“We’re trying that in Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. We didn’t originally look in this neighborhood, we were looking in the Mission area, and this location was thrown our way by a friend who said a space was opening up. We said, 'OK, let’s prove that our work will move people into our salon.' We are not starting in a strategic location, but we are starting with a great product and great training.”
SALON TODAY: Is it a benefit or a disadvantage to takeover an existing salon—do you try to salvage some of the physical components or do you start with a clean slate?
Reyman and Thompson: “In theory, it could be a benefit if the location’s electric or plumbing is already upgraded for a highly productive salon, but in the end, it seems most places are probably not set up the way you would want. So, we think a clean slate usually works better. The Russian Hill salon was an existing salon but we ended up having to get rid of a bunch of funky stuff that was left behind and redoin everything.—which was a timely and expensive task. And in Los Angeles, we leased a retail location. but in the San Francisco space we came into, we ended up having to re-do everything. Nothing was ready. In Los Angeles, we leased a retail location. In the end, most places are probably not set up the way you would want in the end. We think a clean slate is better, but if it’s in and it works, it can save you some buildout dollars. We ended up having to get rid of a bunch of funky stuff that was left in our Russian Hill location—that alone was an timely and expensive task.”
click image to zoomThis former Los Angeles retail location will transform into the second Spoke and Weal salon location by March 2014. SALON TODAY: What’s your formula for laying out a successful salon?
Reyman and Thompson: “Retail is necessary for the success of the business. The space dedicated to retail we see as the space behind the chair—our pros. Our guests guy retail because they have stylists prescribing haircare products. In Los Angeles, we’ll have 2,300 square feet, 400 of which is devoted to retail space. In Russian Hill, we have 8 chairs in 700 square feet. We had to carefully plan along the way, and a few times, we needed to re-evaluate.
“In our salons, stylists recommend the products and set them on the shelves right in front of our guests as they are describing what they do and why they are recommending them. This takes skill, as well as really good training with product lines, to ensure the guests are getting what they need for the results they want. This is a big part of the business, but traditional retail space is not the direction we see going, again, because our pros are the best retail space we have.