Watch this exclusive interview with Dennis Ratner, Co-founder & Stylist of Hair Cuttery in which he talks about his passion for the beauty industry and the story behind the largest privately held salon in the US.


Dennis and Ann RatnerIn 1973, newlyweds Dennis and Ann were having dinner at a restaurant when the conversation turned to their jobs. Dennis had been working for his father’s chain of Washington area beauty parlors, Louis Creative Hairdressers, but he was ready to venture out on his own. Ann was uninspired by the conservative cuts at the downtown Washington beauty salon where she was a Stylist. The couple agreed—it was time to break free.

Together, Dennis and Ann drew up a rough business plan on a napkin detailing a new kind of hair salon where you could walk in without an appointment and get great service for the whole family for a fraction of the cost. Unsure their idea would fly in a generation conditioned to fussy beauty parlors and clubby barber shops, the Ratners opened the first hair Cuttery in Virginia. Before the year was over, they opened two more. “We knew we wanted to change the industry,” Dennis says, “and there was nothing holding us back.”

The first Hair Cuttery was born in West Springfield, VA in 1974. Today, it represents the largest, privately-held salon chain in North America. The brainchild of Dennis and Ann Ratner, Hair Cuttery now encompasses approximately 12,000 Associates with over 750 Salons in 16 states. The phenomenal growth of the company can be traced back to its original business model which consisted of three concepts—convenience, price and consistency.


Susan Gustafson, President of Ratner CompaniesIn 2007, Susan Gustafson was appointed President of Ratner Companies, the parent company of Hair Cuttery. Drawing on more than 25 years of marketing, merchandising and sales experience, Susan manages Hair Cuttery’s day-to-day business and helps to develop the company’s strategic growth initiatives. Her focus continues to be fulfilling the vision established by Dennis and Ann—a company dedicated to results through a true appreciation and value of its people.

As president of Hair Cuttery, a company that believes in leadership rather than management, Susan helps to bring out the best in all Associates through listening, mentoring and guidance. She also continues to drive the implementation of WOW Service, the client-focused service model in Hair Cuttery salons designed to achieve positive and memorable client experiences. Together, Dennis, Ann and Susan, provide the leadership necessary for the continued growth of Hair Cuttery.