Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Stylists
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A salon is nothing without its stylists. One of the most challenging aspects of owning a salon is hiring and retaining good employees. For many this can be a daunting task, not only is the beauty industry subject to a high degree of turnover, but there’s a lot riding on the talent and ability of your staff.

So, the goal is to recruit talented and loyal stylists who come bearing positive energy and good work ethic—simple right? Well Brandon Hensley is here to tell you that it’s easier than you think.  

You might remember Brandon from our previous podcast episode featuring his best tips for boosting your salon business through your website, in which he actually discusses ways you can use your website for recruiting. If you missed it, we’ll give you a quick recap: Brandon, and his wife and business partner Janet, own and operate the Tangerine Salon Group, a collection of renowned luxury salons with quite the reputation in the beauty industry. Among their many accomplishments they recently became the exclusive salon for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

Having just opened their fifth branch of Tangerine Salon, Brandon is all too familiar with the motions of recruiting and retaining employees. Whether you’re struggling to find fresh talent or suffering from constant turnover, Brandon argues that you can win this battle by following these
simple recruiting and retention practices.

 

Sell New Stylists on Your Salon

You have to appeal to the best of the up and coming stylists before you can attempt to attract new clients. Of course, in order to entice new staff to join your team, you have to have your business in order, so these two go hand-in-hand. 

It’s even more important to set your salon above the rest in bigger cities where there is simply more competition. So, you have to start by creating a salon environment that everybody wants to work in. If your salon is able to staff the top new talent, your clientele will grow naturally. 

 

Create an Apprenticeship Program

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re only hiring the cream of the crop when it comes to new stylists is to raise them yourself. By creating your own apprenticeship program within your salon, you can take brand new talent, students just out of beauty school, and shape them into your top preforming master stylists. 

New employees are always looking for ways to further develop their skills. An apprenticeship program gives recent graduates the advanced education opportunities they’re looking for. Not to mention, it also ensures that you are protecting your salon culture and brand by setting certain standards for your employees and the work they produce. 

 

Make Use of Social Media

The next step is getting your employment opportunities in front of the right people. Brandon suggests using Instagram as your main marketing tool for attracting new stylists. Today, everyone is on Instagram. Students and recent graduates rely heavily on this platform to showcase their work. As an employer, you won’t want to be the last ones up to bat.

For the Tangerine Salon Group this means curating a tasteful and cohesive salon Instagrampage with high quality pictures of their best work. You want your Instagram page to be representative of your brand, just like your website. Think of it as simply another way for students and potential staff members to find you, and then make sure they’ll like what they see.

Brandon also encourages salon owners to take advantage of the opportunities for two-way communication over these various platforms. Don’t shy away from reaching out to students that catch your eye. If you stumble upon a talented young hair artist’s social media page and you’re
impressed with what you see—let them know! 

 

Communicate Your Culture Every Day

The number one way to retain employees is to communicate your culture every single day. Your salon staff want to know that they work in a place that they can be proud of. In order to keep your employees feeling happy and fulfilled in the workplace you have to reiterate your purpose and make clear your collective mission every chance you get.  

It’s good to give your staff a pat on the back every once in a while. Retaining staff is easy when you practice positive reinforcement. Remind your stylists that they are appreciated. Remind them that they belong to a team, a team that you hold to high standards because you know they can reach them, and one that you are honored to represent.

When you run a great business, and are able to create an environment that people want to work in, fresh young talent will naturally gravitate toward your salon. This will in turn spur a new wave of clientele to come in and see what you’re all about—it’s a promising cycle. 

If you want to hear more of Brandon’s best tips for boosting your business, listen to his first podcast appearance, episode 132. If you want to listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 144.

Emily Kelly
Expand Your Salon by Adding a MedSpa
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Are you looking for new and innovative ways to expand your salon business? Perhaps you’ve already undergone a few expansions, or you’ve made the move to a bigger space, maybe you’ve even opened other locations, and now you’re searching for the next exciting salon development. 

Instead of moving toward another physical expansion, why not attempt to grow your service list? While growing in your physical space tends to be a game of time and money, expanding on your services involves quite a bit of thought, and it has to be timed just right. 

In today’s fast-paced salon environment, the hottest expansion that every salon should be considering is that of becoming a MedSpa. We’re at the height of anti-aging technology, and non-surgical aesthetic skincare and medical spa treatments are quickly growing in popularity. 

Ginny Eramo, owner of Interlocks Salon and MedSpa, was one of several early adopters to this strategic salon trend. She’s had great success with her latest expansion, and with her expert industry insight and years of salon experience she offers her best tips for taking the leap into MedSpa territory.

 

Putting the Medic in Cosmetic

It doesn’t matter where your stylists or beauticians earned their license, medical cosmetology procedures and treatments are not to be performed by cosmetologists, period. So, many of you are probably wondering where to begin when transitioning into MedSpa terrain. 

First thing’s first, if you’re thinking about becoming a MedSpa, you’ll need to hire on a new team of medical professionals to perform these services. At Interlocks, Ginny partnered with a team of nurses that now handle all of her MedSpa patients under the direction of a medical director, specializing in everything from Botox to laser hair removal. 

With the rise of this new trend there are many medical professionals seeking out opportunities in salon and spa settings, you just have to know where to look.

This Is Not an Inexpensive Expansion

 Adding a MedSpa to your salon can be an expensive endeavor. Although the treatments and services pay for themselves in no time, you have to be prepared to shell out some serious cash in order to purchase all of the necessary medical equipment. 

Of course, physical space does play a role in this expansion in that you have to think about where you’re going to keep your equipment. Depending on the state you operate out of you might be able to have some overlap, but some state laws require you to build a completely separate space dedicated to your medical practice. 

Don’t forget, there are additional expenses beyond acquiring this high-end technology, think warranties, maintenance and repairs. Ginny suggests minimizing overhead by leasing or financing your equipment, it’s good to keep costs down any way you can! 

Know Your Market

Do your research. There’s no other way to be absolutely sure that adding a MedSpa to your salon is the right move. 

For Ginny, her clients were already asking for these services, so for Interlocks it was a sensible expansion. Think about your clientele: What’s your primary demographic? Are your clients interested in anti-aging treatments and technologies? If these services are already available at other salons or specialty locations in your marketplace, are those locations having success? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, and you’re prepared for the additional expenses, adding a MedSpa to your salon might be the perfect way to expand your service offerings. 

Don’t shy away from this opportunity just because you hear that your clients are already receiving these services someplace else. Your customers have already placed their trust in you, if you were to offer similar treatments and amenities with the added convenience of location, your clients will support you all the way. 

 

The Payoff: Expanding and Strengthening Your Business

While in comparison to your salon, a MedSpa might seem like somewhat of a separate entity, Ginny and a handful of other salon owners have proven that these two service-based businesses can really complement one another if the marketplace allows.

Adding a MedSpa is just one of many possible ways to expand in your salon setting, but this fast-growing trend has proven itself to be a worthwhile addition. By expanding into MedSpa treatments and services, you’re adding to your customer’s salon experience and increasing the amount of time they spend in your facilities, which in turn lends itself to creating a very loyal client. 

To learn more about Interlocks Salon and the other aspects of their transition into MedSpa territory, listen to our earlier podcast with Interlocks Marketing Team Members Jordan Becker and Amy Pirro. In episode 133, in they discuss their re-branding strategies after the switch. 

If you’d like to learn more about Ginny and the new MedSpa trend, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog post, episode 142.

Emily Kelly
Becoming a Strong Leader: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What You Ask
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It can be easy to make comparisons between salon owners and coaches. As a salon owner, you are the one your team looks to when things get complicated or when the salon has seemed to have lost its sense of direction. What many salon owners find difficulty with is telling their team to do something and then having their team not follow through on the request. We partnered with one of our favorite Beyond The Technique podcast guests, psycosmetologist and author Jay Williams, to help salon owners find better ways to communicate with their team. 

Jay believes the secret to good communication is not telling your team what you want as a salon owner, but rather asking your team to work with you on achieving the goals for your salon, as it will benefit everyone. If this sounds like advice you could use, keep on reading! 

     

Shift Your Thinking

The first step to becoming your team’s coach – and being mindful of how you speak to your team – is by shifting your mindset. Jay believes the first place to start the shift is by changing your behavior. But in order to do that, you need to  find out what drives your behavior and emotions, and how can you make them better. As a salon owner, by changing  your performance and behavior, you can shift the thinking of your team by leading by example. This will help make it more of a collaborative unit.

One way to accomplish this is to sit with your team and ask them what their goals are instead of telling them. Ask them things like, what services they would like to start offering (or stop offering)? What their goals are for retail, or do they even have a goal for retail? By asking your team to help you set your salon’s goals, you will start to create a collaborative process with your team. And by doing so, your stylists will be more committed because they had buy-in from the beginning. 

Jay believes that people will commit to what they help create. So if you take the time to ask your team what they’re thinking and feeling, you will have overall better communication. 

        

Practice Patience with Your Team 

While having the ability to shift your personal thinking as a salon owner will help you better communicate with your team, practicing patience with team members who may not have the same goals as you is an important step in making the transition from dictator to coach. Jay shares that many salon owners will run into issues with their team when they don’t share the same goals as their stylists, or the owner has the perception their stylists are content operating alone more than as a team. 

Jay encourages salon owners to take a step back and assess the situation. Are you helping your team become better by getting upset? Or can you be a better leader with some patience? Does your team not care? Or do you need to take the time to help them reach their goals? 

Practicing patience will take integrity, compassion and detachment from the situation, not your team. 

 

Thinking, Listening and Speaking

Jay believes a key task for a salon owner who wants to improve the way they communicate with their team is to practice how you think, how you listen to your team, and, most importantly, how you speak to them. 

