Instead of allowing your salon to slip into an off-season slump, execute these strategies to encourage stylists, bring in clients and grow your profits. Here we've highlighted five Aveda Means Business articles that describe methods salon owners have employed to improve culture and inspire growth. Scroll through for best practices and tips on building a mission statement, offering new services, networking with other salon owners and more.
1. Build a mission statement that makes your team feel empowered and excited to grow.
Hanna Cannon, owner of Salon Linnea in Palmetto, Florida, feels so passionately about Aveda’s mission that she had the statement tattooed on her back. Setting out on the path to being a hairdresser at just 16 years old, Cannon was the youngest person to attend an Aveda Institute. After graduating she began working at Nuovo, a prestigious Aveda salon with several locations in the Sarasota area, and became an assistant colorist. She then moved on to Planet Salon in Los Angeles, where she continued studying color under Ginger Boyle. At 21, Cannon became the first and only hair color Purefessional.
This early success gave her confidence and at age 22, Cannon opened her first salon in the small town of Palmetto, Florida. She bought an existing salon and turned it into an Aveda salon, then tripled business in the first year. She credits the success of her salon with the one-on-one, above-and-beyond attention that Aveda salons give their clients. And she attributes her personal success to the strong and supportive culture of Aveda.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today with any other company,” Cannon says of her alignment with Aveda. “They follow through everything in their mission statement—it’s more than just a product line.”
2. Offer services that address clients’ needs—and don’t be quick to assume that “niche” services won’t be profitable.
Tim Belcher, owner of three Whole Salon and Spa locations in Tampa, Florida, has found great value in offering extensions in the salon and affirms that the clientele may not be as niche as you may think. For some salon owners, adding extensions to the menu, training staff on application, adding inventory and marketing to guests sounds like a lot of work for just the few clients that want to add length or a touch of fashion color. However, Belcher found a whole category of clients that struggle with thinning hair and are thrilled to be offered a solution.
Belcher did find flaws in the general system of offering extensions, though. For one things, they were often too expensive for clients. For another, once an ideal guest was identified, he had to order the hair and schedule the client to come back a week later. To streamline the service and make it more accessible to all clients, Belcher began carrying VoMor extensions.
“When VoMor came out, that’s when everything changed for me,” Belcher says. “It’s unique because it’s an in-house inventory.”
Now, extensions became an easy add-on for clients, and an affordable one. Adding six extensions (a box of VoMor contains six) is a 15-minute add-on at Whole Salons and Spas for around $200. The maintenance is every eight weeks, and since the client already has the hair, is a service price of around $75.
3. Connect with other salons in the area to share resources, ideas and advice.
Four salon owners in the Sarasota, Florida area have gotten together to pool their resources and bounce ideas off each other to maximize the impact of their small salons. Hanna Cannon, the girl with the Aveda tattoo and owner of Salon Linnea, Liza Howard of LG Howard & Company, Mark Walker of Shear Rituals Salon and Beauty Bar and Rebekah Norrell of Salon Norrell have varied experience among them and have decided to view each other as resources rather than competitors.
“We quickly found out we had common struggles and interests with staffing, finding new clients and building a brand,” Walker says.
The four owners realized that they were all Aveda salons, all new owners, were withing a 15-20 mile radius of each other and were all hungry to grow. They all recognized the difficulty of bringing in big-name guest artists to train their stylists and found that by pooling funds and doing joint training sessions, they could compete with the education that larger salons could offer.
“It’s better to grow together than struggle independently,” Walker says.
4. Retain and inspire stylists with a supportive culture that offers flexibility.
In California, booth rental salons are prevalent and many young stylists become renters under the assumption that they will make more money and put in less hours. Karla Lopez-Martinez and Keri Davis-Duffy, co-owners of Gila Rut Aveda Salons point out that this is not always the reality.
“I think it’s doing a disservice to students by leading them to believe they’ll make their own schedule and make a lot of money right after they get their license,” Lopez-Martinez says of beauty schools that coach students as if they’ll be going straight into booth rental. “It takes three to five years to build your business and be successful.”
Gila Rut retains its staff with benefits, flexibility and perks that can’t be found as an independent contractor. They offer a four-day week schedule that stylists can opt into. They can work ten hours, four days a week and still be full-time.
“We’ve had to implement more flexibility into our culture so employees feel like they have more of a say in what their schedules look like,” Lopez-Martinez says.
5. Get stylists excited about tracking and growing their numbers with a summer challenge.
Qnity, an education company that provides training and tools to stylists, managers and owners, has the perfect antidote to the summer-time slump. Tom Kuhn, Qnity founder and CEO, just released results for a group of graduates of the Qnity Q+A Program. These graduates were part of a national pilot program, called the “17% Challenge” where 198 participants from 19 salons across the country committed to 13 weeks of tracking their numbers to reach 17% or greater growth.
“We compared their performance over the 13 weeks to the previous 26-week period average,” Kuhn says. “Of the 198 service providers, 68% had double-digit growth. The overall growth for the group was 18%.” “It was an increase of $661,000 for the group.” Kuhn adds, “If we were to annualize this growth, it would be more than 2.6 million dollars in additional revenue.”
In addition to impressive numbers, Kuhn also believes, for the majority of the individuals who went through the program, the numbers will stick. Though it is reasonable to expect that stylists may lose focus by the end of the challenge, Qnity actually saw numbers rise during the second half. This makes it plausible that these numbers will be a permanent increase for their business.
So why 17%? “It’s significant, something that can be felt in the pocket book” Kuhn says. “But it is also highly achievable for the overwhelming majority of service providers. For the average person, 17% is just two to three more clients per week and $3-$5 more per ticket.”