Our audience likens the SALON TODAY brand as a cross between People and Fast Company. While we cover the movers and shakers in the salon space, we always do it with a keen view on the best practices they’re employing to grow their beauty businesses.
Our cover is a big part of our brand, and decades ago we followed our sister publication MODERN SALON’s lead when it came to creating it—we’d find a gorgeous model, line up a photoshoot in a studio and find a way to tie her to our theme through the callouts on the cover. While we created some beautiful covers, it wasn’t really on brand for SALON TODAY. For years, we used stock images that more closely aligned with each issue’s concept. Sometimes that worked brilliantly, sometimes it was a s-t-r-e-t-c-h. It also meant our look was radically different from cover to cover.
More recently, we embraced our People moniker, and decided to feature actual salon owners in their salon environments on our cover, and more precisely, sharing the owners who were sharing their stories in the pages within. We finally tapped into the right look for our brand.
That shift proved popular, and it gave our brand a clear, visual identity, it also necessitated some big changes in the editorial planning process. Now, I need a strong idea of the content we’ll be featuring several months out, including who will be interviewed for the cover story. Then I need to alert the owners and make sure they are willing, identify a photographer that works near the salon and determine where in the salon we’re going to shoot—all without ever stepping foot on the premises.
This particular cover was different. After Googling our featured salon, Haus of Heir, and discovering their Davenport, Iowa, location was only 90 miles away from my home base in Peoria, Illinois, I promised myself this was one shoot I would make. That was before the photographer Karen Bishop and the owners—Ramiro Corrales, Taylor Miller and Cameron Kepford—decided the best time to shoot in their newest location was 7 a.m., which gave them a few quiet, sunny hours before the salon opened. Determined, I drug myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m., got ready and drove northwest.
They were well into the first look by the time I got there, but since Ramiro, Taylor and Cameron brought three wardrobe changes, I caught plenty of the action. We shot the trio behind the front desk, in the reception area, against a wall for a clean backdrop and we even ended up shooting in the salon’s bathroom, which featured a beautiful geometric silver wallcovering. Karen’s husband, Matt Bishop, is a videographer and even documented the shoot for the salon.
The whole experience was over by 9 a.m., and I was at my desk by 11, eager to share some fabulous pictures with my team.