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

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
Tips for Remodeling Your Salon from an Award-Winning Interior Designer

Welcome back to the Beyond The Technique blog! We recently published a blog that was all about Salon Design 101 with award-winning interior designer, Leslie McGwire. We enjoyed chatting with her so much, that we brought her back to talk about the rules every salon owner should know before remodeling a salon. 

If you missed her first interview, here is a quick recap about Leslie: she has been in the interior design business for over 30 years and specializes in high-end jewelers and salon and spa interior design. Leslie has won multiple awards for her work, including America’s Coolest Store and Salon of the Year. Leslie is an industry rock star, and we’re excited to have her back! 

When to Remodel Your Salon

If you’re reading this, chances are you are a salon manager, owner, or stylist. For us, our office is our salon, so what do you do when your current location needs a facelift, but you aren’t quite ready to relocate? Remodeling is a great option, but how do you know when it’s the right time for your salon? To make the right decision, Leslie recommends asking yourself these questions:

  • Does your salon look outdated? 
  • Does your equipment look like it belongs in the nineties (or worse!)? 
  • Is your equipment mismatched – with some old and some new? 
  • Does your furniture have some wear and tear? 
  • Is there paint chipping on the walls? Or, are the walls an outdated color? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for a remodel! It’s important to keep your salon looking fresh and updated. This is especially important for salons because people go to a salon to get a fresh look and to stay in style. And potential customers will think twice if your salon doesn’t look like it understands what’s in style. 

Leslie suggests that a good rule of thumb is to remodel every three to five years. Now this doesn’t mean you do a complete overhaul every few years, that would not be feasible. But you should be doing small-to-medium scale updates – like fresh paint, new pedicure chairs, or new flooring – every few years to keep your salon updated. And then leave the bigger remodels for closer to five years. 

Don’t let this recommendation freak you out. There are so many ways to remodel your salon without breaking the bank. Interior design has come a long way in recent years. For example, there are a lot of affordable flooring options that look great and have low maintenance, such as designer vinyl and porcelain tiles. And if you want to keep the updates inexpensive, but not look cheap, reach out to a designer! They are a great resource for cost-efficient updates. 

Once you’ve decided to remodel – talk it up! Get your stylists and guests excited for the change. Make sure your stylists mention it to their customers throughout the day, send out an email announcement, and mention it on social. You can even put together a design board and have it on display in your retail section to give guests a sneak peek. 

Quick Tip: After you’ve completed a remodel you want to make sure to celebrate! Again, announce it on all of your channels and host an open house party or event to show off the new place! 

How Much Time Does it Take to Remodel? 

The number one thing salon owners don’t accurately account for when it comes to a remodel is time. How much time it will take to plan, how much time it will take to get in new equipment or materials, heck, even finding time to do the actual remodel work. 

Leslie suggests working with a contractor who can commit to working nights and the days your salon isn’t open. The goal is to keep your salon doors closed for the least amount of time possible – and a good contractor will understand that. But for a big remodel project, you should plan to be closed for a solid week. However, there’s a caveat. To get a big project done in that short amount of time, you have to have everything scheduled and orchestrated – floors and light fixtures should be installed before you paint, which needs to be done before your equipment is delivered, the list goes on. Your remodel needs to operate like clockwork or you will lose out on potential revenue. This factor alone is why it’s important to work with an experienced interior designer who also offers project management as part of the contract. They can help manage those details to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. 

Things to Consider Before Remodeling Your Salon

Before you begin any remodel project, take time to analyze your current situation. Do you like where your shampoo station is located? Can the plumbing even be moved if you don’t like the shampoo location? If you want to rearrange your stations, how much will it costs to reroute the electrical work? Details like this are very important to consider before beginning. 

It’s also worth evaluating your future in your current space. Are you leasing your salon? How much longer will you be in that location? Is it worth putting money into a remodel when you want to be out in a year or so? Answering these questions will help you determine if it’s time for you to remodel. 

Remodeling your salon can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it! The average increase in revenue for a salon is 20 percent in the first year after a remodel. So just do it! A remodel will keep your salon looking fresh, your clientele impressed, and help increase your bottom line. 

To learn more about Leslie McGwire, listen to her first podcast, episode 118. And to listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 124

Emily Kelly
Salon Tip: Host a Client Appreciation Party

First off, what is a client appreciation party? Well, it’s a fun event that you put on to celebrate your clients! That’s right, your clients are the A-list celebrities at this party! I know what you’re thinking. You have tons on your plate already, and this is just one more thing. But, you need to take the time to show some love to the people who support you, support your team, and ultimately support your salon business. After all, we are nothing without our amazing clientele!




