Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
By Stacey Soble and Lauren Salapatek

After achieving a level of success within their own markets, these salons are sharing their experience by teaching others what they know best.

Three salons—one in New York, one in Chicago and one in Washington
state. If you tally their accomplishments together, it’s an impressive collective
portfolio. They’ve built successful salon businesses, served on
association boards, racked up years as platform artists, captured NAHA
trophies, joined Intercoiffure, and been named to the SALON TODAY
200. So, where do you grow next?

For these three salons, the answer is easy—it’s time to teach. By
launching and branding their own advanced education programs for established
stylists, colorists and owners, these salons are tapping a new
stream of revenue, elevating their own businesses, and opening up new
opportunities for their own staff members.

While they’re growing in the same direction, each salon is going
about it differently—putting together unique education programs that
are shaped by the strengths of their own businesses. SALON TODAY
heads to class and examines these three programs individually:

Downtown Brownstone NYC

Downtown Brownstone NYC
John Galietti and Xena Parsons
Owners of Xena’s Beauty Company
New York, New York

The Classes:

The “Downtown Brownstone Business Building
Session” is a two-day course which allows participants to
explore the art behind the commerce of beauty through a VIP
tour of a museum, a private talk with a fashion photographer,
and the experience of dining Italian-style in New York. The
second day includes business-building sessions on developing
your business’ image, identity and implementation; double
shifting, establishing yourself as a beauty expert, marketing
and promotion, and building a visual business. The
“Downtown Brownstone One-Day Cut and Color Session” is
an exclusive and intimate class that explores the art principles
and formulates a cut and color design.

The Inspiration: “In our Downtown Brownstone series we’re
teaching the business strategies we’ve developed over the
past 10 years as we’ve gone about restructuring our own
business and how we’ve set ourselves apart in a neighborhood
with more than 100 salons,” says Xena Parsons. “A few years
ago we looked at our business and decided we were missing
the fun and creativity, so we started looking at art, passion and
the reason we got into this business. We started doing Italian-styled
photo shoots and teaching our staff how to become
beauty experts by studying art, fashion, and design. As a result
our revenues increased, our retail revenues increased—and
our staff was more motivated.”

The Class Stats: Classes are offered about six times a year,
with upcoming classes in November 2010, and April, May and
June 2011. The two-day class is $1,200, the one-day class is
$600 and each class size is limited to 10 participants.

The Teachers: Parsons teaches the consultation and the
visual business portions, Galietti teaches double-shifting and
prescription retailing and other salon members help with the
cut and color technology. The salon also draws in a museum
tour guide, a fashion photographer, and a restaurant owner to
inspire participants.

On Location: The classes combine technical education conducted
in Xena’s Beauty Company combined with inspirational working
field trips to a museum and an Italian restaurant.

Pride Builder: “We just presented the program at our last
salon gathering even though the concepts we’re teaching
are the ones we use in our business. But sometimes you can’t
see the forest through the trees,” says Parsons. “It’s instilled a
great sense of pride in our staff.”

Inspiration: “While we will get
paid for our work, we don’t see
this as a big profit-generator,
but see it as sharing our ideas
with others,” says Parsons.

Growth From Here: For the
past three years, Parsons and
Galietti have selected two of
their stylists to travel with them
to Italy to study art and fashion,
and conduct a photo shoot. “I
see us growing this series into
an educational event where
we could take between four to
six people with us.”

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
A brochure from Downtown Brownstone NYC.

Brado Education

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education

Brado Education
Mark and Sonna Brado
Owners of Jaazz Salons Inc.
Spokane, Washington

The Classes:

At the salon’s academy, “FUNdamentals and
Shape-Shifting” is a two-day advanced cutting course. “Break
it Down, Build It Up” is a one-day long hairdressing and updo
class. “Progressive Fusion” is a one-day class that combines
advanced cutting and coloring techniques. “Photo Lab” is an
interactive two days that teaches the ins and outs of creating
unbelievable photo shoots. And, Beauty Business Basics, is a
one-day course that helps owners make their businesses more
profitable. Brado Education travels and customizes in-salon
classes and classes for trade shows.

