“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
No matter where we travel, we usually discover one outstanding salon that stands apart from the rest. Look behind the scenes and you’ll likely find a common denominator: Leaders of these thriving enterprises have created unique identities, or brands, by staying true to their vision.
One of our industry’s greatest visionaries was the great Vidal Sassoon. In the late 1960s he envisioned a way to simplify the art of hairdressing with more modern haircuts that were easier to maintain, wash and wear. Sassoon took his vision one step further by creating a strong training program and powerful team that could carry his brand across many continents, start schools and open new salons. As his brand developed, Sassoon continued his vision by developing professional product lines and styling tools.
Many great visionaries, like Sassoon, have developed teams and brands not for riches or social status, but to make a difference--their visions improved customers’ quality of life, raised the bar or offered clients new experiences.
A vision can be as simple as what defines you, what sets you apart in the execution of your craft, performance, presentation and delivery of a service. Having that clear vision is only the first step toward success. The real journey begins as you bring your vision to life and try to maintain your focus.
How do you start?
Have a strong understanding of your craft, marketplace and environment.
Stay true to your passion, which will help you endure the most challenging of times.
Remember that when adversity strikes – most often when you least expect it – you can use it as a lesson. Dust yourself off and continue your mission with new vigor.
Learn to differentiate between skeptics and those who want to help but haven’t grasped your vision. Consider who you’ll need to make your vision a reality and how you’ll communicate your business plan.
Consider how much you’re willing to compromise personally and financially to make your vision come to life.
Take small, solid steps, build strong foundations, have a backup plan and invest wisely.
If you’re not willing to give it your all, then rethink your vision.
Allan Labos has more than 30 years of beauty and style experience across the country and in Europe. He began his career under the tutelage of Vidal Sassoon in London and opened and managed Sassoon salons and schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. For the past 25 years he has owned and operated Akari, a 20,000-square-foot business in Portland, Maine. Akari offers hair, nail and spa services and also includes a boutique, fitness center and medical spa.