Jay shares that, “It’s not what you’re saying, but what you get them to say. You want to ask for permission and placement because the brain likes permission and placement, it doesn’t like anything forced on it.”

By allowing your team to know you are listening to their needs and finding the best solutions for what they find to be problems, you will see a tremendous change in your business. 

“You have to adopt it and integrate it into everything that you do,” Jay said. “The only way to build these things is to ask questions and nothing will happen by telling people what to do. What happens after self-accountability and self-awareness is self-belief.”

To listen to the full episode of that inspired this blog, click here. Also, be sure to check out Jay’s previous episodes 122 and 130.

Emily Kelly
How to Build Your Own Bridal Business for Your Salon
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One of the exciting things about being a hairstylist are the skills you acquire to style hair for special occasions. Weddings are one of those special occasions where hairstylists shine, and many brides want the best hairstylists around for their special day. In fact, the wedding industry has become so huge that many salons and hairstylists have built their careers around bridal hair only! But, how do you build up a bridal business of your own?

We recently answered that question on the Beyond The Technique podcast with the help of our guest, Renee Feldman. Renee knows the importance of creating a bridal hair business on both sides of beauty and finances. She is one the most sought-after hairstylists in Chicago and has been featured in multiple magazines such as Bride’s Chicago Style, and has worked with celebrities like Sharon Stone and Gloria Steinem during the span of her 20-year career. Through her intuitiveness and determination, Renee has turned her creativity into her career, and she was kind enough to share with our followers tips to finding success in the bridal hair industry. 

Make Connections as Much as You Can

Before she had her own bridal business, Renee credits the connections she built as an important step in building her clientele. She said going to a local salon after beauty school in the gold coast of Chicago helped her see what kind of work she wanted to be doing. 

“I remember seeing all of the shops and I was like, ‘this is exactly where I want to be,’’’ Renee said, “The salon’s training program was in the same building as the Four Seasons and all of the celebrities at the time would go to the Four Seasons when they would visit Chicago. So, I built a nice relationship with the concierge at the front desk.”

Renee said that connection led her to being invited to the hotel when celebrities were in town and soon she was doing their hair for them in their hotel rooms! She continued to get booked for future events and soon had an extensive clientele list before going out on her own. Renee encourages hairstylists who want to go into the bridal industry to make connections with the bridal or event coordinator. Brides will hire event coordinators to help them through the stress of planning a wedding. They often look to their coordinator for recommendations and opinions, so if you have the “in” with a few wedding coordinators, you will have an easier time booking bridal hair appointments! 

The lesson here is to take time to use the networks you have! Working your connections will lead to an even bigger network of clients and will help you take your bridal business to new heights. 

 

Give Yourself Time to Know Your Bride

Working with a bride is a different experience than working with other clients. As a bridal hairstylist, it’s your mission to ensure the bride both feels and looks her best. Renee stresses the importance of having a comfortable work experience between the stylist and the bride. 

“About 12 or 14 months before the wedding, I usually begin my services with a blow dry service,” Renee shares, “This creates an opportunity for the bride to come in and meet me. It’s a great way to make sure our personalities match and helps me start earning their trust.” 

Renee also recommends that her brides go through a 90-minute trial period for the look they want for their big day to ensure Renee achieves the right hairstyle. Renee suggests starting with a small style for the bride during each session so they can work their way up to the final style they desire. Building a strong relationship with your bride is just as important as building connections with others in the industry, such as the event coordinator. If you do a great job with one bride, she will tell her friends, which will result in more referrals and bookings for your business in the future! 

 

Always Search for New Ways to Grow Your Business

Once you’ve made a solid network of connections and you’ve created a process with your brides, finding new ways to grow after you have found success is a great way to continue being excited about your business. 

Experiment with different ways to promote your bridal business, whether that’s taking out an ad in a bridal magazine or attending a bridal show – it’s a good idea to invest some of your success into expanding your business. Another option for growth to consider is hiring new talent. Many times a bride will want her stylist to help with the other members of the bridal party, which can be a tall order for one person! If your bridal business is taking off, consider hiring additional team members! 

 

Final Words of Wisdom for New Hairstylists 

While Renee is most passionate about bridal hairstyling, she encourages stylists who are new to the industry to learn as many niches as they can in the beginning.

“My advice to a young hairdresser just coming out of school would be to explore all aspects of the business,” she said, “Really get experience with everything and when you find your passion, and when you find what you’re naturally good at, then specialize in that area.”

To listen to the  full interview with Renee Feldman click here. If you are in the Chicago area, be sure to check out Renee Feldman salon

Emily Kelly
4 Mistakes to Avoid to Lead Your Team in a Positive Way
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There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a salon owner. As an owner, you automatically take on the role of the team leader. Because of this, your team looks to you for guidance on a daily basis, especially with the chaotic moments that can happen in a salon. But no matter how stressful it gets as the leader, it’s important to keep your salon environment positive. In episode 137 of the Beyond The Technique podcast, we spoke with Heather Yurko, owner of the NeatBeat Salon in Louisville, Kentucky. Heather shares with us the four mistakes every salon owner needs to avoid to ensure their team is moving in a positive direction. 

 

Mistake #1: Creating a Team of Followers and Not Leaders 

Heather believes one mistake she has made since starting NeatBeat salon in 2013 has been forming a team of people who are solely dependent on her. Avoiding hiring leaders to your team can be detrimental to your team’s success because it forces the salon leader to always monitor what is happening on a daily basis. It can also cause you to want to fix everything yourself or, as Heather describes it, take the monkeys off the backs for your team members when you have your own monkeys to deal with. To combat this behavior, find team members who will step up and help you form a team that will take the work off of you. Also, communicating with your team is a great way to find ways they can fix problems without you there. This will cause a shift in your salon and create the leaders you need. While it can be difficult for a salon leader to feel less needed by their team, Heather believes creating leaders doesn’t mean you’re not wanted anymore, it just gives you space to take time for what you want, and to work with your team members individually. As a salon leader, it’s not about creating great hair stylists, it’s about creating great humans. Heather believes your team will become much better if you push them to a level of greatness that no one else has done before.

 

Mistake #2: Unnecessary Spending

Anothermistake newer salons tend to make is spending their earnings on unnecessary items for the salon. Heather shared that in order to save money for her salon, she would complete tasks on her own that many salon owners would typically hire out, such as building shelves for products. By alleviating unnecessary costs, Heather believes you will find less stress in your salon because the money problems won’t be as prevalent. Being thoughtful about how you spend the money that your salon earns will help you become a debt-free salon, like NeatBeat! 

 

Mistake #3: Putting Your Guests Before Your Team

This is a customer service mistake many salon owners are known for making. Even though your customers are a large part of your salon’s success, Heather believes we should put the needs of your team first instead of primarily focusing on your customers. She believes that if our teams are fed and loved first, by using customer service techniques, they will then use those tools with their customers more authentically. This cycle of service will create a more positive and happy experience for everyone involved in the salon process. As a leader, Heather believes it’s also important to not use the “customer is always right” attitude with your team. You should support your team first, and if needed, find coaching opportunities when they do something different from what you wanted. 
 

Mistake #4: Having No Brand for Your Company

In any business, effective marketing is extremely vital to your salon’s success. Heather shares that many salons fall short in marketing ventures, which can make it difficult for consumers to know what their brand is about. Here are some questions every salon owner must consider when thinking about their brand.

·      What’s the personality of your business? 

·      What story does it tell? 

·      How does it make people feel? 

·      Is it attractive to your ideal guest? 

Your marketing should speak to the customers you want to serve. It should create an experience that will make them keep coming back to you. Heather believes poor marketing is a missed opportunity in the industry and can be a way to create direct revenue for your salon. Some examples of bad marketing tools can be the font of your logo, the colors you use, and making sure your graphics are consistent with the audience you want to reach. 

Avoiding these four major mistakes will create a more positive and exciting environment for you as a salon leader, your team, and your guests. Heather believes no matter who you are, where you are located, what your company has looked like in the past, or what it looks like now – anything is possible. So many of us don’t chase after our dreams out of fear, but even if you haven’t done something before, it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it. Whatever you want, you can have. 

To listen to the full episode that inspired this blog, click here.  Make sure to subscribe to the podcast if you don’t already! 

Emily Kelly
How to Become the Official Salon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
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We’re excited to welcome Brandon Hensley to Beyond The Technique to share how his salon, Tangerine Salon, became the official salon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC)! Of course, your salon won’t be able to become the DCC salon because Brandon’s salon already is, but you will learn how Brandon made this happen and how you can make your own massive deal with a high-profile brand!

Marketing and Advertising

Before we dive into how Brandon made the deal with the DCC, we need to get clear about some basics that will help you do the same. Let’s start with the difference between marketing and advertising. According to Brandon, the difference between marketing and advertising is where you’re at with your salon business. Brandon explains that after you reach a certain level of brand awareness and success, you stop advertising and start marketing. Advertising is crucial when you first open your salon business, and your salon needs to start attracting clients. Advertising includes mailers, ads in magazines, coupons, radio ads, or anything else that you’re purchasing to get the word out about your business. On the other hand, marketing is about a strategy.

Brandon explains that salon competition in Dallas can be fierce, so developing a marketing strategy to stand out from the pack was crucial to their success! For Brandon, standing out meant having multiple salon locations in high-profile, high-rent areas, and that is exactly what he did! Within about 18 months of opening their first location, Brandon signed a lease on their second location. With the second location, the reputation of their brand was enhanced; in Brandon’s opinion, customers started thinking, “Wow! They have two locations, they must be doing something right!” In addition to adding a second location, Brandon was committed to having the best service providers and the highest quality products to make sure their word-of-mouth was always positive!

