After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1997, Nicole Lerda entered the Financial Services industry where she began her career in Recruiting & Marketing. Shortly after starting the position, she realized that she was grossly outnumbered – working in an industry where only 15% of people were women, with even fewer holding leadership positions. With these statistics against her, Nicole knew she had a difficult road ahead, however, with her tenacity and entrepreneurial spirit, she was
determined to succeed.
As the years passed, Nicole continued to break barriers - first by becoming the Director of Marketing, a fully-licensed financial planner, the Director of New Business Development, and ultimately, being promoted to Managing Sales Director for a Fortune 50 company. Her passion to support women eventually led her to procure MaxxCole Salon & Spa. “I had been going to this salon for 13 years and found it be a compassionate place for women – perfect for helping women to feel confident by serving all of their beauty and self-care needs,” said Nicole.
In January of 2020, the former owner of MaxxCole Salon & Spa approached her and explained that she would be moving on and that she did not want the business and careers of 10 female employees to end. While having a deep passion for serving women, and a soft spot for the business, Nicole felt compelled to help the business owner and her employees.
Nicole was referred to the Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center by MaxxCole’s original owner. Nicole was paired with an experienced business consultant, who helped her to realize that buying MaxxCole Salon & Spa was feasible. She and her consultant worked together to discuss legal issues, loan options, and business and marketing plans. The COVID-19 pandemic definitely impacted Nicole’s progress. However, with steady advice and a positive attitude, she was able to use that time to work on her business. She designed and built her website, wrote and developed marketing material, created an interior design plan for the space, and developed all of the hiring paperwork she would need such as an employee handbook and salon and spa processes.
Nicole is proud to say that she and her husband now own MaxxCole Salon & Spa, saving all 10 employees who continue to offer the same excellent service and AVEDA product line they always have. With a deep passion for supporting women and the determination to fight through a global pandemic, MaxxCole Salon & Spa will live on and without a doubt continue to grow and flourish. MaxxCole Salon & Spa’s grand opening event is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020. Supporters along the way, such as the Duquesne SBDC, Beth Caldwell & Pittsburgh Professional Women, Dollar Bank, and Beth Lynch, CFP, SVP of Fort Pitt Capital Group, will be present to celebrate and congratulate Nicole on a job well done.