When family life and business meet
It hasn't exactly been quiet since PARK, the hairdressing chain, opened its first salon four years ago. Today, the chain has 80 salons that use the chain's own product line, which includes 50 different hair products. Furthermore, the hairdressing firm has recently introduced PARK Beauty, its own make-up line. However, it should not be about hair or make-up. Instead, it should be about two generations who helped establish the company and what it's like when family life and business merge. PARK was formed by a father and his two sons, in addition to Palle Freese, creator and owner of the Hair Construction Academy, and Thomas Hoffmann, creative director of the advertising and marketing agency & Co.
On a sunny September morning, we paid a visit to the hairdresser chain's headquarters in Kolding, where we spoke with René Piper Laursen and his two sons, Anders and Kasper Piper Laursen. A conversation that rose to more sensitive and serious topics.
From left to right: Kasper wears MMGWilliams Jacket and MMGDavies Williams Pant. René is dressed in our MMGRyan Cole Jacket and lastly, Anders wears MMGRyan Cole Jacket, MMGBrooks Hunt Cargo Pant and MMGPerry Tee.
Like a symbiosis
When everyday life rolls on, the three don't often think about the fact that they are family. The two brothers have also made it a rule to set their emotions aside at work. "We cannot shout and scream at each other like brothers at work," Kasper explains. " Nobody gains anything from this. We must treat each other with the same respect that we treat others". Kasper and Anders, on the other hand, find strength in their brotherhood. They discuss how their differences complement one another. Because of their upbringing, the brothers and their father have a close relationship which led to trust each other wholeheartedly. They're almost as if they're in a symbiotic relationship. A symbiotic relationship, the effects of which they have also felt in the past.
René Piper Laursen launched the shoe chain BIANCO in 1987, where Kasper later worked. For several years, father and son worked closely together, but after René sold the company and eventually quit the board, Kasper felt as if he was missing a piece of himself. Anders recalls how traumatized Kasper was after losing his closest colleague. Anders adds: "Kasper was heartbroken when he lost René as a coworker. I could tell the moment I saw him after René had stopped at Bianco. Their friendship and partnership were one-of-a-kind. It was difficult for him". René is moved by the conversation. "It's like going through it all over again," he says.
René is delighted as a father that his two sons can collaborate. It's like a dream come true. His greatest joy, however, is that his sons are also excellent friends with one another. "Kasper and Anders do not only see each other at work. They also spend their free time together. I often see siblings grow apart, so seeing my sons spend time together makes me feel both lucky and grateful ", René adds.
From water polo to PARK
There are many valid reasons to separate family relationships from professional relationships, so when the three determined this was the path they wanted to take, they also agreed to invest in their family life. "It was a decision that prompted many painful and essential discussions if the family relationship was not to weaken over time. That's why we attended a class on what it's like to work as a family ", René explains. The session assisted the three in discussing matters such as areas of duty and salary, as well as expectations and dreams, which are not always the same for the three. Their upbringing, however, has had a significant impact on how they cooperate and settle disagreements today.
The family had always lived near water, and it was important to René that the boys felt safe playing near the water as children. That's probably why he went to baby swimming with the two every week, and when they turned 5, he took them to Fredericia's 5-metre dive tower. He guided them through the jump so they could do it themselves. Three years later, René wanted them to have a hobby, so he took them to water polo. A sport that the three continue to participate into this day.
During the conversation, the three discover how many similarities there are between their passion and their business. How important their hobby is to how they currently run PARK. When they're out playing matches and their opponents put up a fight, they gaze each other in the eyes and rediscover their fighting spirit. When they confront challenges with PARK, they do the same. "We don't think about it very often in ordinary life, but when we sit down and talk about it, like now, we actually use it quite a lot," Kasper explains. Anders continues: "Essentially, we want to build a good and well-functioning company with good colleagues, just as we have the world's best water polo team". It also seems that the three family members are well on their way to that. The atmosphere in the PARK salon is nice and relaxed, as it should ideally be when you are with your family. And if you follow PARK on social media, you can also see how they refer to their colleagues as their family. The PARK family.