When Jessica Hoach and her husband, Martin Truong, opened Eikonic House of Barbers in the leafy Toronto suburb of Brampton in Ontario, Canada, they quickly found themselves working seven very long days a week. But six years on, and despite growing the team from two to 15 and planting the seed for two further businesses, one a distributorship for Mitzutani Shears and the other a training school, they now have time for themselves, their young son, Austin, and their garden.
‘You absolutely need a work/life balance or you lose your creativity,’ says Jessica, who oversees the business side while Martin leads the barbershop and the training school. ‘We have our passions outside of the business as well as in it, and that’s the way we want our lives to be.’
The secret to their success in business is introducing firm systems and procedures backed by a solid training program. They followed a corporate model from day one, where their team is employed and paid accordingly by Eikonic, rather than run a booth rental or commission-based system. This is unusual in hairdressing in their area, unheard of in barbering. Jessica has also made sure everything is recorded electronically in their Shortcuts Software system; from the hours the team works to the most recent purchases by their Mitzutani customers.
‘Technology doesn’t run the business,’ explains Jessica, who along with Martin, has shared their experiences on film in a new series, produced by Shortcuts, revealing how salon owners can reclaim a healthier work/life balance. ‘But it makes running the business so much easier. When we opened we chose Shortcuts as it is so versatile and flexible. We run all three businesses on it. If you familiarize yourself with the various reports you can find out so much about how your business is functioning and be in total control – even while sitting in your garden.’
It’s their garden that Jessica and Martin retreat to for relaxation. As with their business, they have clear responsibilities there. Martin grows vegetables and Jessica oversees the flowers. It’s where you’ll find her on a sunny day, pottering around her flower beds with her son Austin helping, shovel in hand, because technology allows her to manage the business when it suits her.
‘I spend three days in the business, which are very full-on, making sure the right people are paid the right amount at the right time; that inquiries are answered quickly and efficiently and that clients are being well looked after. So on my other days I try to spend a lot of time in our garden. I find time to think creatively when I’m in there. I can separate my thoughts from the stresses of everyday life because I know if something needs to be done I can rely on the team to deal with it. But if it’s something I must do I also know I can quickly and easily deal with it without having to rush to the store.’
Being a Shortcuts client gives her the flexibility to work remotely. It means she is never cut off from any aspect of the business, a situation commonly referred to as life/work ‘hum.’ You never really switch off, but are relaxed because you have control. For Jessica, moving from a hum to a perfect balance is where the garden comes in. In both environments, her role is to plan carefully, to keep a watch on how things progress and at all times be there in one form or another to nurture them to their full potential.