With multiple locations and such great success, you might be wondering what the marketing budget for Tangerine Salon is, and I certainly was, too! Brandon explained that they have both a corporate marketing budget and a local salon budget. The corporate budget is for propelling the entire brand forward, while the local budget is for local-specific strategies. For instance, one of Tangerine Salon’s hallmark marketing strategies is giving gift cards to local PTAs, charities, and fundraising events. Each salon has autonomy in making some of their own marketing decisions with their local budgets.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

Now, the story that you’ve all been waiting for! How did Tangerine Salon become the official salon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders?! Brandon shares that he had written on his own vision sheet years and years ago that he wanted to be the DCC’s salon, and eventually they came calling! Brandon attributes the salon’s marketing, brand awareness, and being in several luxury districts as the reasons why they were approached to be the salon of the DCC.

Brandon shared that Kelli Finglass, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders’ director, had visited a Tangerine Salon in the past and when it came time for the team to change from their previous salon, she approached Brandon and of course he said yes! That is when the Dallas Cowboys’ corporate machine came in to make the deal happen.

The contract between Tangerine Salon and the DCC is for five years and grants the cheerleaders unlimited, complimentary access to services at Tangerine Salon. In return, Tangerine Salon receives all kinds of benefits including: advertising (the cheerleaders are constantly Tweeting and posting on Instagram when they are in the salon), the ability to say they are the official salon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, advertising at AT&T Stadium, and an entire episode on the cheerleaders’ show, Making the Team. In addition to that, they get all kinds of perks like tickets to the game and access to the top-notch suites. Brandon admits that the cheerleaders are in the salon a lot, so having multiple locations and lots of staff is the only way that they could make this partnership work. Nonetheless, Brandon admits that it is well worth the payoff!

Overall, all the small decisions that Brandon made—from writing his goals on his vision board to opening several locations in high-end districts—positioned Tangerine Salon to become the official salon of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! I hope Brandon’s story inspires you to set big goals and take steps every day to achieve those goals! To learn more about Brandon, Tangerine Salon, and their relationship with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, listen to Episode 138 of the Beyond The Technique podcast.

If you don’t already follow the podcast, make sure to subscribe!

Emily Kelly
How to Properly Develop a Salon Education Program
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Education is the heartbeat of the hairdresser. Stylists in this industry are drawn to salons that provide ample opportunities for growth and development in their practice. Of course, building a successful salon training program is no small feat, but it has become a necessary component for establishing a strong salon in today’s competitive marketplace.

Whether you’re looking to improve your current salon education program or you’re interested in developing a new one, industry experts Lenore and Kenny Gibson share their best practices for raising the stakes via educational training.

You might remember Lenore and Kenny from our Beyond The Technique podcast, but if you missed the previous episodes we’ll give you a quick recap: The Gibsons are both former Tony and Guy U.S. Creative Team Members who have since started their own education-based business, Collectiv Academy. Collectiv Academy is an enrollment based formal training program for students and stylists looking to hone their craft in order to create a prosperous and fulfilling career in the beauty industry. With their adept educational insight, these two offer their best advice for implementing a similar program into your own salon.
 

Why Investing in Education is Worth It

Educational programs have become a critical component for stylists in choosing which salon environment they want to work in. In today’s fast-paced climate, in which beauty trends are constantly changing, stylists stay motivated by the continuous opportunity to learn the new skills and techniques necessary in order to keep up and advance their career.

New and transitioning stylists are drawn to salons that offer quality educational programs with room for growth, so as a salon owner or manager, you don’t want to be behind in providing your
employees with these tools for advancement.
 

Determine Your Area of Focus

You have to first determine your salon’s specialty, or area of focus. Whether it’s mastering hair color or creating gorgeous updos, you have to decide what you want to be known for so that you have something to build your educational program around. If you don’t want to be limited to just one domain, you can combine a few of your best skills, offering a small handful of specialty services—but don’t stray too far from your niche.

Having an area of focus is good for both you and your stylists, you don’t want to spend time developing an expansive training program. There’s no need to go over all of the basics, your employees have already been through beauty school. Stick to what you know, and teach it well.

This will make it easier for stylists to decide whether or not your salon is the right fit for their skill base and interests, and it will lend itself to creating an extensive and in-depth training program tailored to your specialty services, ensuring that all of your employees live up to your salon standards.
 

Ditch the Ambiguity

 Be straight up when discussing your educational program with a potential new stylist. Lenore and Kenny urge salon owners to go into as much detail as possible, tell your stylists exactly how many weeks it will take them to complete their training and be specific about which skills they’re going to learn.

You also need to provide a final objective. Once they finish their training, are your stylists able to increase their prices? Do they level up or gain more status in the salon? Whatever objective you decide on, make sure the end goal is clear to all of your employees before they begin their training. Making these objectives known helps in building team unity and strength, and it continues to push your brand forward.
 

Choose Your Educators Wisely

From the salon point of view, how can you help your stylists be successful during their training? It’s likely that that you’ll need to hire several educators to teach your stylists these new skills and techniques, especially if you choose to specialize in more than one area. That being said, it’s absolutely critical that your educators are all on the same page in their practice to avoid contradicting one another.

Quick Tip: Becoming an educator could be an objective in one of your training programs. Salon owners often allow for advancement in a structured manner in which stylists work their way up from new talent, to intermediate, to advanced. Once your stylists have climbed the ladder, having completed all of their formal training, they could move into a teaching role, turning the page to the next chapter.

The Risk is Worth the Reward

The constant turnover that is natural to the beauty industry discourages many salon owners from taking the time to develop a proper training program. Lenore and Kenny flip this idea on its head by arguing that instead, you should let the fear of turnover be your motivation for this kind of training.

If you can create a solid educational foundation upon which your stylists can continue to build, you’re actually more likely to hold onto your employees. Not to mention, your well established, loyal stylists also appreciate some stimulation, and additional training will keep them feeling engaged and fulfilled in their current work environment.

Lenore and Kenny note that while building a cohesive and successful training program does require a substantial investment of time and energy on behalf of the salon and the educators, the outcome is well worth it. The unification of the quality of the type of hair going out of the salon will raise to new heights and your brand will continue to grow stronger.

To learn more about Lenore and Kenny and their focus on salon education, listen to their first podcast on choosing a valuable training class, episode 125. To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 139.

Emily Kelly
Tips for Building a Better Website to Boost Your Salon Business
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If you’re interested in building on your brand, you must first build a better website for your business. Whether you’re a salon owner, manager or stylist, you’ve probably contributed to your company’s website in some way. Perhaps you built the webpage from the ground up, having done all of the coding yourself, or maybe you simply posed for a headshot that now sits on the stylists’ page for new clients to see. Regardless of your level of technical knowledge or involvement—your contribution matters—perhaps more than you know.

Branding is everything, and in today’s technological times, a great deal of brand promotion needs to take place online in order to draw attention to your business. If you’re online, your potential clients are likely to find you before you even know they exist, via the web. This is fabulous news for savvy salons with up-to-date websites, but it has other connotations for the digitally challenged among us.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply need to update an existing site, digital business expert, Brandon Hensley, has some advice on how to use your webpage to connect with your clients.

Brandon and his wife, Janet, own and operate Tangerine Salon Group, a group of luxury salons in the Dallas, Texas area. Brandon is also the creative brain behind Collective Office, a shared workspace for co-working and collaboration, he developed a consulting agency as an extension of Tangerine Salons, and he is one of the co-founders of HelloBooth.Co, a social media tool that allows customers and guests to promote your business on their own platforms and profiles with the click of a button. With his specialized industry insight and a knack for web development, Brandon offers his best advice for creating a website that will allow you to better connect with your clients.

Building Your Brand

If you own and operate your own business, you are responsible for growing it, which means you need to build your brand. This can be a daunting task for many as you navigate just how you’re going to expand your reach to your diverse clientele, but in today’s digital world the best place to start is online.

You can always hire out and bring digital designers in to build your website for you, but contracting a media team can be expensive, and as long as you’re up for the challenge—building your own brand allows you to better control the narrative.

Building a website has become much easier over the years. If you aren’t interested in memorizing coding or HTML, Brandon suggests finding a host site, or a site that will allow you to use their domain. There are a number of great hosts with different templates and many customizable options to best fit your needs and the needs of your business.

Think Mobile First

When building his own websites Brandon always looks at the mobile version first. Although there’s nothing more satisfying than designing a fresh web page for a desktop, no matter how clean and organized it looks on the big screen, it will always fall apart when you transition into mobile. People don’t have the patience for poorly designed mobile pages anymore. Your clients are always on the go and if they can’t access your website during their morning commute or on their walk to lunch, they’ll quickly move on to something more convenient and accommodating.

Brandon says his goal is always to make it as easy as possible for his clients to schedule their next appointment. On every single page, the header should include a clickable phone number and a link to your online booking agency so that no matter where your clients are on your site, they never have to backtrack to look for ways to contact the salon and get themselves on the schedule.

Stay Updated

Many of you are use to constant updates and remodels with regards to your physical space, but you need to be consistent in updating your online space as well. The worst thing you can do after building a web page is allow it to become stagnant. Brandon recommends remodeling your website every two years.

Sticking to this schedule is beneficial for many reasons. First, it keeps your site clean, fresh and up-to-date for clients and users. Second, it helps your business website stay relevant on search engines. Google and Bing want to see that things are changing on your site, they want proof of activity and action, and in return they keep you higher in the ranks, which makes it much easier for potential customers to find you.

No Such Thing as Information Overload

For some businesses, a crisp, clean and visually appealing website is all you need, but in the beauty industry potential clients rely on your website as their main source of information. Trusting somebody with your hair is serious business, so it’s imperative that you provide details as to what kind of training your staff has in order to help your clients find a suitable stylist.

