Chris Nedza is the founder of ZeeZor, a real-time data analytics and employee engagement app for...

Chris Nedza is the founder of ZeeZor, a real-time data analytics and employee engagement app for salons and spas.

On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister did something nobody in history had accomplished—he was the first person to run the mile in under 4 minutes. it was a feat scientists at the time said was humanly impossible. Incredibly, it was done by another runner just two months later and has been accomplished by over 1,400 runners since.

At the first Data-Driven Salon Summit in 2017, we presented the ZeeZor award to Denise Deering, a colorist from Juut SalonSpa in Palo Alto, California. Her incredible feat? She broke the $500,000 total sales mark (service plus retail sales) in one year, all without an assistant. I frequently speak with groups of salon owners and stylists and repeat Denise’s story. Doubters invariably say things like: “She must just do color” or “She’s in Palo Alto, no wonder.”

A few months ago I was approached by Jyl Craven, an owner and working stylist at Jyl Craven Hair Design. Jyl had heard Denise’s story at Data-Driven and set her eyes on breaking the $500,000 total sales mark with her own personal sales, and she did it! In 2016, Jyl brought in more than $300,000, so it’s not like she wasn’t already amazing. But knowing $500,000 was possible, she changed her thinking and got to work. And, she isn’t in Palo Alto or New York City—Jyl’s salon is in Canton, Georgia. I’ve been to Canton, and it’s nice, but nothing particularly special in terms of financial demographics.

At the second Data-Driven in May 2018, the team from Modern Salon and Spa in Charlotte, North Carolina, introduced me to their own Denise. Maryam Avaniardebily also set her sights on the elusive $500,000 mark and closed out 2018 bringing in $550,000 in total sales. None of these women have super powers, but they do share some common practices that can help other stylists surpass the $500,000 mark:

• DEVELOP GOOD HABITS, AND STICK TO THEM. All three are disciplined about planning in advance. They take care of personal issues outside of work and are focused when they’re at work. They have a mindset of “If you stay ready, you don’t need to get ready.” They eagerly anticipate each guest’s arrival and experience.

• SET GOALS. They all set goals, review them regularly and adjust as needed. Denise now has a goal of $15,000 per week in total sales—she broke her year down into bite-sized chunks, and she constantly reviews her schedule so she can work in any possible new guests in quickly.

• CONTINUE TO LEARN. Technology isn’t just about Instagram; technology is constantly changing in the manufacturing and production. These three professionals are constantly taking classes on everything from social media to microblading to hair extensions. Their clients receive a full suite of services and products. Denise says there’s a side benefit to learning—it keeps her energized and prevents burn-out.

• STUDY YOUR GUEST. When speaking with Maryam, I was amazed by her desire to serve. She studies each guest and takes a genuine interest in them. “I pay attention to all the details—if my guest likes black coffee, I welcome them with a cup of black coffee. It’s a relationship based on trust, and they trust my recommendations because they know I care.”

All three plan in advance and know what products the guest has purchased. They have a plan about the services they will recommend before the guest arrives.

As Jyl says: “My job is to do everything possible to make my guest look and feel their best, and then show them how to recreate that look at home.”

• BECOME AN EXPERT OF YOUR PRODUCT LINES. Jyl loves how Kerastase products make her hair look and feel, and says she wants her guests to share that same experience. Denise loves Aveda and Maryam raves about Organic Care products. All three know exactly which product will work best for their guests, and they view product as an essential part of the guest experience.

• ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ALTITUDE. These amazing leaders put others first, understand hard work is unavoidable, and they dish out credit to their teams. They exude humility and joy, combining high energy with a servant’s heart.

There are three types of people: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happened. It’s clear these three artists make it happen. Follow the advice of these trail blazers.

On May 19-21, the Data-Driven Salon Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, will spotlight data stars including Jyl Craven in a hands-on workshop approach to mining the metrics to drive salon performance. Learn more at

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