Among all the salons in town, these are the ones that attract newly graduated students and top talent alike. To evaluate the workplace environment, we challenged these applicants to tell their compensation story to a local reporter doing a feature on top places to work. They were invited to clearly outline career paths, salary expectations, and benefits packages. Extra credit went to applicants who demonstrated some creativity in their employment perks, like cultural allowances, domestic parnter benefits and education funds.

 

 

Avalon Salon and Day Spa
Deer Park, IL
avalondeerpark.com
Bonnie and August Conte, Shyla and Rick Kurnick
SQUARE FEET: 5,200
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 50
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $60
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aveda
COLOR: Aveda
TECH SUPPORT: Millennium, Demandforce, Spa Boom
ASSOCIATIONS: Cosmetologists Chicago, The Day Spa Association, PBA
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $40,000 to $49,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Wellness days for perfect attendance
“We use the team-based pay model to compensate our team—all service providers are paid hourly, plus a bonus when the team hits monthly goals. Emphasis on team culture has lead to an inspired staff and a healthy sustainable business.”

Bijin Salon & Spa
Prairie Village, KS
bijinsalon.com
Connie Suss
SQUARE FEET: 10,000
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 90
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $50
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Kerastase, Bumble and bumble, Shu Uemura
COLOR:  Wella
TECH SUPPORT: Millennium, Demandforce, SpaBoom
ASSOCIATIONS: PBA
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $50,000 to $59,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Monthly cultural allowance, yearly CPR certification
"We continue to be a growing company, but put the value of work/life balance ahead of profits by closing the days after Thanksgiving and Christmas to enjoy the holidays."

Chemistry Hair Salon
Shreveport, LA
chemistryhairsalon.com
Bryan Sullivan
SQUARE FEET: 1,488
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 9
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $46
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Redken, Pureology, Moroccanoil
COLOR: Redken
TECH SUPPORT: Envision
ASSOCIATIONS: Redken Club 5th Avenue
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $40,000 to $49,999
UNIQUE BENEFITS: 3% matched retirement savings; monthly discount for 5 friends/family
"At Chemistry Hair Salon a new stylist can go from cosmetology school to earning a six-figure income in as little as 12 years. With our 40-week associate training program and six-tiered performance-based compensation, they start their career the right way: fast, fun and financially rewarded."

Craig Berns Salon Spa

Delafield, WI
craigberns.com
Craig and Mary Beth Berns
SQUARE FEET: 3,200
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 22
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $45
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aveda
COLOR: Aveda
TECH SUPPORT: Millennium, Demandforce, Groupon, SpaBoom, Spa Finder
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $30,000 to $39,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Education dollars, free education
"As stylists move up in education and training, they have a constant pay rate—not commission—which helps them build a personal life without fear of what each check will be. Add to that health insurance dollars, a dental plan, education coop dollars and up to three weeks fully paid vacation."

Eric Fisher Salons
Wichita, KS
ericfisher.com
Eric and Mary Fisher
SQUARE FEET: 4,000, 1,500, 1,500
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 100
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $42
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aquage, Biomega, Kerastase
COLOR: Goldwell and L'Oreal
TECH SUPPORT: STX, Survey Monkey
ASSOCIATIONS: PBA
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $40,000 to $49,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Quarterly bonus party, free education
"We provide free, quarterly in-house training with guest artists from around the globe providing continuing education to our staff. We host quarterly bonus parties, offer free lunch on Fridays, a Starbucks machine as well as traditional benefits like medical, vision, life insurance, AD&D, paid vacations and a retirement plan. We pay the taxes on all the stylists' tips and pay all credit card charges."

Jackson Ruiz Salon
Austin, TX
jacksonruiz.com
Allen Ruiz and Heath Smith
SQUARE FEET: 2,400
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 55
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $75
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aveda
COLOR: Aveda
SALON SOFTWARE: SalonBiz, Constant Contact, Demandforce
ASSOCIATIONS: PBA
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $50,000 to $59,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Domestic Partner Benefit, Fitness membership
"We offer numerous benefits including medical, dental, vision, life, disability, domestic partner, paid vacation and sick time. We also offer non-traditional benefits such as a wellness benefit (fitness membership), paid community service hours and a group cell phone program."

Jiva Salonspa
Cedar Falls, IA
jivasalonspa.com
Bill Bradford
SQUARE FEET: 3,000
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 20
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $33
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aveda
COLOR: Aveda
TECH SUPPORT: SalonBiz, Demandforce
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $40,000 to $49,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Dental, Health, 401K, Cafeteria Plan
"As a stylist progresses and meets benchmarks they can advance through four different levels of stylist tiers. In 2013,  Jiva began offering tenured stylists an educator's fee. These stylists receive additional compensation for training new stylists on Aveda systems and techniques."

Josephine's Day Spa and Salon
Houston, TX
josephinesdayspa.com
Vivian Yeh
SQUARE FEET: 5,600, 3,000
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 66
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $45 and up
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aveda
COLOR: Aveda
TECH SUPPORT: SalonBiz, Demandforce
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $40,000 to $49,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Profit sharing, flexible work
"In 2014, Josephine's is introducing double-shifting. This practice creates flexibility as the shifts are either a morning 8-2:30 or evening 3-9, which provides better scheduling for staff and growth opportunities for the business."

Maude a Boutique Salon
Herndon, VA
maudehair.com
Celeste Williams, Tina Jay and Vanessa Rose
SQUARE FEET: 1,700
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 18
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $36
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Redken, Pureology
COLOR:  Redken  
TECH SUPPORT: STX
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $60,000 to $69,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: 401(K) match, paid vacation, education
"We are completely education focused at Maude. Certifications and education classes are required to jump through Maude's levels, of which there are 7."

Remedez Hair Spa
Orem, UT
remedez.com
Bernie Nielsen, Cynthia and Tyler Gambill
SQUARE FEET: 2,900
TOTAL EMPLOYEES: 35
AVERAGE CUT & STYLE: $34
BEST SELLING RETAIL: Aveda
COLOR: Aveda
TECH SUPPORT: SalonBiz, Demandforce, SpaBoom
AVERAGE STYLIST INCOME: $30,000 to $39,999
UNIQUE BENEFIT: Bonus systems, education dollars, paid assistant program
“Our mentoring program assists each salon member to advance, giving them someone to go to for advice while giving responsibility to a seasoned team member. One benefit to the mentor is that while teaching they execute our systems at a higher level, which results in their growth as well.”

Additional Honorees:
Blo, Raleigh, NC
Centre Salon & Spa, Tiffany Plaza, Denver, CO
Clive and Co., Dallas, TX
Douglas Carroll Salon, Raleigh, NC
Gavin Scott Salon & Spa, Stow, OH
Ginger Bay Salon & Spa, St. Louis, MO
Ihloff Salon and Day Spa, Tulsa, OK
Mango Salon, Richmond, VA
Omagi Salon & Spa, Louisville, KY
Paul Kenneth Salon & Spa, Woburn, MA
Pepper’s Salon, Puyallup, WA
Salon 01, Carmel, IN
Serenity Couture Aveda Lifestyle Salon Spa, West Des Moines, IA
Spa Nijoli & Salon, Methuen, MA
Solaris, Evansville, IN
The Hair Company, Leonardtown, MD