Quick Tip: Don’t forget pictures! Professional photographs are so important in creating an appealing site. People connect with people, so be sure to include photos of each of your stylists along with their bio. It also never hurts to post pictures of your interior; your clients will appreciate being able to get the lay of the land before their first visit.

So yes, you should still maintain a clean and easy to navigate website, but don’t let design interfere with functionality. You should aim to build a business site that allows your potential clients to have every detail of the company, the stylists and the services your offer right at their fingertips.

Create a Separate Site for Recruiting

If you own a salon, and you already have a salon website, you likely have a “careers” page for recruiting new staff. This page usually gives potential employees the lowdown on your business, your values, and maybe even a link to an application or contact information.

While for some, one page dedicated to careers is plenty, Brandon suggests creating a completely separate site for employees both present and potential. This site can hold links to applications, training videos, schedules, product lists, manuals, anything you want your employees to be able to reference at their own convenience.

The benefit to keeping this site separate from your salon webpage is simple—information that doesn’t pertain to your clients will never get in their way.

First Impressions Matter

If you know the story you want to tell through your site, you’re already halfway there. Whether you decide to hire help or take the plunge and proceed to build your website on your own is up to you, but you always want to make sure your voice is being heard loud and clear.

As long as your online presence successfully communicates your values, your potential clients are sure to connect with your brand. A thoughtfully crafted website will never go unnoticed. First impressions matter, and your website is often the first contact potential clients will have with your salon—so impress them.

To learn more about Brandon Hensley and his many digitally savvy salon innovations, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 132. And be sure to check out the Tangerine Salon website for a little industrial inspiration.  

Emily Kelly
A Game-Changing Remodel: Go Beyond Going Paperless
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Today’s trendiest salons are always looking for new and innovative ways to up their game. For some salon owners, this has been about efforts to open a new location or grow in size, but for many of you this involves becoming more efficient in your current setting. Salon owner and industry expert Stacey Coronado has some advice for the latter.

Stacey has been in the beauty industry for sixteen years. She’s a master stylist, salon owner, and educator. She started her career by joining Sexy Hair right out of beauty school and eventually grew into her own by partnering with Aveda and opening her own salon, 20 Volume. Among Stacey’s many accomplishments she has created and mastered her own new talent training program and she is recognized as a true industry disruptor with her many groundbreaking ideas for salon-wide improvements.  

One of Stacey’s biggest, new-age ideas is that of her revolutionary salon remodel. Her salon, 20 Volume, is a paperless salon—which likely has many of you saying, “Sure, I could go paperless.” But Stacey took this business-wide renovation one step further by going completely desk-less. With her expert industry insight, Stacey will walk you through how she managed to pull off this impressive transformation, and how it has been a game changer for her salons ever since. 

 

Doing Something Different.

In 2009 Stacey bought a salon location that had just gone out of business, and decided to open up her own Aveda Concept Salon. She did the bare minimum, painted the walls and bought new chairs, in order to open herself up to new clients. Stacey was very successful in her first location, and Aveda noticed her rapid growth and quickly made her a Lifestyle Salon, meaning 20 Volume became co-branded with Aveda, a national salon brand with greater recognition. 

Fast forward to 2017, Stacey and her husband purchase their second location and Stacey decides they need to do something different. She envisioned a desk-less salon in which clients could simply walk through the front doors and be greeted right away. 

Stacey wanted her guests to feel connected from the moment they walked in, which is something many salons are struggling to perfect right now. She was inspired by the Apple Store’s open concept and wanted to imbue her salon with a similar exposed and welcoming aesthetic. 

With the common salon layout guests are required to make the first move—they don’t know where to go and there’s no one there to greet them, so they make their way to the desk to seek help or check-in. Stacey wanted to take the guessing game out of the equation, and the easiest way to do it? Go desk-less!

 

No Desk. No Problem.

In Stacey’s salon, her clients are always in good hands. Upon arrival, her guests are greeted by the stylists, invited for a tour of the space, offered a beverage of their choice—and if their stylist still needs a little more time—guests are then escorted to a small waiting area. 

Stacey believes that it’s more about the retail connection, and like all salon owners, she wants to keep her clients, so she aims to keep them engaged throughout the entirety of their visit. Even her waiting area is an engaging space— a communal table where her guests can sit down with one another and be treated to hand rituals, aroma therapy sessions, anything to keep them from feeling ignored. 
 

More Receptive Without A Receptionist.

No desk means no desktop computer, which is often the biggest hurdle salon owners have to overcome when attempting to go desk-less. Stacey has found her way around having a receptionist by keeping things portable. Her stylists are always on the move, so the technology must mesh accordingly.  

Stacey says the secret to her success is stashing tablets at each station. She does admit to providing one PC, which has a more permanent home at the community table, but she tries to use it as little as possible. While technology is great, there will always be hiccups, but at 20 Volume Stacey focuses on trying to make the salon experience as seamless as she can.

Quick Tip: Doing away with the receptionist doesn’t mean you can operate without phones! If you’re considering going desk-less you’ll need to create another space for receiving phone calls, and even more importantly, you’ll have to get the whole team on board because everyone will share in the responsibility of answering the salon’s incoming calls. It’s all about teamwork!

Stacey proudly makes note of just how receptive her clients have truly been to all of the changes she’s made to the salon. Her guests are loving the team-oriented atmosphere and they’re excited by her many innovative ideas for improving the overall salon experience. She prides herself on her new desk-less model and it’s evident that she has made her mark in the industry.

At 20 Volume, Stacey and her team live by their mission to create an extraordinary experience for every guest, every time. Whether that means completely abolishing your front desk, or simply focusing more energy on greeting and engaging your clients, Stacey says that as long as you treat each guest like it’s their first time in your salon, you’ll keep them coming back. 

To learn more about Stacey Coronado and her many salon innovations, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 131, or subscribe to podcast!  And be sure to check out her salon website to view her desk-less space and get a feel for this new-age open concept idea.  

Emily Kelly
The Best Salon Marketing Tool You Haven’t Tried
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When you were in beauty school or just starting your career, how were you taught to build your clientele? Do any of these sound familiar: word of mouth, handing out business cards, talking to your friends, advertising in the newspaper, offering free services or discounts, posting pictures on Facebook, etc.? Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a better, more effective, and more innovative way to build your clientele with Meet Your Stylist!

Time for an Update

Just like hairstyles, marketing techniques change and need to be updated as technology improves and new information is learned about your clientele. As stylists, we take pride in continuing to update our hair coloring and cutting techniques, and we should take the same approach to our marketing strategies. We certainly wouldn’t give a client a haircut from the 90’s, so we shouldn’t use marketing plans from the last two decades, either!

If that isn’t a good enough reason for you to consider a new marketing strategy, think about this –  only 30 percent of new hair clients will come back a second time. That’s right, out of every ten new clients who you see, only three of them will come back. Now, think about all the effort that you’re putting into attracting just three new clients. Chances are that your return on investment (ROI) isn’t that great! This is exactly why you need to try a new strategy, and Meet Your Stylist is the perfect solution!

How Does It Work?

Meet Your Stylist is a smart survey that matches clients with stylists at your salon who are the best fit for them! The Meet Your Stylist survey lives on your salon’s website, clients fill out the short survey, and they are matched with three stylists at your salon who are the best fit for them based on their personality, lifestyle, and relationship preferences. The real secret to Meet Your Stylist’s success is that you—the stylist—choose the clients who you do your best work with, and those are the clients who you will be matched with!

Remember how low the new client retention rate is, just 30 percent. Well, the surest way to improve that number is to ensure your clients have a fabulous first visit, and this goes beyond receiving a great haircut. Clients need to have a connection with their hairstylist; after all, we don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The only marketing tool that offers this type of individualized connection is Meet Your Stylist! Think about how your business would change if every client who sat in your chair was a great fit for you, and you instantly clicked! I’m sure you would love coming to work every day and your books would be packed!

I could go on and on about all the benefits of becoming a Meet Your Stylist salon, but I encourage you to check it out for yourself! To learn even more about this tool, visit meetyourstylist.com and request a demo. There is a reason Meet Your Stylist won Best Marketing Campaign of 2017; you don’t want to be the last salon in your area to sign up for Meet Your Stylist, so sign up today!  

Emily Kelly
How to Lessen Your Time Behind the Chair
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As a salon owner, you wear many hats to ensure your business stays afloat. In the beginning stages, you are your salon’s head stylist, receptionist, human resources director and much, much more. So it’s no surprise that it can be easy to keep those habits as your business begins to grow and you expand your staff and clientele. However, what many salon owners don’t realize is in order to be an effective owner, you have to focus on other aspects of your business beyond the chair. This is what Larissa M., a New Zealand-based salon professional turned online marketing, technology, and software development guru, wants to help salon owners across the world realize. And to bring you that great advice to help you lessen your time behind the chair, we asked Larissa to join our podcast to share her wisdom!  

After years of working in the online marketing and technology world, in addition to working and owning a salon over the course of 20 years, Larissa saw a need to assist salon owners with stepping away from what they believe to be their main source of income, and focus on other ways to ensure their companies are profitable. Larissa does this both as a freedom and profit coach and as a creator of Salon Bot Messenger Marketing. Salon Bot was created by Salon Owners Collective and helps salon owners do the necessary work to grow a brand such as finding new clients and using marketing strategies to further grow their salons. Larissa’s brainchild helps salon owners find out what they want their business to look like in the future and also helps them live more well-rounded lives.