Well, of course, you need to invite all your clients. But to maximize this party and get the most “bang for your buck” you need to take your guest list one step farther. This is how you do it. In your invitation, ask your current clients to bring someone new to the salon. For this to work well, consider offering an incentive to the current client and the potential new client. At my salon’s client appreciation party, we would enter both guests into a drawing to win a product bundle, and the product bundle can be tailored to fit the winners. For instance, if the winner is a male client, you probably wouldn’t give him a basket with mineral makeup and shine spray. Simply advertise a “Product bundle tailored to the winner worth over $50!” or something similar. This small incentive will get everyone fired up and excited to attend!

If you know me well enough, you know that we don’t stop there with the new visitors. Because my salon is a Meet Your Stylist salon, we ask that each new party guest take a couple minutes to fill out the Meet Your Stylist survey. Meet Your Stylist is a personalized survey that matches clients with their top three stylists at your salon based on their personality, lifestyle, and relationship preferences. The survey gets potential clients excited about who they would see if they choose to book an appointment. Even better, by filling out the survey, we’ve now captured their name and email address, so we can continue to market to these potential new guests. Finally, for filling out the survey, they are entered into the product giveaway twice! Who would say no to that?!


When do you actually do this? I suggest that you sponsor a client appreciation party annually, so your clients can expect that you will give back to them every year. You should also be strategic about the time that you’re hosting the party. I recommend a time that isn’t going to sacrifice your best revenue days, but is still convenient for clients. If your busiest time is Thursday evenings, you probably wouldn’t want to choose that day for your party – but maybe Tuesday or Wednesday night instead. We typically host our party from 5pm - 8pm, and mark our stylists off at 4pm. This gives everyone time to finish their clients, grab some food, and get re-glammed for the evening!


The obvious choice is to host your party at your salon, but your options are endless! You could rent a room at a swanky restaurant, or maybe you have a relationship with another local business who has a great space for you. We typically host our party at our salon, but one year we rented two rooms at a restaurant because we wanted to film some video testimonials. You want to host a fun party that people want to attend, but you can also get a return on your investment. Get creative and think about how your party can be a win-win for the clients and your salon.



Now you know when and where you’re hosting your party and who you’re inviting, so what are you going to do? The main event is all about showing some love to your clients. Of course, you want to offer hors d'oeuvre and beverages. Depending on the size of your space and your budget, you could have servers walking around with platters, or you could set up a little food table. To keep an eye on the amount of alcohol guests are consuming, I suggest having someone pouring beverages. After all, you don’t want things to get too crazy!

I also suggest that you offer complimentary services to your party guests. Consider offering a different service at every station, so your guests see the range of services that you offer! For instance, we offer a men’s scalp facial, a mini makeover, curl transformation for those with curly hair, braiding, and curling with a flat iron or curling iron. This is a great opportunity for mini tutorials and to sell products! I can’t say it enough—always be looking for opportunities to benefit the salon.

Finally, you want to offer fabulous networking, so make sure to get the word out about your event! Don’t limit yourself to promoting to the clients who already love you, but get others in the community to come in and see what you’re all about! Put the event on social media, add it to your marketing emails, ask your stylists to invite their friends and family, invite other businesses near your salon, and share with your local chamber. Make sure to think through your strategy and implement it well in advance to ensure a successful party!

As always, you can get as creative as you want for your event. In years past, we’ve done some fabulous giveaways, live entertainment, a DJ, and outside activities. You know your clients better than anyone, so give them a great reason stop in with a friend!

Hopefully, these quick tips on this topic have offered you some great insights and inspiration to host your next client appreciation event! If you have any questions or want to bounce some ideas off of other industry pros, make sure to join our sister company’s private Facebook group! Good luck at your next event!

Emily Kelly
Salon Design 101 with Award-Winning Salon and Spa Designer, Leslie McGwire

This blog is all about Salon Design 101, and to bring you this awesome content, we partnered with Leslie McGwire. Leslie McGwire is an award-winning salon and spa designer who has been in business for over 30 years. Leslie helps businesses in the hospitality and beauty industry with everything from interior design, furniture, sales and marketing, and even new business development! She is not only a specialist when it comes to salons and spas, but also with resorts and jewelry retailers. Needless to say, this woman has talent! 

