you do!

Lisa was working for Malys Barber and Beauty Supplies and was doing advanced education for them, so she had the opportunity to go into a lot of salons. With putting in a lot of hours and being out of town quite a bit, it seemed to us that we could put all our time and energy into our own salon for us to grow and for Lisa to pursue her passion—creating beautiful hair for our clients.

With everything she learned in going into so many salons, it was truly priceless and gave us the opportunity to put the best of the best into our first salon, which we opened in October 1981. As we grew and had more and more stylists join our Design 1 team, it was exciting and inspiring to work with so many talented and creative people.

Design 1 has expanded quite a bit over the years! Talk about when you realized Design 1 needed to expand, how you were able to make that a reality, and what that looks like today.

As we were growing, it seemed like a natural progression to open another salon. We didn't want to only maintain what we had and not be able to continue to grow! After 15 years of running and growing the first salon, we ended up opening another about every three to four years until we opened a total of five Design 1 Salon Spas.

We were and continue to be so blessed to work with such a fun and creative team who all want to grow with us. With the talented and excited next generation running the day-to-day operations now, we plan to continue to expand in West Michigan.

What makes Design 1 stand out to clients? What keeps them coming back, year after year?

Design 1 prides itself on the level of education and training our employees receive. They can always count on luxury accommodations, a high level of cleanliness and the multitude of services we offer.

When it comes to salon offerings, what could someone who has never visited any of your locations before expect?

Design 1 is a full Salon and Spa, so you have a multitude of services in hair, skin, body, nails and makeup to choose from! There truly is something for everyone.

What does the legacy of Design 1 mean to you?

Legacy is very important to us, as Lisa and I started this business almost 40 years ago. We have four children who are all involved in the business and it has been great watching them grow and take over. We are very proud to be a family owned business in West Michigan.

What are your future goals for Design 1?

COVID-19 and the pandemic has really made us take a step back and look at how this company can continue to grow. One of the great aspects of the beauty industry is that it's always changing, so this is nothing new to us.

Design 1 would like to be involved in the entire lifecycle of the service providers career—from cosmetology school to commission salons and salon suite concepts. Nothing is off the table and we are really looking forward to the future.

Learn more by visiting Design 1 Salon Spa.

Courtesy of Design 1 Salon Spa.


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