 

Figuring Out the “Why”

Larissa believes the first step for any salon owner to step away from their salon chair is to remind themselves why they wanted to be a salon owner in the first place. She believes it’s important for salon owners to step away for a little bit by taking a walk, going away for a weekend, or taking the day off to remember why they own a salon and are not working for someone else. Once the salon owner finds that answer, Larissa believes that the reason they started a business was so that they would not have to work the longest or hardest, but instead could delegate to a team. Look forward to five, ten, or even 15 years down the line for your business and write down in a journal what you would like your life to be like by then. These entries can include the personal needs for you to remain sane (like spending time with family, having alone time at work, etc.) while also deciding what steps you need to take to become a better owner, such as deciding how often you can physically be behind the chair versus focusing on other parts of the salon. Being specific about where you want to be is important because you can’t get to where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’re going! Putting yourself first is also important in this industry to ensure you don’t run out of energy and can be good for everyone else. 

 

Define Your Freedom

One benefit of owning a salon should eventually be having time each day to be free of the demands of your company. Larissa believes that defining what your freedom will be is the first step in demanding you achieve it. She also advices that once you have defined your freedom, the next step to ensuring you receive that freedom is to bring in more people. To achieve this, you have to be clear about who will be on your team and what role they will play. Larissa advises salon owners who are serious about finding these people to close their books to new clients. By choosing to not take on new clients, salon owners can create the space to further grow the team. Taking a step back and making your team the client will help you in the long run because your team’s success will create even more success for your salon. Closing your book will also create  necessary time blocks that you can use to focus on income-generating activities. 

Know Your Business Model and Numbers

While many salon owners are open to having time to focus on other parts of their business and personal life, Larissa says what holds a lot of owners back is the fear of not having enough money once they step away from the floor – especially if they are the highest earners. Larissa believes the way to combat this is by first knowing what brings in money to your salon and working with an accountant to make sure it keeps happening. While this can vary by the salon, working with an accountant to see what you need to do specifically to not lose income will be the best way to find new strategies for growth. 

Do the Work

After finding out exactly what needs to be done for you to earn the freedom you want, you have to put in the work to actually grow your business and become the owner you want to be. Larissa believes the first thing an owner should focus on is online marketing, with a strong emphasis on social media. Rather than just showing the “before” and “after” of a look on social media, having depth and showing your audience exactly who you are as a salon is a key step to growing your social media platforms. Larissa also suggests taking advantage of popular apps like Facebook Messenger to book clients. With Facebook Messenger, clients are having direct engagement with the salon and feel as if they know them on a more personal level, which is important for new clients. Another important thing to do in the free time you will create for yourself, is to hold meetings with your team. By acting as your team’s coach, you can guide them to what needs to be done for them to attract new clients. This can include the language to use to rebook with a client, and also how to upsell to clients. Larissa thinks going over the Code of Conduct you have in place for clients will also help your team understand your business goals and plans you’ve written down. By showing your team how you would like things to run, you are creating more space to not have to do these actions by yourself. 

You are more than qualified to have your business run in a way that doesn’t require you to do everything. The main thing holding a lot of us back from what we want is the fear of taking the next step. Larissa believes the first step to getting rid of that doubt is to feel the fear, trust yourself and do it anyway!

To listen to the full podcast that inspired this episode, listen to episode 136. And if you like what you hear, make sure to subscribe to the podcast and sign up for our email list. 

Emily Kelly
 How to Stay Humble When You’re Tempted to Be Otherwise
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In the salon industry, having a passion for what you do is only half of the requirement to become successful in your field. You also need to become good at what you’re doing and hone in on your skills and techniques. Once you learn those skills, though, you will find yourself building clientele and finding new ways to grow your business and career. When you begin to reach the levels you want, sometimes it can be tempting to be arrogant or conceited about your accomplishments and any accolades you’ve received throughout your career. This temptation will drive clients (and possibly your employees) away if it goes too far.  It is imperative to your business and work environment to remain humble. 

For episode 135 of the Beyond The Technique podcast, we brought back Abigail and Sierra, co-owners of the Boulevard Hair Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Boulevard Hair Company was named the top salon in Salon Today in 2017. The salon currently has over 50 stylists on their team and are both experts on growing a salon team.  Abigail and Sierra discussed the importance of being humble in all areas of the salon industry and how we can learn from each other to be our best selves. 

Understanding What It Means to Be Humble

Being humble is something that is foreign to some people, especially those in high-demanding positions. Sierra believes the key to being humble is not to be arrogant about your work, but instead become modest. It is more than natural to put modesty to the side when money, and sometimes fame, go to your head. Instead of letting success go to your head, Sierra believes taking on new opportunities to learn from others and helping colleagues of all levels thrive within their positions is the best way to remain humble. 

Comparing Yourself to Others WILL Drive You Crazy

While learning from others who may be more experienced than you is a great way to learn something new, many stylists will avoid taking that step due to the fear they will not be successful at mastering a new skill set. So often we waste our energy worried about what the person next to us is doing that we don’t focus on improving our skills and our career. In the salon industry, so many of us offer different techniques that’s unique to everyone. Abigail believes that when we start comparing ourselves to others, you start getting down on yourself, which will make you produce work that you’re less than capable of doing. To avoid this, Abigail believes it’s more effective to stand alongside your fellow stylists and ask how they achieved a certain look or technique. Doing this will help you remain positive if you are feeling inadequate to your peers and will also help you stay humble if you are the one being asked for guidance. 

Seek Guidance When You Need It

One of the best aspects of the salon industry is that it’s always changing and expanding as more stylists begin to emerge with new skills. While it can seem embarrassing to ask someone younger or new to the industry for help, it can be used as a teaching moment for both parties and will inevitably help your career. In addition to seeking guidance, not adapting to changes in the industry can be a pitfall for your business in the future. Many stylists who have been in the industry for decades, and have had the same clients for years, may not want to fix what they feel isn’t broken. This can stop them from not trying new color techniques that could better their clients’ looks in the future. Instead of focusing on the status of your position, you should always be looking for ways to learn and grow as a stylist. 
 

Remaining Humble as a Salon Owner

Boulevard Hair Company’s success is largely in part to Abigail and Sierra having the ability to work together as a team. Abigail said that while many stylists on the team are independent contractors, everyone has always been supportive of each other and wants to see the company continue to grow. She believes in having a strong support system, as well as being able to help others who aren’t in the same position as you. As Abigail found success as an owner of her own salon, and then moving to Boulevard Hair Company and being nominated for the top salon in the nation, it was easy for her to become egotistical about where the company was going. This changed once her family intervened and helped her see she wasn’t better than anyone else who works for her – or with her. Both Sierra and Abigail credit having a strong support system that will humble them if they feel they are in over their heads. Investing in your stylists is also a great way to find what is important to them and have them feel comfortable working for them. 

Words of Affirmation Are Key

In addition to asking for help and finding ways to work with your team, complimenting your team of stylists is always a good way to show that you’re not competing with anyone and aren’t afraid to acknowledge someone’s work. Words of Affirmation is one of the five love languages and is something many people strive for, especially in the workplace. Abigail and Sierra believe that if you compliment someone, they are more likely to compliment someone else down the line, which creates a positive rapport in a salon and keeps clients coming back. 

A Way of Life

Being humble is not just one act or complimenting one person, but is something you practice every day. Abigail believes that if someone is struggling to be humble, they should practice humbling acts until it’s a part of who they are. Being humble is a practice that a salon professional can apply to both their professional and personal lives. It is what helps an individual find the strengths of their fellow stylists and how they can incorporate that into the company. The salon industry is 80 percent people skills and 20 percent technical skills, and remaining humble can largely impact the 80 percent in a positive way. Being open and vulnerable is the best way to grow because it’s what will keep people wanting to work for you in the future and grow your salon. 

To hear more from Abigail and Sierra, check out episode 135 of the podcast. And if you like what you hear, check out episodes 122 and 128 where both Abigail and Sierra drop more gems. 

Emily Kelly
Benefits of Bringing Your Salon Branding In-House
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Choosing a salon to service your needs is a bit like online dating. Each possible pick does their best to make a favorable impression by including their favorite photograph of themselves and conjuring up charismatic ‘about me’ pages. You wade through the list of potential contenders until a particular profile catches your eye and the rest is history.

In a similar fashion, potential clients will form their own opinions of your salon before ever seeking out your services. The good news is, in this scenario, you have the opportunity to push your salon’s profile above the others through personal promotion—this is where branding comes in.

Developing your brand strategy can be tricky business. You can hire outside help and bring in a consulting agency to boost your brand, but at the end of the day nobody knows your business better than you do. Would you want someone else designing your online dating profile? Probably not, which is why nothing beats building your brand in-house.

There are few more passionate about in-house promotion than the dynamic marketing duo that is Jordan Becker and Amy Pirro, of Interlocks Salon and Medspa. Jordan is the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Interlocks. She’s been with the company for over seven years and has had a helping hand in all of the rebranding they’ve done in the past. Amy is the Graphic Designer and Media Coordinator for Interlocks and her role continues to evolve as the salon puts more emphasis on perfecting their marketing scheme. Amy is primarily responsible for keeping the Interlocks brand cohesive across all of their various marketing platforms. These two clever ladies have come together to give you their best advice for bringing your branding in-house so that you can land all of the hottest dates—I mean, clients.  
 

Consistency is Key

The biggest mistake business owners make when branding their company is coming up just short of cohesive. If you want to achieve greater brand recognition, consistency across all platforms is absolutely crucial. One of the things that makes the Interlocks brand so perceptible is the harmony they’ve achieved across their many marketing platforms.

Jordan and Amy like to think of their brand as their salon’s identity. If your business were a person, your brand is the personality that brings your business to life. Much like most of you strive to remain true to yourself no matter your setting, at Interlocks, these two savvy women work hard to maintain a consistent brand identity on their social media pages, their salon website and within their physical space.
 

