In SALON TODAY’s constant search for practices and strategies that lead to stronger salon businesses, we came across five articles from Aveda Means Business that offer valuable tips to salon owners. From how to support your stylists and clients to what you should look for in business relationships, these tips can set you on the path to becoming a stronger leader.
1. Care for your stylists through employment benefits and professional and personal support.
The more you give, the more you get when it comes to employees. Jessica Weckherlin, a stylist at William Edge salon in Arlington, Texas, says the culture her owner has created fuels her success. She feels well taken care of due to the salon’s commission-based salary, health benefits and paid holidays and vacation. Plus, systems like service cycles, retail edge, makeup edge and scripts provide service standards that make it easy for stylists to maximize their potential.
“William has done so much for me and my team members, that it makes sense for us to do everything in our power to be successful with the systems he has put in place for us,” says Weckherlin.
Plus, Owner William Edge cares for his stylists beyond just the work they do in the salon. Every year he hosts Tribal Forum where he brings together staff from all of his salon locations for a few days of inspirational presentations. This past summer he brought Weckherlin and other team members to Chicago for a Tony Robbins: Unleash the Power Within seminar where they participated in conversations about life and family. Weckherlin credits a lot of her success to knowing she’s not simply a money machine or another number.
“At the end of the day, happy employees equal happy guests. Happy guests come back, refer their friends and family, and we stay busy,” Weckherlin says. “They feel our energy, and they always come back for more.”
Check out Aveda Means Business' “What Do Stylists Need from Owners? We Asked Them” article to learn more about the importance of mutual trust, a cultivated culture and confidence in business for salon owners.
2. Teach stylists to track their numbers so they can set professional goals and understand what is necessary to reach them.
New stylist Kacy Reynolds began her career at Paris Parker salon just as the rest of the staff was completing the Qnity program, a system to help stylists understand and track their numbers. Reynolds, not wanting to be the weak link, took a crash course with one of the Qnity educators and incorporated tracking her numbers into a career from the beginning.
This process allowed Reynolds to notice and celebrate her good weeks, and reevaluate and learn from her bad weeks.
“One week I had a $500 week, which I hadn’t had in a long time,” she says. “But I could look at it and know that even though the client count was low that week, maybe I could’ve done better if I had done more add-ons or sold more retail.”
Reynolds admits that initially her goal was just getting comfortable with speaking the words to upsell and offer retail, but as she became more experienced she began focusing on growing her numbers. Paris Parker does stylist evaluations and price increases – if warranted – every six months. Reynolds quickly got bumped from $30 for a haircut to $40 to $45. When things come up in her personal finances, like needing to buy a new car, Reynolds’ secure career makes her feel comfortable making that decision. Plus, she knows what she needs to focus on in her career to continue to see her salary climb.
3. Teach stylists to conduct consultations that show clients the services, expertise and care available to them at the salon.
Corrine Kleinberger, owner of As You Like It Salon in Bonita Springs, Florida, can attest that implementing Aveda’s 5C consultation can completely turn around a struggling salon business.
The 5C consultation outlines the topics that must be covered in every consultation: cut, color, condition, commitment and cost.
“We want to provide what our clients really want,” said Kleinberger. “Just because they are in for a cut doesn’t mean we can’t talk about color. So now we ask questions like, ‘Are you loving your color? Not loving it? What are your challenges?’”
This presents the opportunity to book clients for a color service. The same goes for condition – ask a client if his or her is shiny, limp, overwashed, etc. If they are experiencing any difficulties, recommend a service that will benefit their hair.
The final two c’s ensure that the client is satisfied with their service. Find out a client’s level of commitment when it comes to care and styling. If they receive a cut that they are not prepared to maintain, they will not be happy. Also, if you offer add-on services, be sure the client knows what the additional cost will be. “The worst thing you can do is surprise someone at the end of a visit,” says Kleinberger. “If a client was planning on a $100 bill and leaves with a $250 bill, that’s not fair.”
The 5C consultation is not about pushing sales on customers, it’s about ensuring clients are aware of the services the salon offers and are advised on the ones that they could most benefit from.
“If you have pure intent, the sincerity of feeling comes across to the guest and they understand and trust you have their best intentions in mind, and you’re not just telling them anything to get them to spend,” says Kleinberger. “It starts with the consultation. It has helped retail, referrals and prebooking. The consultation really affects everything.”
4. Require your stylists to be highly dedicated and nerdy about hair in exchange for great compensation and support.
Kez and Gareth Broad became owners of Noggins Salon in Ridgeland, Mississippi and quickly set out to make it the premiere, high-quality salon in the area. Kez took over her position at Noggins after studying with Toni&Guy in London and determined and that a focus on education would be top priority in her new venture. She and Gareth created a program to set their stylists up for success.
“We taught them a formula,” says Kez. “It starts with marketability: how you talk, your facial expressions, what you’re wearing, etc. Next, we teach business sense: the consultation and the art of conversation. Finally, we talk about the medical side of hairdressing.”
This is where Noggins truly differentiates itself from the competition. Kez has a friend who is a holistic doctor and was able to introduce the Broads to solutions for shedding, dryness, damage, oiliness at the roots and hair that won’t hold a style.
This level of specialization requires dedication from the entire salon team. Noggins has seven stylists who do $100,000/year each.
“We can afford to pay them better to make sure they don’t head down the road,” says Kez. “You must be really, really driven to work here.”
5. Learn to leverage strengths in business relationships and see the value that other’s bring to the table – even if it means accepting unfamiliar strategies.
When two stylists, Terry McKee and James Amato, decided to go into business together, it didn’t take long before their clashing personalities made them question the decision.
“Our personalities are completely opposite,” says McKee. “I see big picture, he sees details. I think, ‘what if,’ and he thinks ‘what is.’”
These differences used to cause major upsets between the two and there was always a bone of contention. Then they read an article about companies that were putting workers together who have opposing views and letting them have a controlled collision.
“They were using that creative abrasion as energy to propel the company,” McKee says. “The only rule was you had to honor each other’s perspective and know they were bringing something valuable to the table, even if it seemed foreign to you.”
Once the two recognized this, they each began to see the other as an asset rather than an obstacle.
“We’re equally financially literate, but he’ll capture more details,” says McKee. “And I’ll have a more comprehensive, conceptual grasp than he might. I don’t need another person with vision. I need someone who enables me to move into that vision in a step-by-step, practical way.”
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