To ensure a bright future for professional beauty, it’s critical to engage top potential talent, convince them of the promising careers in cosmetology and provide them with solid educational opportunities. In the past several years, many salon owners have personally shouldered some of this burden by launching their own academies.

For Sasha Rash, owner of La Jolie Salon in Princeton, New Jersey, launching The Lab Paul Mitchell Partner School (paulmitchellthelab.com) was a tremendous undertaking—financially, legally, professionally and personally.

“Academies are not large hair salons, and students are not salon guests,” Rash says. “The business model is totally different from a salon or manufacturing model and obtaining the unique and specific school expertise can be a lengthy process.”

Rash says the Paul Mitchell Franchise was of great assistance in providing vision, global concepts and experience—so it made the process somewhat easier. However, the specifics of opening and operating a school in the state of New Jersey was a whole new set of skills she had to learn. Although it was difficult, the pay off has been worthwhile. “My salon leadership team has grown tremendously,” she says. “Starting and growing a new business created a real opportunity for the team to step up and stretch their own leadership. My focus shifted to the school and their focus intensified on the salon. The fulfillment you get when you participate in a student’s success is without a doubt one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.”

For Gary Howse, co-founder of Gary Manuel Salon, Phase 3 and Gary Manuel Aveda Institute (garymanuel.com), in Seattle, Washington, the most significant contribution the school has made to Gary Manuel Salon aside from providing a new source of future talent, is the advanced training program.

“When we were developing the Instructor Training Program at Gary Manuel Aveda Institute, we worked with those who wanted to teach at both locations,” Howse says. “We had taught them to how to train others technically for years. However, this was the first time we taught them to teach. This has improved how well and how quickly new employees progress through the training as well as making teaching a more impactful career path for the instructors. It has had a profound difference in the salon’s training program and culture.”

Another great synergistic result of launching the academy, Howse says, is the school has become a new career path for some designers. While building their business, some have gone through the Instructor Training Program to hone their customer service and technical skills in a new way. “It provides them with another revenue source while providing the school with talented teachers,” he says. “A few have even made it their full-time career. This also helps us ensure that the two cultures are tied to one another and continue to be similar.”

Lastly, Howse says, the school’s presence has enabled Gary Manuel to expand the services provided to guests. With the lower price point offered at the school, they are able to service another sector of the market. “And,” Howse says, “with a spa, it allows our guests, and our team, to enjoy services not offered at Gary Manuel Salon.”

More articles in this series, 2010 Vision: The New Rules of Engagement:
2010 Vision: Engage New Business
Engage Your Employees
Engage Your Conscience
Engage Through Marketing
Engage Your Social Media Networks
Engage Your Budget
Engage Through Accountability
Engage Without Compromise
Engage Our Future

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