In 2012, the competition that celebrates salon business success is celebrating its own milestone, as this year marks the 15th anniversary of the SALON TODAY 200. Before we look forward at this year’s honorees, we want to take you back for a look at the competition’s history:
SALON TODAY was a fairly new title in Vance Publishing’s arsenal and then Editor in Chief Michele Musgrove was proud of the momentum that she’d built with the only trade magazine focusing on salon business. In January, she’d created quite a buzz with an issue that focused on the “Top 20 Salon Owners of the Year.” Readers seemed to be hungry for more peer-topeer business success stories.
“At the time, there still was a void of hard numbers— of true benchmarking—and I started to think about how we could gather that information in a useful and meaningful way,” remembers Musgrove. “It also was the era of publications like Fast Company which were focused on fast-growing businesses and new industry initiatives, such as The Salon Association, which was proving that good things happen when salon owners got together and shared ideas.”
It was a bold idea to consider that salon owners would share their financials and compare their growth rates. Bold, because many people at the time, including Musgrove’s own publisher and many manufacturers who sponsored the magazine, told her salon owners would never open up their books and reveal their annual revenues. “But it also was a time when there was a shift in spirit—hair color was booming and many salons were venturing into the spa world, and money was coming in a little bit easier,” she says. “Owners were beginning to realize if they really wanted to take their businesses to next level, they needed to focus on more than just technique, they needed good business fundamentals.”
So, Musgrove designed the application, began promoting the program and held her breath. And, in a fashion that isn’t any different than it is today, nothing appeared in her IN-box until after the final date when applications had to be postmarked passed—then the applications poured in. Musgrove’s gamble paid off, and the SALON TODAY 200 was born.
After its first year, the SALON TODAY 200 found its legs, which is evident by its ‘America’s Hottest Salons’ theme that year. Confident that she could get salons to reveal their numbers, Musgrove now asked them fro verification with tax documentation.