OWNER TO OWNER: Lords & Ladies Has Found the Perfect Consistency Equation. It’s Called MEME.
Lords & Ladies’ Owners Terry and Lori DerrPhoto 1 of 4
Each of the seven Lords & Ladies Pennsylvania locations is situated within an existing home or built to look like a home.Photo 2 of 4
The décor is consistent throughout each location—a warm and inviting marriage of vintage and modern chic.Photo 3 of 4
Education is one of the four “pillars” of operation and there are programs in place for stylists at every level of expertise.Photo 4 of 4
MEME is Lords & Ladies Salon’s acronym for management, education, marketing and environment. It’s also the rock-solid foundation on which Lords & Ladies Owner Terry Derr has built his successful, seven-location business in Pennsylvania. Thanks to MEME, Terry has established the perfect blend of consistency and unique personality for the brand. The results are evident across all the salons’ key indicators—including recruitment, retention and retailing.
Here’s more about how MEME guides the Lords & Ladies teams.
For more information about Lords & Ladies Salons visit www.lordsandladiessalons.com
Maintaining consistency across seven locations can seem daunting, but Derr credits his dedicated management team for creating and maintaining the systems that knit every salon together. “My theory has been to keep everything the same, like McDonald’s,” he says. “If I go to China, I want to buy the same cheeseburger as in Pennsylvania. Of course, each salon has its own personality, based on the personalities who work there, but all the services are the same.”
The Lords & Ladies management team—each a full-time position—covers the business’s essential bases. There is a Director of Operations, Director of Retailing, Director of Education, Director of Marketing and Director of Recruitment. Each person spends time working with the salon managers in every location. Every six weeks or so, the entire staff gathers with the management team for breakfast meetings over the course of two mornings. “We talk about past, present and future,” says Derr. “What went right or wrong since our last meeting, what’s going on presently and my thoughts for the future.”
Training is at the heart of Lords & Ladies’ success, and it starts with prospective employees who are still in beauty school. Ashley Rivera oversees recruitment for the salons, and she regularly visits schools to educate students on the company’s career opportunities. The goal? Bringing these students into the salon’s assistant and training program to cultivate “homegrown” stylists. “Eighty-five to ninety percent of our stylists are homegrown,” says Rivera. “And we have employees who have been with us for 30 years.”
Students start out with paid internships, to get a feel for the company and determine if it’s a good fit. If they decide to stay, they move into the assistant program, where they work with other stylists on the salon floor. Once they finish school, they enter Lords & Ladies’ graduate program—three months of classes conducted by the salon’s education team. The curriculum covers cutting, coloring, styling and retailing, plus they’re given the tools to build a successful business. “I believe in giving stylists all the tools I have as an owner to be successful,” says Derr. “I teach them to build a business within my business.”
Education continues at Lords & Ladies throughout the stylists’ careers. The Lords & Ladies Education Center hosts 12 platform artists from partner brand L’Oréal Professionnel, as well as other guests, each year at no cost. All hair color education is conducted by L’Oréal Professionnel. Staff members attend the L’Oréal Professionnel World Tour and the company’s academies in New York and California. “Someone from L’Oréal Professionnel is always in here educating someone,” Derr laughs. “But seriously, I can’t say enough about them. When we started the company, we had a wonderful relationship with our distributors, the Raylon Corp., owned by the Hafetz family. When Raylon was sold, L’Oréal Professionnel continued to support us from every angle possible. We would never be where we are today without the Hafetz family and L’Oréal Professionnel.”
Derr and the marketing team are responsible for the success tools that help build new stylists. One of the most successful programs has been the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday Special Days. “A long time ago, I noticed most salons were closed Sundays and Mondays, and still are,” says Derr. “So, I decided to open on those days and invite clients to come in for heavily discounted services with new talent. The program became so successful, we expanded it to Tuesdays. When a stylist reaches an 85 percent request rate, they’re taken off one of the special days. When they reach 95 percent, they’re off all special days and only work on regular days for our regular prices. It’s a fast-track to helping new stylists build a book, it keeps them busy and they’re improving their skills.”
The original Lords & Ladies location was established in a lovely Victorian mansion, and the formula stuck. Subsequent locations are either situated in existing homes or built to look like stately residences. Inside every salon, the décor is warm and welcoming—a perfect marriage of vintage and modern chic.
And as everyone knows, environment is about more than the color of the walls. It’s also a feeling that emanates from the people in the room, good or bad. For Terry, a positive overall feeling in each location is a key goal, one he achieves by making Lords & Ladies a highly desirable place to work. “Historically, salon owners have always been afraid to build stylists, for fear they will leave,” he explains. “My philosophy is to do the opposite. I say, let’s create an atmosphere someone would have to be an idiot to leave.” So, in addition to the outstanding education opportunities, staff member benefits include a pension plan and short-term disability that is especially appealing to young women starting families. Most of all, he empowers his team to succeed. “Terry hires people he can trust, and then he trusts them,” says Rebecca Ezolt, Brand & Marketing Director. “Egos don’t last. We’re team-oriented. He understands your team will make or break you. And they will perform when they know you respect them and they know how important you are to them.”
A Snapshot of Lords & Ladies Salons
Salon: Lords & Ladies Salon and Medical Spa
Owners: Terry and Lori Derr
City, State: Douglassville, PA
Average square feet of each location: 4,000-6,000
Average number of stations at each location: 16
Total employees: just over 300
Treatment Rooms: 2-3 per location
Retail lines: L2 (private label); L’Oréal Professionnel; Kerastase; Redken; Davines; Eufora; Cezanne; Malibu C
Color line: L’Oréal Professionnel
Shampoo, Cut and Style: $45 - $85
Single Process Color: $63
Salon software: Salon Biz
Best-selling product: L’Oréal Professionnel Vitamino Shampoo
Newest retail product: L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver Shampoo
Newest service: Cezanne Instant Smooth