Mark and Sonna Brado, Owners of Jaazz Salons Inc. (Spokane, Washington)
Mark and Sonna Brado, Owners of Jaazz Salons Inc. (Spokane, Washington)

After achieving a level of success within their own markets, these salons are sharing their experience by teaching others what they know best.

Three salons-one in New York, one in Chicago and one in Washington state. If you tally their accomplishments together, it's an impressive collective portfolio. They've built successful salon businesses, served on association boards, racked up years as platform artists, captured NAHA trophies, joined Intercoiffure, and been named to the SALON TODAY 200. So, where do you grow next?

For these three salons, the answer is easy-it's time to teach. By launching and branding their own advanced education programs for established stylists, colorists and owners, these salons are tapping a new stream of revenue, elevating their own businesses, and opening up new opportunities for their own staff members.

While they're growing in the same direction, each salon is going about it differently -- putting unique education programs that are shaped by the strengths of their own businesses. SALON TODAY heads to class and examines these three programs individually:

Downtown Brownstone NYC
John Galietti and Xena Parsons
Owners of Xena's Beauty Company
New York, New York

The Classes: The "Downtown Brownstone Business Building Session" is a two-day course which allows participants to explore the art behind the commerce of beauty through a VIP tour of a museum, a private talk with a fashion photographer, and the experience of dining Italian-style in New York. The second day includes business-building sessions on developing your business' image, identity and implementation; double shifting, establishing yourself as a beauty expert, marketing and promotion, and building a visual business. The "Downtown Brownstone One-Day Cut and Color Session" is an exclusive and intimate class that explores the art principles and formulates a cut and color design.

The Inspiration: "In our Downtown Brownstone series we're teaching the business strategies we've developed over the past 10 years as we've gone about restructuring our own business and how we've set ourselves apart in a neighborhood with more than 100 salons," says Xena Parsons. "A few years ago we looked at our business and decided we were missing the fun and creativity, so we started looking at art, passion and the reason we got into this business. We started doing Italian-styled photo shoots and teaching our staff how to become beauty experts by studying art, fashion, and design. As a result our revenues increased, our retail revenues increased-and our staff was more motivated."

The Class Stats: Classes are offered about six times a year, with upcoming classes in November 2010, and April, May and June 2011. The two-day class is $1,200, the one-day class is $600 and each class size is limited to 10 participants.

The Teachers: Parsons teaches the consultation and the visual business portions, Galietti teaches double-shifting and prescription retailing and other salon members help with the cut and color technology. The salon also draws in a museum tour guide, a fashion photographer, and a restaurant owner to inspire participants.

On Location: The classes combine technical education conducted in Xena's Beauty Company combined with inspirational working field trips to a museum and an Italian restaurant.

Pride Builder: "We just presented the program at our last salon gathering even though the concepts we're teaching are the ones we use in our business. But sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees," says Parsons. "It's instilled a great sense of pride in our staff."

Inspiration: "While we will get paid for our work, we don't see this as a big profit-generator, but see it as sharing our ideas with others," says Parsons.

Growth From Here: For the past three years, Parsons and Galietti have selected two of their stylists to travel with them to Italy to study art and fashion, and conduct a photo shoot. "I see us growing this series into an educational event where we could take between four to six people with us."

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
A brochure from Downtown Brownstone NYC.

Brado Education
Mark and Sonna Brado
Owners of Jaazz Salons Inc.
Spokane, Washington

The Classes: At the salon's academy, "FUNdamentals and Shape-Shifting" is a two-day advanced cutting course. "Break it Down, Build It Up" is a one-day long hairdressing and updo class. "Progressive Fusion" is a one-day class that combines advanced cutting and coloring techniques. "Photo Lab" is an interactive two days that teaches the ins and outs of creating unbelievable photo shoots. And, Beauty Business Basics, is a one-day course that helps owners make their businesses more profitable. Brado Education travels and customizes in-salon classes and classes for trade shows.