When it came time for my salon, Be Inspired Salon, to move from our starter salon home to our forever home, I knew I needed to hire the best of the best. Leslie has won Salon Today awards time and time again for having amazing salon designs, and I wanted her work for my own place! After getting to work with her, I knew we had to bring her to Beyond The Technique to share her wisdom because I know I’m not the only salon owner who needed advice when it came salon design. 

A Little Background on Leslie

Leslie’s journey began with some advice from her mother. She once told Leslie that she had to do some type of work that she really loved and had a passion for. As a young person, Leslie always loved salons and the beauty industry. After Leslie received her Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design, she wasn’t quite sure how she could use that degree in the beauty industry. But as fate would have it, Leslie was soon hired to develop a salon and spa design program for salon owners. One thing led into another, and she became a regional manager for Takara Belmont for five years, and then a vice president for Belvedere for five years.

After spending ten years getting to know manufacturing and design in the context of salons, it only deepened her love for the beauty industry. Not long after that, Leslie decided it was time for her to start her own company. Leslie McGwire and Associates was born. Since then, Leslie has worked with salons and spas across the country, including salons such as José Eber in Beverly Hills and Premier Salon and Spa at Marshall Fields in Chicago. Leslie has also helped design the Wynn Hotel and JW Marriott in Las Vegas, and has worked with several very high-end jewelry stores.

Why Salon Owners Should Hire an Interior Designer

Salon owners often end up hiring their equipment supplier, such as Belvedere, to help design their salon. While this may seem like an easy solution, we strongly suggest hiring an interior designer. Why? It will save you money in the long run. Most cabinetry and equipment companies have the goal of selling you their products – not helping you design a salon that not only looks great, but functions efficiently. By working with a designer, you end up saving time because a designer knows what to do and who to work with. A good designer will be a team player who is there to support you and help build a salon designed to succeed. 

Leslie often gets calls from salon owners who start without a designer and end up having to pay more to essentially “redo” the work of a big equipment company. Save the stress, and the money, and start with a designer! 

What to Look for When Hiring an Interior Designer

Before you hire an interior designer, there are some things to consider. First, there are different types of designers. If you hire someone like Leslie, who is a top specialist in her niche, you will be paying a higher price. But Leslie also offers turnkey services, meaning she helps salon owners from start to finish. Leslie comes in with a blank slate and helps with everything from a space plan, to cabinet selection, to the accent colors. But there are also designers that can come in and help on a smaller scale.

No matter what “level” of designer you choose to go with, you want to make sure they’re associated with American Society for Interior Designers (ASID). ASID is the number one association for interior designers, it’s very prestigious, so chances are you are in good hands. 

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices for an interior designer, it’s always a good idea to ask to see their portfolio. If you like what you see, ask if you can get references from at least three of their past salon clients. Take the time and interview past clients to help you decide if you want to work with that particular designer. 

Design Budget: How Big It Should Be and Where You Should Spend It

Just like good hair color, you can’t go cheap on interior design. It’s important to view it as an investment. If you are thinking of starting your own salon, or relocating to a new salon, here’s some advice for a realistic budget. 

Leslie estimates that if you are looking to have high end turnkey service – which means help with everything – you should plan to pay about $9 per square foot. So, if you have a 2,500 square foot salon, your budget should be about $22,500. 

Speaking of square footage, you want to have a floor plan designed to generate the most revenue possible per square foot. What does this mean? It means you shouldn’t waste space on a big back office when you could add another chair or a manicure station. You want to fill your space with things that will make you money. 

It’s also a good idea to put aside a chunk of money for your equipment. It’s never a good idea to go cheap on equipment, because chances are you will be replacing it within a year. Leslie suggests prioritizing your budget to invest the most on styling chairs, shampoo units and processors, your front desk, and your lighting! Lighting is so important to prioritize in your salon. Great light makes all the difference! 

While it’s important to invest in some areas, there are other areas of salon design where you can spend less. Flooring is a great place to save money. Flooring has come a long way and there are a lot of inexpensive options that still look great, such as vinyl “wood” flooring and porcelain. Another great way to save is by going with ceiling tile instead of drywall and spending less on window treatments. 

Five Salon Design Elements That Will Make an Impact  

When you are in the process of designing your salon, you have to keep in mind what your guests will experience when they walk through your doors. What will be the first thing they see? What is going to grab their attention in the first 15 seconds and leave a great impression? There are a lot of ways to go about creating that “wow” factor, and Leslie kindly shared the top five design elements that can make the biggest impact. 

