How-to Holiday Party

By Karie Bennett | 12/21/2010 12:20:38 AM


As part of the ongoing blog series, Owner's Forum, Karie Bennett, owner of San Jose's Atelier Salon Spa shares her thoughts and plans on creating a holiday celebration for her staff:

"Dear Karie: When it comes to the holidays, how do you celebrate with your team?"

"Good question! When my team was just three people, it was easy to take them to dinner and give them personal gifts. As our business grew to larger locations, so did our team and our expeses. Dinner for 25-30 people was out of our budget.

"Over the past 13 years, as a salon owner, I've gone from homemade gifts and handwritten thank you cards to grocery store gift cards at Thanksgiving and holiday cards and gas cards at Christmas. I thought the employees would appreciate the money being spent on them, rather than a party. I guess I'm a pragmatic that way.

We've recently crossed the 40-employee mark, and the 'new economy' is making an impact on everyone. Our guests have really felt the pinch, and we've had to reach out farther and harder than ever to stay in business and grow as a company. Our team has really worked hard to bring positive energy and inspiration to our guests and the community. From charity events to business-building events, their efforts have made a huge difference. This year turned out to be quite amazing.

We were nominated for NAHA's Salon MBA award, and recently were named to the SALON TODAY 200 for the seventh time. We've made contributions to six core charities this year, and donated products and services to countless local schools as well. And, business is growing. Although we recognize and appreciate personal effort all year, this seemed like the right time for Atelier to have a "What a Year!" employee appreciation party. Close to 70 people attended, and everyone enjoyed awards, food, fun and karaoke. I'm still hearing them tell our guests about it!

"Whether you have the budget to host a holiday party, a bowling night, or just organize a summer potluck-in-the-park with your employees and their families, the goal is the same: to bring your team together to relax and have fun. And, that's something that you can do at any time of year."

We'd love to hear your ideas—please respond in the comment box below. How did you celebrate the holidays with your staff?

Karie Bennett's career in the beauty industry is approaching the 30-year mark and shows no signs of slowing. Bennett and her salon, Atelier Salon Spa in San Jose, CA, have captured a number of industry awards, including the Global Salon Business Award, the SALON TODAY 200 and the client philosophy and marketing finalist for the 2010 NAHA Master of Business Award. Bennett continues to share her knowledge to help a new generation of hair artists and owners find their way to success.







Karie Bennett Karie Z. Bennett cut her own bangs on her third birthday, wrote a book when she was eight, and the rest is destined for her memoirs. 2011 marks her 30th year as a hairstylist, and she is celebrating by launching a second career—as a writer. Currently working her way through The Writer’s Studio program at Stanford University, she writes for Salon Today magazine, and is the San Jose Small Business Examiner for Her salons, Atelier Salon Spa and Atelier Studio, in San Jose, CA, have captured a number of industry awards, including the Global Salon Business Award, the SALON TODAY 200 and is a 2010 and 2011 NAHA Master of Business Award nominee. Karie loves working with salon guests, mentoring new salon artists, and being a source of inspiration to anyone, anywhere. Find out more at and


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