There are Two Types of Branding

Jordan and Amy recognize two distinct branches of branding their business. For the first branch, you have your branded materials, which include your salon logo, your signage, your service list, and anything else that you consider to be a core component of your salon. For the second branch, you have your promotional content, which ranges across your many marketing platforms and could include physical flyers, promotional posts on social media, email blasts, and really any other pieces of your business that vary with new partnerships and publicity.

Jordan and Amy emphasize the importance of understanding these two branches of branding because you should be approaching them quite differently. While cultivating a cohesive relationship between these two branches is important, your company’s core components require absolute coherence and your promotional content is more about compatibility.

Your logo, signage and service list should consist of the same color scheme, font and format structure. However, your promotional content will evolve with each varying endorsement so you can kind of play around with this propaganda, nevertheless you should always be weaving in aspects of your brand identity to preserve the public perception of your business.

Quick Tip: You can even rebrand promotional content from your partners! Say you’re putting out a promotion on a specific product and the parent company sends you a media kit with their own marketing materials included, don’t be afraid to take these materials and make them your own. Simply adding your own imagery for better brand recognition can encourage loyal customers to partake in your promotion—it’s a win-win for you and your partner.
 

Day-of Marketing Can Only Be Done In-House

When working with an agency, you have to plan ahead, sometimes months or even years in advance, and you’re required to stick to your schedule regardless of any major disruptions in the industry. For Jordan and Amy, one of the biggest benefits to bringing their branding in-house is that by pushing their own content they can adjust to the latest trends in real-time.

With this kind of flexibility, you can bend to the needs of your clientele without missing a beat.

If you see a gap in one of your services or a spike in the demand for a specific product, you can create the perfect promotion on the spot, launch it that day and receive a rewarding return on it immediately.

By building your brand in-house you have the ability to foster a stronger relationship with your clients. You have more creative freedom and at the end of the day you’re simply more connected to your community.
 

Re-brand Only When Necessary

Brand recognition is not easily earned, so you shouldn’t rebrand unless you absolutely have to. Of course, some occasions do require rebranding. Interlocks has revised their brand several times over the course of their 30-year lifespan due to changes in trends and the natural ebbs and flows of the beauty industry.

The Interlocks brand has evolved because it has grown. The salon initially opened under the title of a boutique and hair salon. Eventually they moved on to become a salon and day spa, they then re-branded again when they expanded their cosmetic department, and now they’ve transitioned into medspa territory, which required another full-fledged revision.

While rebranding is no small task, it’s wise to be open to the idea because in this industry it’s inevitable and when well-executed, it really pays off.
 

Put Yourself Out There

The second largest mistake a business owner can make when building on their brand is simply underdoing it. You have to put yourself out there in order to be noticed, so why not give it your all.

So yes, for a salon, branding is a bit more complicated than perfecting an online dating profile, but it’s still best when built by you. Your brand is your identity, it’s everything that your business stands for, and you have to find the best way to communicate that character to your potential clients. You want your brand to reflect your mission and your company’s core values tried and true, which in turn will translate into how your clients differentiate your salon from the thousands of others attempting to do the same.

To learn more about Jordan and Amy and their mindful marketing techniques, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 133. Be sure to also check out the Interlocks Salon website and social media pages to get a feel for what a well-established brand identity looks like across several different platforms.

Emily Kelly
Salon Tip: Start Marketing to Your Stylists
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Today is the day to start marketing to your salon team! What the heck do I mean by that? Marketing to your team means getting in front of them the same way that you get in front of your clients, and it’s crucial to your salon’s success and stylist retention.

 

 

Why Market to Your Team?

First, marketing to your team ensures that you’re maintaining a communicative relationship. After all, the key to a great relationship is communication. If you’re a follower of Beyond The Technique, you’ve probably heard me say that a top reason clients will leave you is because they think you won’t notice. Well, the same reasoning holds true for your stylists. By routinely and consistently communicating with your team, you remind them that they’re important to you and it keeps them excited about their career.

A great way to stay in front of your stylists is by sending marketing emails. That’s right, the solution can be as simple as a weekly or monthly email. You can think about the marketing email like an internal newsletter, so you truly have endless amounts of content to include. Here are some great ideas to get started:

  • New hire welcomes

  • Upcoming education opportunities

  • Local networking events

  • Stylist promotions

  • Upcoming salon events or promotions

  • Recognition of team members who’ve been outstanding

  • Positive reviews you’ve received

  • Stylist birthdays or anniversaries

  • Salon policy reminders

Really, there are so many topics that you can include in your newsletter, so get creative! Maybe you’ve recently upgraded some equipment, put that in the newsletter to remind your team that you’re invested in their success. What about asking one of your stylists who recently returned from a workshop to write about the top three things they learned from that experience to share with the rest of the team? Are you getting some ideas?

Marketing to your team with an internal newsletter helps your stylists feel like they are part of the “inner circle,” and that you appreciate their contribution to your salon business. Give it a try and share your success by posting in our private Facebook group. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Emily Kelly
Trust: The Key to Retaining Salon Clients 
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In the salon industry, client retention is one of the most important factors in running a successful business­ – yet, it's one of the most difficult things to achieve! We've covered ways to increase client retention previously, but what is truly at the core of making a connection with clients? Industry expert and author of the book Leave Your Mark…The Thinking, Skills and Behaviors of Salon InfluencersJay Williams, shares his knowledge on the connection between client retention and trust.
 

Why is trust important? 

Trust plays a role in all of our day-to-day interactions. According to social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, we inherently evaluate whether we can trust a person or a situation when we  first encounter it. If clients are interacting with you as a stylist and trying to determine whether they can trust you, then trust becomes your most important commodity!

The good news is that you already have a way to measure trust! Metrics like retention, referrals, re-bookings, and reviews are all affected by trust. If your retention rate is 60%, then that means 60% of your clients trust you enough to re-book you, refer you, and even write a great review about you! So, how do you build trust with your clients? The first step towards building trust is understanding what components make up trust.
 

What does it mean when your clients trust you?

We've established that trust is important, but what makes up the concept of trust? Trust is made up of two things: Character and Competence

Character

1.    Intent: Why do you do the things you do? If you are recommending a retail product to a client, what are your intentions? Are you recommending a product to help them look good and feel good, or simply to gain a sale?

2.    Integrity: Do you do what you say you're going to do? If your client says she wants a hairstyle that is low maintenance and easy to style, do you deliver that hairstyle? 

Competence

1.    Capability: Can you do it? What are your skills, licenses, and certifications? How many years of training do you have? 

2.    Results: Have you done it in the past? Are other clients happy with the results of their visits? 

If either character or competence is affected, then trust between the client and stylist is compromised! Oftentimes it can be only too easy to focus on being competent and forget about the character aspect of trust. To build trust with your clients, make sure that you are taking a hard look at your team and ensuring you are consistent in your intentions across all clients. You might judge yourself by your intentions, but your clients will judge you by your actions, so make sure that your actions match your intentions.
 

What strategies can you use to help build trust with your clients? 

1.    The first important strategy Jay suggests is beginning each sentence with "My intention is." Especially when it comes to retail, it can be very difficult for clients to determine what your intentions are! Are you trying to sell them an overpriced product or do you truly care about equipping them with the right products to help them feel great about themselves? Starting your sentences with "My intentions are" will help clarify your intentions and build trust with your clients. 

2.    Evaluate your trust level with each client. Just as you have a different relationship with each client, your trust level with each client will also differ. For example, if a client is relatively new, it may not be a great idea to offer them a free haircut since they may not trust you at that level. They may, however, trust you enough to come in for a free blowout. Evaluate your trust level with each client and try to extend an offer just past his or her trust level so that you can work on building a stronger foundation of trust. 

3.    Ask for feedback. Talk to your clients! Describe each of the services they received that day and ask them for their thoughts. What would they rate it on a scale from 1 to 10? If they're not comfortable giving feedback in person, could they give their feedback anonymously? Asking for feedback is a great opportunity to get another person's perspective and allows you to gather data that you would not have had solely based on your own experiences.

Understanding how trust is built is the first step towards retaining a client. Becoming aware of your trust level with each client will help shift your thinking and lead to behaviors that will work towards building trust between you and your clients. Check out Episode 130 – Retention = Trust with Industry Expert, Jay Williams the Beyond The Technique podcast to learn more about how you can build trust with your clients and stylist! If you want to hear more from Jay, listen to Episode 122 - his first appearance on Beyond The Technique. 

Emily Kelly
How to Choose a Valuable Education Class as a Hairstylist 
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Today’s blog is all about advancing your career and skill set through education. There comes a point in every hairstylist’s career when they need to learn more techniques and enhance their fundamental hairdressing skills. However, with the noise of everything that’s in front of us, from social media to countless internet reviews, it’s hard to siphon all of this information without getting distracted. How do you decide what will give you the best value for your time and money?

I sat down with industry experts, Kenny and Lenore Gibson from the Collectiv Academy,to discuss how to choose a valuable education class. With their knowledge and expertise, you’ll feel much more confident about continuing your education. 

A Little Bit About Kenny and Lenore Gibson

We’ll start with Kenny. Kenny broke into the beauty industry when he was 19 years old. Working in a creative environment appealed to him. As he got deeper into the industry, TONI&GUYcaught his attention with their modern yet relatable looks. Eventually, he got a job with them as an assistant for Lenore (whom he would one day fall in love with) and worked his way up the TONI&GUY ladder. 

Kenny is one of the original TONI&GUY Art Team members. During his impressive career, he traveled worldwide, worked with the likes of Anthony Mascolo and James Morison, and developed the U.S., Fiji, and guy National Art Teams with them. He served as the President of the TONI&GUY Academy Division for ten years and developed in franchise 27 basic academies. 

Lenore got into the industry at the young age of 15. After being in the industry for a few years, she wanted to expand her education. She went to TONI&GUY due to their reputation. As her career grew, she made sure to have education be an integral part of it.

