Dialogue, forecast, brainstorm, share, network. It wasn’t too long ago that salon owners wouldn’t dream of doing any one of these activities with a group of other owners. Skeptically viewing each other as competition, they worried that sharing ideas and best practices would only lead to the stealing of market share, clients and even staff.
How far those attitudes have come. With more and more conferences and educational seminars geared toward the business of running a salon, owners are starting to realize that sharing success strategies won’t weaken their own individual businesses, but rather strengthen the whole industry.
This evolutionary process of sharing is reaching a new stage. Instead of simply attending structured business seminars, owners are forming their own groups and shaping the educational experience to meet their own needs. Throughout the country, salons of similar interests, sizes or even markets are choosing their own forums and sharing everything from marketing plans and P&L statements to education and staff issues. In fly-on-the-wall style, SALON TODAY takes a closer look at these new groups.
The List Goes Live
A light-hearted posting on The List, The Salon’s Association’s salon owner list-serve, led to a casual gathering last summer of 16 salon owners and managers from around the country in Bonita Springs, Florida.
“There was a group of us that were having such great e-chats on The List,” says Jeanne Lennon, owner of Lennonheads Salon and Spa in Worthington, Ohio. “We were planning to meet at the next Symposium, but that was still 10 months off. I suggested we should have a summer summit where we all could have a cocktail and work on our marketing plans together.”
When Lennon first suggested the idea, she didn’t dream it’d become reality “But before I knew it, Melanie Loboda (owner of Shear Artistry in New Holland, Pennsylvania) leveraged a contact to get a great room rate at a Hyatt and Matthew Fairfax (co-owner of the James Alan Salon in Shoreline, Washington) booked a flight from Seattle and threatened, ‘I’ve got my plane ticket, you all better get on those planes,’” laughs Lennon.
While the group had kicked around the idea of a cruise, Bonita Springs in the off-season made the trip affordable for owners of different-sized salons. For several weeks, the group bantered back and forth about fun in the sun and last-minute plans before the trip. “While we all were looking forward to having fun together, a few weeks before the trip, I started to panic that we were in danger of going there and not coming back with anything concrete,” says Loboda.