Prior to opening her first salon, Samantha Sharpless took a trip to Italy for inspiration.
“I loved the culture and relaxed atmosphere of the coffee and wine bars we visited,” she says. “I wanted to create a salon with a similar vibe.”
In 2018, Sharpless opened Vivo Beauty Bar in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, with a team of “beautytenders” who serve up beauty every day.
As the salon leader, Sharpless is always looking for ways to make the Vivo experience better not just for her clients, but also for her team.
When she learned about Tippy, the digital tipping platform for salons and spas, from a fellow owner on Instagram, she knew it could benefit her business.
“I ran our reports and saw how much we were paying in credit card fees on tips—it adds up fast with 15 stylists,” she says. “And my stylists wouldn’t see their tips until they received their weekly paychecks.”
So in January 2019, Sharpless rolled out Tippy to avoid the credit card fees and provide her team their tips instantly. The set-up was simple: iPads at her front desk with the tipping percentages already figured out for the guest. Tippy provided an iPad, kiosk and technical support.
And the Tippy app is integrated into her team members’ digital wallets so their tips are instantly available.
“Tippy has significantly lowered our credit card processing fees,” Sharpless says. “And now I don’t have to calculate tips in payroll, either. I can’t imagine going back to the way we used to do it.”
Tending to the Team
Before using Tippy, the Vivo team’s tips were integrated into the salon’s software and processed as part of the service. Stylists never saw the individual amount a client tipped them—it was all rolled into paychecks.
Now, with the Tippy app, Sharpless’ stylists get instant notification when and how much a client tips them.
“Tippy recently formed a partnership with Branch,” says Marci Zerbe, Success Specialist at Tippy. “This gives stylists instant access to their tips—it’s the next best thing to cash.”
But for some stylists, the allure of Tippy isn’t the instant access–it’s the ability to create a separate savings account.
Beautytender Allison Gillespie says, “The tips are laid out in a way where I can see what I made in a week or a day at a glance. I’m going on maternity leave soon and I can bank my tips to save for my time off. I like the separation of my tips from my paycheck.”
Another benefit? Bigger tips.
“We noticed all our beautytenders started receiving a higher tip percentage per service after bringing on Tippy,” Sharpless says.
When Sharpless rolled out Tippy, she compared it to using an app like Venmo and explained how stylists were waiting a week to get their tips via credit card.
“They’re excited about it when they check out,” she says. “They see their beautytender’s name and face on the Tippy iPad and are able to customize a tip or choose a percentage.”
Zerbe says they were surprised when they realized how many customers weren’t sure what an appropriate tip was.
“Having suggested tip amounts gives the customer a good baseline,” she says.
Sharpless adds, “People used to just add a flat $10 or $15 to their ticket. Now, when they choose a percentage, it ends up being much higher than the flat rate they previously tipped.”
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