Lenore was the Artistic Director for all of the U.S. TONI&GUY salons. She was the General Manager of TONI&GUY U.S., and she served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Education for the TONI&GUY salon and Academy Divisions. 

Today, the couple owns their own cosmetology, hair, and barber school called Collectiv Academy. At the academy, they offer education to become a licensed hairstylist along with more advanced courses. Their goal is to give their students a solid foundation that will allow them to grow their careers. 

Why Continuing Your Education Is so Important

As styles evolve and you mature as a hairstylist, you’re going to want to acquire a broader skill set. The challenge is, how do you get there? How do you get to becoming better than where you are? The answer is by continuing your education. 

Continuing your education allows you to grow as a hairstylist. Clients will trust you to do more advanced haircuts, and your confidence will grow. Our experts tell new hairstylists to let their confidence show, even if they need to fake it for their first few years out of school. Also, with more education comes more earnings. Really, it’s a win-win situation. 

Although seminars and trade shows are exciting and fun to attend, hands-on experience is what our experts say is the best form of education. Observation is necessary to understand concepts, but hands-on experience is where you really do the learning. You can’t learn how to drive a car by having someone only explain it to you. You have to get behind the wheel.

Roadblocks to Keep in Mind

The two biggest constraints keeping hairstylists from taking education classes are time and money. Oftentimes classes will require you to travel, which may cut into your salon time. Also, it costs money to make money. Though it may be difficult to justify paying for class, it will pay out in the end. Our experts recommend putting aside a portion of your tips to pay for classes. 

Recommendations When Considering Taking a Class

Around five years into your career as a hairstylist, it’s time to assess where you are. Are you happy with what you are earning? Do you have a good amount of clients? Are you confident in your work? Taking additional classes will help you to be able to answer “yes” to all of these questions. 

It’s recommended that hairstylists take a fundamentals class every other year, and during the year in between, they take an advanced or trends class. This way, they aren’t just learning haircuts, they are learning how to truly cut hair. In other words, they are diving deeper into the art and skill of being a stylist. You must be an expert in the basics to do well in more advanced work.

Another recommendation Kenny and Lenore have is to expose yourself to as much as possible on an ongoing basis. Soak in all of the knowledge you can. A wide skill set makes you more appealing to clients.

Finally, don’t put off your education. Even if your pay increases only $5 an hour, that adds up to a lot within a year. 

How to Choose Your Class

  1. It’s best to avoid companies that only want to sponsor their products. You want to focus on learning the technique, not just how to use their product. 
  2. Look at online reviews. What are people saying about the class? What are they getting out of it?
  3. Ask yourself: Is this going to help me be a better hairstylist immediately? Is it going to help me earn more immediately, or is it just something that's exciting? Is this what I'm looking for? 
  4. Choose a school that covers the cutting and coloring trends you’re interested in.
  5. Start off with local education. If the education is worth it, some salon owners may send their stylists to a more extensive course far away. 
  6. Master the art of cutting hair...not just specific haircuts. 

Lenore and Kenny recommend stylists continue reinventing themselves and expanding their craft. If you are interested in enrolling in the Collectiv Academy, keep in mind to book six months in advance. To learn more, visit https://collectivacademy.com/.

If you want to hear the full interview with Lenore and Kenny Gibson, check out episode 125 of the Beyond The Technique podcast. Remember, when it comes to growing as a stylist...fake it till you make it, but have the education to back yourself up! 

Emily Kelly
How to Make Decisions for Your Salon Based on Your Profit & Loss Statement 
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Today I want to discuss your salon’s profit and loss statements. Why? Because this topic is essential for us to touch on to keep your salon business up and running! We brought in Kim Light to help consult us on what to look for in our profit and loss statement and how to make the best decisions for our salon based on our numbers. 

Get to Know Kim

Kim is the general manager and shareholder at Urban Betty Salon in Austin, Texas. She also serves as a Summit Salon business and social media consultant. Something a bit more surprising about Kim’s background is that she earned a double major in Geology and Biology to become a vertebrate paleontologist. This is still one of her passions, but she enjoys having the opportunity that the salon industry gives her to touch peoples lives every day. She quickly fell in love with the beauty industry when offered a job as a receptionist for Urban Betty. Kim currently leads a team of 40 service providers and support team members at Urban Betty – a Meet Your Stylist Salon since 2014. 

Bringing in the Money

When looking at your profit and loss statements, a good starting point is figuring out your services to retail. According to Kim, the goal here is to have your services be 80 percent of your income, and retail 20 percent. The 20 percent will ensure that you are paying for the products being used during services and turning a profit. Remember, retail sales impact your salons ability to buy the products needed for services being done. 

Kim recommends commissions to producers, or anyone that provides a service for you such as stylist or nail tech, to be around 40 percent. Retail sales can play a role in this too. Even just a two percent raise in retail can help drop your commission line by one percent to help stay within your budget guidelines. 

So, what’s the biggest difference maker to help with the retail sales? Bring three products up to the checkout at the end. No need to stress about having to be a salesman. Think of it as a transfer of passion. If you believe in your products, then you want your customers to experience the awesome products for themselves. It’s not selling if you are expressing why you like the product.

How to Encourage Support Staff

Your assistants, or associates, should be around two percent of your total sales. How can you get it that low? By having opportunity days. These are days when they bring in family and friends to be their clients. They can get in more practice time, plus the charge for the service can go into paying your associate hourly. 

Pro tip: Utilize your associate. Have them ask clients about add-ons to enhance their experience. Clients might not think of adding an eyebrow shaping or using the essential oils unless they’re asked. 

Members of your support staff, or the front desk, should be five percent of the total sales. This number can stay so low by setting goals for them to achieve raises. Kim suggests having them add on services while on the phone with clients. Another goal she uses is selling a certain number of gift cards each month. With birthdays there is always something to celebrate. If they hit their goals six out of twelve months, that’s enough for a $1 raise. Plus, it takes the decision making on raises out of the managers hands. 

Determining Product Supply Cost

When looking at your profit and loss statement, you will find the cost of goods (COG). This should be 17 percent of what you’re spending each month. Being such a large portion of your spending money makes it extra important to have control of your inventory, so you know exactly what you need to order. 

Pro tip: Order on a budget. Keep track of what you spent last month to ensure you have the right number of products. 

Breaking it down, your professional supplies are seven percent and your retail is 10 percent of your overall income a month. Your break-even point is also key to knowing how much you need to make in your total sales each month to pay for everything in your salon company. Kim suggests taking rent, plus any long-term debt and multiplying it by 10 to determine your break-even point. 

The last big expense to consider is advertising dollars. This should be two percent of your total sales. Traditional advertising isn’t used as much anymore, so turn to social media and post ads there. 

Sales Drivers 

Sales drivers are what help us make our profits. Kim has a couple ideas to help in this area. First, pre-booking or reservations. This helps secure your salons financial future. The more pre-booked appointments, the more income you have guaranteed for the next month. 60 percent should be your target each month to help with retention rates and scheduling. 

Next, look at the percentage of guests doing color. Kim recommends 40 to 50 percent of your clientele are color guests. The reason for this being that they are pre-booking with us and they are going to buy the products to protect their investment. They’ll also send you referrals when they get comments on how great their new color looks! 

Making the Best Decisions

So, after looking at all these things that affect our profit and loss, how do we decide when it’s time to open a second location, invest in new chairs, products or remodeling? Make sure you have it in your budget. Try to spread it over the next couple months so your quarter isn’t overspent. If you aren’t hitting the profit markers needed, you might need to consider hiring more people or opening for more hours. 

There are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to your salon, but remember numbers don’t lie. Look at your profit and loss statement carefully before making any large investments. To listen to the full interview with Kim, head to podcast episode 134. To schedule a consultation with Kim you can email her at Klight@summitsalon.com.

Emily Kelly
Why Your Emotional Intelligence Matters More Than Your I.Q., with Jay Williams
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As salon owners, many of us are creatives first. We hated sitting in class all day and the idea of standardized tests still makes us want to scream in agony. What drives us, though, is the connection we have with our clients as we build rapport and truly get to know them. We are the ones who help them look and feel their best, and our willingness to help them is what motivates them to keep coming back. This week on the blog we are discussing emotional intelligence and why it matters more than your I.Q. in the salon industry. This amazing content comes from a conversation with Jay Williams, a keynote speaker, author, business coach, and former manager who has worked with companies like Paul Mitchell, Aveda, and Bumble and Bumble. In many of his roles, Jay has helped his clients get in alignment with what their audience needs and has found ways for his clients to expand and ultimately bring in more income to the company. His latest book, Leave Your Mark, which was inspired by the thoughts of Dr. Lula Sensei, connects emotional intelligence to the technical knowledge needed for a stylist to thrive in their field.

Cosmetology and Psychology

While technical knowledge is an important piece of the hair and salon industry, Jay believes the emotional intelligence and psychology of the industry is what will make a salon professional continue to grow their clientele. All salon owners and professionals have to go through some form of training to become licensed professionals. Skills like coloring or cutting hair are important for any stylist to have, but knowing how to relate or listen to each client is what brings the client to a specific stylist’s chair. Having those skills requires a high emotional intelligence, something Jay says many salon owners have overlooked. A stylist who can psychologically transform a client will see their client on average between six and 50 times a year, and will keep the client for an average of six to seven years. Having a client who feels comfortable with you can secure their business much more effectively than simply achieving the style they asked for.      

