Karie Bennett, stylist, writer and owner of Atelier SalonSpa and Atelier Studio in San Jose, California
Karie Bennett, stylist, writer and owner of Atelier SalonSpa and Atelier Studio in San Jose, California
Dusting retail shelves, folding towels, sweeping the floor—all those thankless daily salon tasks that must be performed but ones that no one wants to do. In this installment of Owners' Forum a reader asks how we get these accomplished at Atelier.
Dear Karie, How do you handle salon chores—those little pesky jobs that need to get done that you'd love everyone to pitch in on?
—SALON TODAY Reader in Illinois
Great question! I love the teamwork aspect of assigning chores on a rotating wheel, or changing job teams on a monthly basis. But really, I prefer to keep hairstylists styling hair, not washing dishes. And I believe it's my job as a salon owner to put guests in the chairs and spa rooms for the service providers to work their magic on.
I found it to be a huge improvement to hire a "shopkeeper." This option may not work for everyone's budget, but it's important to consider the benefits. My shopkeeper cleans everything, all day, as well as changes accessible light bulbs, etc. She cleans the retail shelves, which frees up the front desk team to make confirmation calls, answer the phones, assemble first-time guest gift bags and check in/out guests, as well as assist guests with their take-home recommendations. She handles most of the laundry and dishes, helped by our assistants, keeps the restroom stocked with paper and hand soap, runs to the store when we need something, and also organizes our storage rooms. So that means the hairstylists can focus on their guests.

Another bonus is that having this service has taken our salon environment to a whole new level. Wherever the guest's eye goes, clean goes. So the guest sees how much care.
I know a stylist's time is valuable, and in my opinion, it's better spend pleasing a guest than washing a dish. Now, if the stylist wasn't booked with guests, and she had the time, and the sink was full of dishes, she should jump in and help. But, as a stylist, if you're not busy with guests all day, you have more important things to work on—like bringing new guests in the door, and making them so happy, they will definitely be back!