Since opening over 20 years ago on State Street in Newtown, David J. Witchell has become a household name in Bucks County. Co-Owners, David and Galina, introduced David J. Witchell at 25 South in 1996, starting the business with 7 employees. Using Galina’s extensive experience in business management and David’s award winning skills in hairdressing and makeup to shape their vision, the flagship salon and boutique grew into a success, attracting clients from all over the region.
It all began with their innovative lifestyle experience located in the center of Newtown Borough – combining the expertise of top stylists, the pampering of a luxury spa, and access to high-fashion finds in their boutique. Over the past year, however, David J. Witchell has taken their lifestyle brand to the next level, unveiling several major additions- DJW Home, Denim and Essentials, and a second salon & boutique located in Peddler’s Village.
Today, the current DJW locations house over 130 employees and 22,000 sq feet of storefront. We spoke to one half of the dynamic duo, David Witchell himself, one of you Top Bucks County Movers & Shakers of 2015:
Bucks Happening: You're spread out with locations in Newtown and now Lahaska. What town in Bucks County do you live in?
David: I live in New Hope just outside of downtown. The river has always captivated me and I want to always be close to it!
Bucks Happening: Where did you attend school?
David: Bryland Beauty Academy in Downtown Reading, PA. It was the last of the Redken Scientific schools. They have all been closed for many years. My favorite part of beauty school was looking at hair through a Trichoscope. It is a specially constructed microscope that magnifies the hair up to 200 x (times).
My other favorite part of school was using the Trichogram to help determine the hair’s structural competency specifically its strength and its elasticity. I still use the skills I learned then and teach our staff about it today.
Bucks Happening: What motivates you every morning?
David: The accomplishment of a goal and movement toward a dream get me up and out of bed every day. I envision my dreams in vivid, full color spectrum reality. I know there is a brighter future although I do not always see the clear path, I trust it will come and because of that, I look forward to each day offering me the opportunity to get just a bit closer to that goal.
Bucks Happening: What would you say is your idea of a perfect day?
David: Perfect days happen in 3 parts:
Part 1) It starts with my dogs jumping on the bed to get me up. Coffee and a great workout, a meditation time, and shower.
Part 2) Accomplishing the tasks of the day … on a workday it could be training staff, working with clients or developing a new program. The functions of my daily routine change with each day of the week and as long as I move the needle forward and make a positive impact on someone in a day, I feel that is a good thing.
Watching our young staff learn a skill and accomplish their dreams is the most gratifying part of my career now. When I see the light bulb go on and they get it … that is a priceless moment! I still love making a client feel beautiful or handsome when they look in the mirror but it happens easier after 3 decades of practice. Training staff is the most dynamic and ever changing task. The way young people learn today is so much different than even just 5 years ago. As trainers, we are always looking for new ways to get the message across. That keeps it fresh and real!
Part 3) In order for it to be a perfect day, I love to have some down time at home. Dinner, some conversation about the day and maybe a bit of TV to disconnect from reality for a while and turn my brain off!
Bucks Happening: Who inspires you?
David: I hate to sound cliche but honestly, I have a list of people starting with my Family; Mom for her ability to always be compassionate and Dad for his perplexing way of making me figure things out on my own and pushing me to be better. For the bravery of my brother Jim, rolled with the punches and held his head high in the face of sickness and death … kind and sensitive till his last breath at the young age of 29.
Next in line would be my business partner, Galina. I always think I work hard and have a serious drive to succeed but she makes even the most determined spirit look a bit lazy. I have never known such a hard working individual. She is an insanely smart secret weapon in business!
Oh … and Sir Richard Branson and Steve Jobs.
Bucks Happening: How did you decide to go into your the beauty industry?
David: It was totally an accident. I was working at a desk of a modeling agency when I was 15. It was the July summer camp for young girls to learn how to become a model.
One day the make-up instructor called out sick at the last minute. I told the director I could teach the class because I watched my mom put on make-up for years. I drew an eye on the back of my hand and she threw me in to teach! I became a freelance artist and stylist and eventually worked my way to Philadelphia and accepted a full time job in a salon where I stayed for 11 years.
Bucks Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?
David: The legacy of the staff we have developed. Anyone that has children all grown with a family of their own, living the happy and healthy life they wished for them knows what I mean. Watching our staff grow and develop is my biggest pride and joy.
Bucks Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
David: Having dreams bigger than my wallet. My visions are expensive. Thank GOD I have a really smart and savvy business partner that knows how to deal with me. (Not that her dreams are any less expensive but at least she knows how to budget for it all!)
Bucks Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
David: There is something really big brewing but we can’t disclose anything yet. Let’s just say that our step forward into Peddler’s Village is the incubator for the next phase of our plans. In show business don’t they say … “Always leave ‘um beggin’ for more?”
Bucks Happening: We can't wait to find out the big news! How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
David: Probably not the same way … (insert smiley face here!). I hope that both would consider me loyal, dedicated and true to myself.
Bucks Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Bucks County?
David: Is this a set up? (second smiley face here!) Newtown, Peddler’s Village and the Bucks County Playhouse.
Bucks Happening: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself ten years ago, what advice would you give?
David: I’d tell that version of me to trust that he is at the right place at the right time. Stop second-guessing yourself. I’d much prefer to go ahead 10 years and have a conversation with that version of myself. I would find that one far more interesting.
Bucks Happening: Congratulations to both you and Galina on such tremendous success. We can't wait to see what's next.