Engaging with Clients Brings Retention

Stylists lead insanely busy lives, and sometimes it can be difficult to stay in the moment with one client when you have two, three, or even four or more clients for the day. Jay says one of the top 10 changes he would make to a salon would be to enhance human engagement. Many of us are so preoccupied with our phones that we can neglect not only what the client is saying, but how they are saying it. If a client is venting about a job loss or personal issues at home, using active listening skills and empathizing with the client will keep the client coming back. Jay believes putting the phone down and being in the moment will boost your retention, your referrals, your appointments, and your reviews in the future. 

Emotional Intelligence Begins with Self-awareness

One way that stylists can hone their emotional intelligence, or, as Jay refers to it, “emotional quotient”, is to have self-awareness and self-regulation in your work. Jay says being aware of your emotions at the moment – whether you are happy, sad, or frustrated – will make you 80 percent more likely to do something about them. Having the ability to be both aware of and handle your emotions will help you as a stylist better focus on your work and your clients. Self-awareness also allows you to be more empathetic with your clients. When we are present and focusing on the needs of the client, we can hear exactly what they want and act like their doctors at that moment. Self-regulation is also an important key to heightening your emotional intelligence. Jay says how we regulate ourselves and our emotions have everything to do with how we empathize with others. Self-regulation shows itself in the energy you have in facing your own emotions, which can be a positive aspect for your clients, if focused on correctly. One way we can regulate our energy towards a client is by helping them find what motivates them when it seems as if they’re facing hard times and helping them to focus on that more. 

Tools for Better Emotional Intelligence

So far, we have learned that a stylist who possesses a high level of emotional intelligence can further build their clientele and earn more income than someone who focuses on their technical knowledge alone. Jay said studies have proven that professionals who have a high emotional intelligence earn $29,000 more than their technical-savvy colleagues.  But how can you practice or learn more about emotional intelligence to help elevate your career? In addition to his own book as a resource, Jay suggests a book written by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves called Emotional Intelligence 2.0. The book comes with a complimentary, online assessment where the authors give you feedback on your results. The authors also show you how to heighten your emotional intelligence.

To connect with Jay Williams for a workshop on communications for your salon, check out his Facebook, Instagram (@jaywilliamsco), or on his website. You can also check out the full interview from the Beyond The Technique podcast here

Emily Kelly
Five Ways to “Wow” Your Clients and Improve Your Salon Experience 
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When working in a salon, your biggest challenge is creating a lifelong customer. Even if your guest leaves with a haircut they love, they’re unlikely to schedule another appointment if they didn’t enjoy their time in your salon. It’s no longer about simply satisfying your clients’ needs, in order to keep them coming back you must find new and innovative ways to really “wow” your guests and add value to their experience. 

From large-scale, salon-wide changes to smaller, more personal adjustments, industry expert, Kellie Johnson offers her best advice for adding value to the salon experience.

We introduced you to Kellie in our Beyond The Technique Podcast, but if you missed her previous interviews we’ll give you a quick recap: Kellie is the owner of the renown Elan Studio and a council member of The EmpowHERment Project. Aside from her career in the beauty industry, Kellie is also a certified Hypnotherapist and Professional Coach. With expert industry insight, she offers a few tips and tricks on going the extra mile and really wowing your clients.

Ace the Greeting

If you really want to impress your clients, you need to engage them as soon as they step foot in your salon. The general rule of thumb is that a client should be greeted within eight seconds of their arrival. Because this is such a short window, you must find the best way to welcome clients in without missing a beat. 

Kellie emphasizes the significance of greeting clients at eye level. Whether that involves eliminating chairs from behind the receptionist desk or specifically staffing greeters to maintain a post at the entrance, this small signal speaks volumes for your guests. 

Kellie also highlights the importance of presentation, and suggests that all staff be required to wear nametags and maintain a consistent dress code. You could incorporate all-black uniforms for a high-end feel, or playful work aprons for a vintage vibe. Whatever you decide, remember that the uniforms should match the feel of the salon and nametags should always be visible to your guests to add that personable touch. 

Include Complimentary Services  

Adding an optional, complimentary service, such as a scalp massage, to your salon routine automatically elevates your clients’ experience and reduces waiting time, leaving no guests unattended. This can be as simple as having an apprentice prep the client for a few minutes while their stylist is getting ready – a small gesture goes a long way!

The key here is making this bonus treatment optional. Although many clients are likely to oblige, others will opt out, which shifts the responsibility onto them for any waiting they choose to do before they’re escorted to their station.

You can even go the extra mile by giving clients the option to tailor their scalp massage to their needs. If your client is feeling stressed at work, go with a lavender scent. If they’re in need of a pick-me-up you might work in a bit of jasmine oil during the massage. This personalized experience is one way to make your clients feel important and appreciated before they even sit down in the chair.

It's in the Details

When looking for ways to add value to your clients’ experience, it’s easy to forget that this can be done at any stage of their visit, even the shampoo. 

Kellie suggests using heated towels as a small way to show your clients you care. Drying your client with a warm towel after treating them to a scalp massage and finishing their shampoo is the icing on the cake. It’s an unexpected surprise, but it’s these kinds of little things that clients reference in their reviews. 

Quick Tip: Customer reviews can be a great place to hunt for new ways to add value. When surfing through your online reviews, pay attention to those seemingly insignificant details that are repeatedly popping up and you might just stumble upon a new way to elevate your salon experience. 

Make Your Clients Feel Welcome

Personalization goes a long way in enriching your clients’ salon experience. To give your salon that personal touch, Kellie suggests adding name plates to each station that stylists can use to welcome their guests.

Kellie stresses the importance of having the whole team on board when introducing major changes like these in the stylists’ routine. With the name plates for example, your entire staff needs to be prepared to put in the extra effort to spell the client’s name correctly and have it written by the time they’re due to arrive at the salon. If you can get your team to buy in to these new techniques, you’ve already won half the battle. 

It's All About the Vibes

Really wowing your clients is often more about the intangible aspects of your business. Returning customers come back for the whole experience — the quality service, the friendly faces and the positive vibes.

As a salon owner, this means creating a great environment to work in and as a stylist, this means showing up for your clients every day and coming to work with good energy and enthusiasm. 

When Kellie senses low energy in her salon, she playfully suggests that her staff do five jumping jacks just to get the blood flowing again. It’s all about the energy. You have to keep it flowing, and keep it positive—but it really needs to come from the leaders, they’re the guardians of the company culture.

Finally, You Have to Do It With Love

Life is a lot easier when you make it about others. Most of you got into this business because you enjoy making other people look and feel good, on the inside and out. If you make each day about your clients, they will greet you with the same energy and enthusiasm — it all comes full circle. 

To learn more about Kellie Johnson, listen to her first podcast, episode 123. To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 127

 

Emily Kelly
How to Customize Your Consultations Using VAK
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I bet I grabbed your attention by talking about consultations, right? As we all know, consultations can be tricky, but they are so important for a successful appointment and something that we can all get better at. If you haven’t heard of VAK, I’m here to tell you what it is and how you can use this strategy to improve your client consultations!

What the Heck is VAK?

The suspense is over – VAK stands for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Here are some interesting statistics about these learning styles: only 20% of people are auditory listeners. (Of course, if you listen to the Beyond The Technique podcast, you are the exception!) 40% of learners are visual and the final 40% of people are kinesthetic learners.

Do you know what type of learner you are, or maybe more importantly, what type of learners your clients are? Here are some descriptions to help you better understand these ideas and identify your style.

Visual learners need to see to learn. These individuals learn through reading and writing activities. They feel comfortable with charts, demonstrations, videos, and other visual materials. Are you someone who can remember exactly where on a page a specific sentence, phrase, or image is? Or better yet, can you remember how to drive somewhere after only going there once? These are signs that you are a visual learner.

Auditory learners absorb information by hearing it. Often, these individuals talk to themselves. Do you have a coworker who you can hear mumbling alone at her station? This is the sign of an auditory learner. Additionally, these learners may move their lips when they read or even read aloud.

Kinesthetic learners do best while touching and moving and will often lose concentration if there is little or no external stimulation. These individuals often use highlighters when they take notes, draw pictures, or doodle while they are learning.

After reading these descriptions, do you know what type of learner you are? Many of us are a wonderful mix of all three learning styles or maybe prefer different approaches for different types of content. Nonetheless, I bet a majority of hair stylists are visual or kinesthetic. Think about a lot of the education in our industry. Oftentimes, we will watch a demonstration, then have a chance to practice on a mannequin. This gives auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners a chance to learn the best way they can!
 

VAK in Consultations

Now that you have a better understanding of VAK, it’s time to implement it into your consultations! The key to implementing VAK into your consultations is listening for cues from your clients to discern what type of learner they are.

If your client is a visual learner, you will hear her say things like: “Could I see that?” Or, “I see what you mean.” For visual learners, you really want to use illustrations or images in your consultations. You should consider showing them pictures and saying things like “This is what I visualize for your hair color and cut today.”

If your client is an auditory learner, you will hear her say things like, “I hear what you’re saying” or, “I heard about this new technique.” For auditory learners, you want to teach them through talking. Try telling them exactly what you plan on accomplishing that day, and at the end of the appointment, recap the entire service. Even if you have a client who gets the same haircut every six weeks, walk her through the entire process from start to finish.

If your client is a kinesthetic learner, you will hear her say things like “I feel like my hair is really dark.” Or, “Last time, I felt like my cut was too short” For kinesthetic learners, they want to be moving around or maybe listening to music. For their consultations, get out the color swatches and let them touch and pick out the colors they like. Try giving them the products to hold, feel, smell, and even apply to their own hair. They will appreciate having this control.

Matching your client’s learning style will go a long way to building her confidence in you and building your relationship together. Start with baby steps, and try this with just one or two consultations the next day you’re behind the chair. As you use this technique more, you will get better at hearing your clients’ cues, and your consultations will become more effective. Give it a try and let me know how it works!

To get even more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to the weekly podcast.

 

Emily Kelly