People Making A Difference: Susannah Danforth

 In Culture

SUSANNAH DANFORTH, Owner of Breeze Blow Dry Bar

Susannah Danforth

Photo by Matt Kile

Progress and change can take many forms, both big and small. Susannah Danforth, owner of Breeze Blow Dry Bar, says she knows the new blow dry bar concept isn’t changing the world, but it is encouraging busy St. Louis women to take time for themselves, leading to better productivity and—most importantly—an increase in happiness and confidence.

As a mother of four who recently completed her law degree, Danforth knows what it means to be busy, and just how restorative taking “me time” can be. Danforth says, “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing women walk out of Breeze fully transformed, less stressed and with a confident bounce in their step.”

And she wants to bring “good hair days” to more women. On top of her mobile Breeze To-Go service, she and her expert team are actively looking to bring the blow dry bar concept—named one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Best New Ideas”—to another location in St. Louis.

To learn even more about Danforth and Breeze Blow Dry Bar, we asked a few more questions.

What is your personal mission statement or one quote you live by?

“A calm sea never made a skilled sailor.” I grew up on the ocean in Massachusetts and think of this quote often as I deal with the challenges of starting a running a business. Framing challenges as opportunities for growth rather than frustration has proved indispensable to me. Our daughter is a freshman in college and I had this saying inscribed on a bracelet.

Are you involved with any charities/philanthropic causes?

All children, regardless of family income or zip code, deserve equally strong educational options. Fifteen years ago, my husband, Don Danforth, founded City Academy, an independent elementary school in North St. Louis that strives to give St. Louis children the same educational options available to our own children. City Academy’s first class of students has graduated college and are productive citizens giving back to their families and their communities. I can’t think of a more valuable use of resources.

What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Women today, whether they work in or out of the home, are master multi-tasters. They take care of everyone else before themselves. A visit to Breeze is the perfect affordable indulgence for women who need to carve out a little “me time.” I love watching a client’s stress melt away as she enjoys a luxurious shampoo and scalp massage. Thirty minutes later, when she leaves with a beautiful blowout, her increased confidence and the bounce in her step are a joy to see.

Who has made the biggest impact on your professional life?

David Becker, my property professor at Washington University School of Law. In his classroom, I was scared to death. But he taught me how to think critically, to question, to problem-solve, to have confidence in my opinions and to always be prepared. Even though I’m not practicing law, I find strength in falling back on these problem-solving skills as I navigate the highs and lows of owning a business.

How do you hope to be remembered?

As a good role model to my children.

Name one thing on your personal bucket list.

I studied abroad in Kenya during college. It was an incredibly beautiful country filled with joyful people. The experience challenged and strengthened me and changed my perspective forever. Unfortunately, due to well-documented unrest, my college has cancelled this program. Someday, I hope to return and share the beauty of East Africa and its people with my husband and children.

What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?

Starting and growing an entirely new business and introducing a new concept to St. Louis women!

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