Shear business experience: Zionsville salon empowers women through apprenticeship program


With a mission to empower women, Zionsville salon owner Rio White has brought a unique concept to downtown and established an apprenticeship program within her salon.

The No Label Studio Salon, at 640 S. Main St., provides an opportunity for women to learn and grow in the world of beauty and hair care and become stylists.

  “The apprenticeship offers a unique opportunity for young women to learn directly from experienced professionals,” White said. “Under the guidance of skilled stylists, apprentices receive hands-on experience in various aspects of hair care, styling techniques, personal development and self-confidence.”

Driven by her desire to create a better future for women, White offers the program free to apprentices. It includes hourly pay and tips from clients. The program can take three months to a year to complete.

The salon accepts a handful of applicants every six months. The program has a waitlist. White said the most important part for consideration in the program is personality.

“It doesn’t matter what skills you have or don’t have,” White said. “The personality of the applicant and the ability to vibe with our team is the first thing we consider.”

Selected applicants go through assistant training before becoming an apprentice.

White, a mother of three, said she wanted to create a program where dreams are nurtured, futures are built and bonds are formed.

“From a financial standpoint, building and pouring into your team makes more sense than just building yourself up working behind the chair,” she said. “But for me, there’s no greater satisfaction than passing on my knowledge and seeing the girls accomplish things and be proud of themselves.”

White, 31, said her vision for the apprentice program goes beyond creating hairstyles and teaching techniques. She wants it to transform lives.

“I’m all about building women up in our program,” she said. “We teach the girls the importance of pouring into the community, our staff and the clients that come into the salon. I’ve had a lot of support my whole life and I want to be sure to continue to shape strong women in our community.”

  Former apprentice Madison Messick, who started the program in 2020, said her experience in the apprenticeship helped her form meaningful relationships.

“Rio helped me to become the stylist I am today,” Messick said. “I loved the hands-on approach and teaching style of the salon and how I was able to just jump in even washing a client’s hair during my first hour working for the salon. The program also taught me countless technical skills.”

Karli Baron, who also went through the salon’s apprenticeship, said the environment helped her thrive.

“Rio created the most positive learning environment and creative space,” she said. “There is nothing better than being able to learn from a whole team of girls who really care about you and want you to succeed.”

White said she wants to equip the women in her program with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in this competitive field.

“When I first started to pursue this career, it was tough,” she said. “It’s a tough business in general, so I wanted to take that stress off the girls so they can just focus on learning and doing their best.”

By placing equal emphasis on instilling core values, such as teamwork and empathy, White said she wants to create a supportive and inclusive environment that celebrates diversity and gives women a sense of belonging.

“We are like a family here,” White said. “We support each other’s aspirations with transparency and trust at the center of our relationship. All of the girls at the salon are unique and beautiful.”

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No Label Studio Salon stylists and apprentices are back, from left, Ashli Evans, Madison Messick, Eva Goff, Rio White, Karli Baron, Zoe Spray and Ella Potter and front, from left, Cassidy Stonehouse and Addie Reeves. (Photo by Adam Self)

No Label Studio Salon’s services

The No Label Studio Salon offers one-of-a-kind services in the Zionsville area, including the first “blowout dry bar” and “take home services” in town, according to salon owner Rio White.

“The take-home service is a stylist consultation to determine what color works best for a client’s hair and then we send the client home with professional color and directions,” White said.

Blowout dry bars specialize in washing and styling hair with no cuts or coloring involved.

“People love the blowout bar for events but also for clients that have hair extensions,” White said. “We saw that there was a huge need for a blowout bar in Zionsville. We offer a membership where clients can come in throughout the week and get their hair styled when they need it.”

The membership includes same-day appointments and last-minute appointments. The salon is closed on weekends.

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