The Inspiration: After working for more than 10 years with different manufacturers, Sonna began to recognize a desire for neutral-based education-classes that aren't sponsored by a specific manufacturer. Although she currently is a guest artist for KMS California, she decided to continue Brado Education which launched in 2007. "This came by just talking to many other stylists and owners who were tired of education being tied to a sales pitch," she says.

Frequency: Brado Education tries to hold classes about once a month.

The Class Stats: Brado Education holds classes about once a month. Prices vary from $150 to $300 if they are performed at the Brado Academy. If a class is customized for a salon, Sonna charges $900 a day plus expenses. Classes are either held at the salon's academy, on site in the salon that commissioned the education, at distributor locations or at trade shows. "Generally, I like about 15 students if I am alone, if there are more than that, I bring in a teammate," she says.

The Teachers: Sonna Brado teaches the bulk of the classes, but husband Mark helps with the photo classes and business classes. If classes are large, Sonna will bring a teammate-a staff member who teaches at their own salon.

Class Prep: "There is about 30-40 hours of work that goes into each class," says Brado. "Depending on which class we're teaching, we follow a detailed system of contacting attendees, prepping the styles/looks we are going to teach and general set up."

The Business Bridge: "I think Brado Education helps our industry profile as a salon," says Mark. "We use much of our photo work for the salon in Brado Education, so whether we are on the road or in a salon, people see the images and tie Jaazz and Brado education together. I also think Sonna's reputation as an educator and the reputation of the salon through Intercoiffue, NAHA and industry magazines, help build Brado Education."

Multi-Marketing: Brado Education is marketing via its website, via Facebook, through Constant Contact, brochures, and e-mail blasts. "We usually have great response to the combined effort," says Mark. "Plus, word-of-mouth testimonials are great."

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
Brochures from Brado Education.

RED 7 Salon Advanced Academy
Jason Hall and David Kafer
Owners of RED 7 Salon
Chicago and Evanston, Illinois

The Classes:  Cutting classes include: "Cutting Boot Camp" which focuses on the cutting classics; "Deconstructing the Classics" which focuses on texturizing techniques using shears and a razor; and "Disheveled, Disconnected and Daring!" which focuses on turning a mistake into a true beauty. Color classes include: "Digging Deeper into Color" which focuses on new foiling techniques and single-process application methods; "Creative Color: Pushing the Boundaries" which employs out-of-the-box formulations and application techniques; and "Corrective Color: Establish Your Plan of Attack." The "Building Your Brand" business class focuses on how to build business through customer-service initiatives.

"Our classes focus on the way the individual learns, so our educators are trained to adjust their teaching according to the needs of the students," says Jason Hall. "Also we are not associated with any product manufacturer nor does our education reflect one philosophy of thought. We share many different ways to approach the same problem."

Why Now: "When we launched our academy approximately a year ago, we wanted our local market and those in the Midwest to know there are other options besides New York and Los Angeles," says Hall. "Great education can be experienced with a leader in your market who wants to share, and we are excited to be one of those companies representing the Midwest."

The Class Stats: The academy schedules classes at its Chicago River North location every other month, and class sizes range from six to 16 participants. A two-day class costs approximately $720, which includes a meal, mannequin heads, a gift to take home and a follow-up call.

Works in Progress: The academy classes have roots in the salon's own training program. "We've selected outstanding individuals within our company to educate and represent our brand, based on their own education, experience, client satisfaction, attitude and skillset. All are at the senior level in our salon and our instructors in our training program," says Hall. "David works with all our senior educators to ensure than our message is strong and consistent, and during classes we are present to guarantee the highest level of education and support. We plan a complete curriculum around each subject with a follow-up support call."

"We speak to the professional in realistic terms-what will work in their chair. We want the education to be meaty, useful and something that can be incorporated in their daily work life," he adds.

Watching it Grow: RED 7 has mailed the advanced academy brochures to salons in Chicago, as well as areas in Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan. "We've seen a high level of interest-they want quality education that is accessible and approachable and they want it in the Midwest!"

Higher Learning: Salon Success though Education
Brochures from RED 7 Salon Advanced Academy.

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