Management Practices

How Communal Styling Stations Can Boost Salon Productivity and Improve Culture

Stacey Soble | January 19, 2018 | 7:47 AM
The new communal station at NVS Salon promote camaraderie while boosting productivity.

After outgrowing their former location, Tammy Ehrbaker and Stathis Kotanidis, owners of NVS Salon and Spa in Bel Air, MD, bought property in January 2016 at a major intersection and dreamed up plans to make their new salon more productive and efficient.

“In the old location, we had eight stations and 11 stylists—with eight stylists having their own station and the other three working out of carts,” Ehrbaker explains. “When stylists had a day off, it was inefficient to have those sitting, and I found myself not hiring really great stylists because we didn’t have the room.”

Desiring a more efficient system, Ehrbaker broached the topic of designing communal stations into the new space with a skeptical staff. The front of the communal station has a full-length mirror, and the right side holds all the tools.

“Stylists no longer have a specific station. The salon bought the blowdryers, curling irons, combs, clips and brushes, and we supply the product at each communal station,” Ehrbaker says. “When a stylist comes to work, all they need to grab are their personal shears and they can work at any station. A cubby designed into the left side of the station allows each stylist to store any extra supplies she brings for the day.”

The communal design gives the salon the ability to have each station working from open to close. “We now have nine stations and 21 working stylists, and they are happy,” Ehrbaker reports. “The new design reduces stylist complaints because everything is communal and the ability to stand next to someone new every day promotes camaraderie.”

In addition, the new design makes it easier for the salon to hire a new stylist who only wants to work a few days a week. “This design has been good for the salon, the stylists and the team as a whole,” Ehrbaker says.

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