The Inspiration: After working for more than 10 years with
different manufacturers, Sonna began to recognize a desire for
neutral-based education—classes that aren’t sponsored by a
specific manufacturer. Although she currently is a guest artist for
KMS California, she decided to continue Brado Education which
launched in 2007. “This came by just talking to many
other stylists and owners who were tired of education
being tied to a sales pitch,” she says.

Frequency: Brado Education tries to hold classes
about once a month.

The Class Stats: Brado Education holds classes
about once a month. Prices vary from $150 to $300 if
they are performed at the Brado Academy. If a class
is customized for a salon, Sonna charges $900 a day
plus expenses. Classes are either held at the salon’s academy,
on site in the salon that commissioned the education, at
distributor locations or at trade shows. “Generally, I like about
15 students if I am alone, if there are more than that, I bring in
a teammate,” she says.

The Teachers: Sonna Brado teaches the bulk of the classes, but
husband Mark helps with the photo classes and business classes.
If classes are large, Sonna will bring a teammate—a staff member
who teaches at their own salon.

Class Prep: “There is about 30-40 hours of work that goes
into each class,” says Brado. “Depending on which class we’re
teaching, we follow a detailed system of contacting attendees,
prepping the styles/looks we are going to teach and general
set up.”

The Business Bridge: “I think Brado Education helps our
industry profile as a salon,” says Mark. “We use much of our
photo work for the salon in Brado Education, so whether we
are on the road or in a salon, people see the images and
tie Jaazz and Brado education together. I also think Sonna’s
reputation as an educator and the reputation of the salon
through Intercoiffue, NAHA and industry magazines, help
build Brado Education.”

Multi-Marketing: Brado Education is marketing via its
website, via Facebook, through Constant Contact, brochures,
and e-mail blasts. “We usually have great response to
the combined effort,” says Mark. “Plus, word-of-mouth
testimonials are great.”

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
Brochures from Brado Education.

RED 7 Salon Advanced Academy

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education

RED 7 Salon Advanced Academy
Jason Hall and David Kafer
Owners of RED 7 Salon
Chicago and Evanston, Illinois

The Classes:

Cutting classes include: “Cutting Boot Camp”
which focuses on the cutting classics; “Deconstructing the
Classics” which focuses on texturizing techniques using shears
and a razor; and “Disheveled, Disconnected and Daring!”
which focuses on turning a mistake into a true beauty. Color
classes include: “Digging Deeper into Color” which focuses
on new foiling techniques and single-process application
methods; “Creative Color: Pushing the Boundaries” which
employs out-of-the-box formulations and application techniques;
and “Corrective Color: Establish Your Plan of Attack.”
The “Building Your Brand” business class focuses on how to
build business through customer-service initiatives.

“Our classes focus on the way the individual learns, so
our educators are trained to adjust their teaching according
to the needs of the students,” says Jason Hall. “Also we are
not associated with any product manufacturer nor does our
education reflect one philosophy of thought. We share many
different ways to approach the same problem.”

Why Now: “When we launched our academy approximately a
year ago, we wanted our local market and those in the Midwest
to know there are other options besides New York and Los
Angeles,” says Hall. “Great education can be experienced with
a leader in your market who wants to share, and we are excited
to be one of those companies representing the Midwest.”

The Class Stats: The academy schedules classes at its Chicago
River North location every other month, and class sizes range
from six to 16 participants. A two-day class costs approximately
$720, which includes a meal, mannequin heads, a gift to take
home and a follow-up call.

Works in Progress: The academy classes have roots in the
salon’s own training program. “We’ve selected outstanding
individuals within our company to educate and represent
our brand, based on their own education, experience, client
satisfaction, attitude and skillset. All are at the senior level in
our salon and our instructors in our training program,” says
Hall. “David works with all our senior educators to ensure than
our message is strong and consistent, and during classes we
are present to guarantee the highest level of education and
support. We plan a complete curriculum around each subject
with a follow-up support call.”

“We speak to the professional in realistic terms—what will
work in their chair. We want the education to be meaty, useful
and something that can be incorporated in their daily work
life,” he adds.

Watching it Grow: RED 7 has mailed the advanced academy
brochures to salons in Chicago, as well as areas in Wisconsin,
Iowa, Indiana and Michigan. “We’ve seen a high level of
interest—they want quality education that is accessible and
approachable and they want it in the Midwest!”

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
Brochures from RED 7 Salon Advanced Academy.