Skip to main content

Kupchella interview: Juut salon founder and 'Daymaker' David Wagner

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The moment that transformed the career of hair stylist and Twin Cities beauty salon entrepreneur David Wagner happened in the 1980s. A regular customer revealed to Wagner two days after a style that she had previously planned to commit suicide after the hair appointment – but she chose not to after a half hour with him. She felt better about herself after those few moments, and she sought help instead.

After that, Wagner, a world-renown hair stylist who founded Juut salons, started treating all his customers as if they were the one whose life might be forever changed. He started to think of his work as "day-making" – making people's days.

"I held them that same way, with that kind of reverence, that man, you could literally change people's lives in this 45-minute appointment," Wagner said.

In a conversation with BringMeTheNews founder and CEO Rick Kupchella, Wagner on Thursday told that story and others about his humble beginnings and the growth of his business career. The interview was part of a Smile Network-sponsored monthly event that highlights the work of Minnesota business leaders.

Wagner said he grew up in Hastings, Minn., on a hobby farm, the son of a blue-collar pipe-fitter. "I was about as far away from the beauty world as you could get," he said.

Wagner said he never thought about hair styling until he was 14 and he visited a salon for the first time – and found the place filled with rock-and-roll music and beautiful women.

"That was it. It was like going to Hollywood for me. I loved the energy. I loved the creativity. And then the guy cutting my hair told me about the brand new white Corvette that he just bought, and I thought, 'They make money, too.'"

Here Kupchella and Wagner swap stories about Wagner's mentor, Horst Rechelbacher, who in 1977 was giving $100 haircuts with a three-month waiting list:

At age 26, Wagner saw a "for lease" sign go up in a shop window at Lake and Hennepin in Minneapolis – and that became his first salon. Here he also talks about how he built his beauty empire, and how he came up with the name "Juut:"

And that story of the moment that transformed his career:

Next Up

2019_1229_Bears_Home_0831

Ryan Poles picking Chicago creates battle of the rebuilds with Vikings

Both of the Vikings' GM finalists land in the same division looking to return to relevancy.

David Ortiz

Twins congratulate David Ortiz on HOF induction, it ends badly

Twins fans haven't forgotten the biggest mistake in franchise history.

Snowmobile tracks Any Arthur Flickr

Who left the burnt snowmobile on a frozen Minnesota lake?

There wasn't much left beyond the frame and a few other large, metal parts.

T Kline Robbinsdale City Council

Charges: Drunk council member fled police on wrong side of Hwy. 100

The complaint alleges he caused a wrong-way crash, then drove around an officer that tried to stop him.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_0560

What does the future hold for the Vikings at linebacker?

Anthony Barr is hitting free agency, and Eric Kendricks is approaching age 30

vehicle car

String of vehicle thefts in St. Paul, most left running unattended

The department is urging people not to leave their car running unattended.

kid hospital doctor

Child COVID hospitalizations reach pandemic-high in northern MN

As omicron surges, more kids are ending up in the hospital.

ice fishing close unsplash

'It's disgusting': Anglers dumping sewage on to popular ice fishing lake

A local CO told Bring Me The News it's people in newer, RV-style wheel houses.

Alejandro Rios and Michael Steward

Reward offered for information on 2021 double fatal shooting in St. Paul

It's been a year since Alejandro Rios and Michael Stewart were found dead on the sidewalk.

Related