  1. Lines. Lines provide visual interest. When you walk into a salon, do you see curvy lines? Do you see straight lines? Say you walk in and see a curved reception desk with a curved wall behind it – that’s going to stand out.
  2. Color. Color is a huge element, and it does have an impact on the atmosphere of your salon. Having an accent wall with a pop of color can bring great energy. 
  3. Movement. Movement is becoming a very popular design element. Just picture a big wall with a large, beautiful image of someone cutting hair, or of an attractive female with the latest hair trend in action. These large images create movement and draw people in. 
  4. Scale and Size. It’s important to keep scale and size in mind. Having a big, oversized reception desk with a huge, bright chandelier over it can help create a “wow” factor.
  5. Texture. Texture is another design element that’s become very popular. Think reclaimed barn wood and exposed brick. Texture adds a unique element that attracts people. 

Designing your salon should be a fun experience! That’s why you should consider working with an interior designer to help you save money and stress. To listen to the full interview with Leslie, check out podcast episode 118

Emily Kelly
How to Become a Rock Star in Salon Retail 

Retail is a fundamental part to a successful salon business. Unfortunately, it seems to be the least favorite part of the industry to many beauty professionals. But fear retail no more! Today we are bringing you great advice on how to sell more retail at your salon. 

This awesome content would not be possible without help from our fabulous podcast guest and industry expert, Jesse Marcks. Jesse is not only a platform artist but also the owner of Au Fait Hair in Madison, Wisconsin. Jesse is a rock star in the beauty industry. She really knows retail, and she has high expectations for herself and her team. We know if you’re a Beyond The Technique fan, you have similar “A Player” qualities, so here is our advice to help you become a rock star in salon retail. 

Why Selling Retail is Key to Salon and Hairstylist Success.

Most stylists HATE selling retail. Many would prefer to simply come to work, do great hair, and go home. Unfortunately, that’s not a good strategy for any single stylist or salon looking to stay in business. So why sell retail? The biggest reason to sell retail is to build client loyalty. It’s been proven time after time, study after study, that a salon client that purchases retail will remain a client longer than those that don’t. If that isn’t reason enough, the other major reason is that it simply brings in revenue. Retail helps a salons (and independent stylists) stay in business. 

How to Change Your Mindset About Selling Retail. 

One comment Jesse often hears from stylists is this, “I’m here to cut and style hair, I’m not in sales.” This can be frustrating to a salon owner trying to increase sales. The thing is, everyone is in sales! That’s the industry we work in. However, Jesse often recommends shifting your thought process around product. 

Here’s a quick story. Jesse often teaches at other salons. She was once brought in to help a salon struggling with retail. Her suggestion? Take all of the back bar products away from the stylists. As you can imagine, this didn’t go over well, but only at first. This practice helped the owner demonstrate how important products are. If stylists can’t do their jobs without product, how can we expect our clients to? Clients are going to buy product one way or another, so make sure it’s from you – the professional! As the professional, you should be the one recommending the products. And if you do great work for your clients and earn their trust, they will want to purchase your product recommendations. So, long story short, if you’re doing your job well, it shouldn’t feel like sales. Change your mindset to think of it as part of the job. 

When to Sell Retail? Start at the Consultation.

One common mistake among stylists is waiting until the end of the appointment to start selling retail. This is not a good approach. Once the cape is off, the client is ready to leave, and pushing retail while they are checking out can get awkward. Jesse recommends starting at the consultation at the beginning of the appointment. There are three key questions to ask your client during a consultation. 

1)   What don’t you like about your hair? This is important because your client might dislike more than the cut or color. Perhaps she doesn’t like that her hair is frizzy or thinning. Collecting information like this allows you to recommend products to help throughout the entire appointment. 

2)   What do you like about your hair? Again, similar to question one. Your client might have certain things they love about their hair, and you can offer product that enhances it. 

3)   What is your daily routine? This is a great way to gain insight into hair habits and maybe learn why their hair is flat and limp in the morning. 

The consultation is key. It will provide you with information to help you educate your client, build trust, and sell product. 

How to Sell Retail: Give a Styling Lesson.

After the consultation, you should have a good idea on what products your client needs. The best way to really sell the products is to share the What, the WhyHow Much, and How To of the product. Stylists often grab products and apply without ever showing the client. A good rule is to always give your client a styling lesson. Show your client what products you are using, why you are using them, how much to use in their hair, and how to apply it properly. 

Let your client look and hold the products during the appointment. By teaching them how to use the product and letting them interact with it, it will increase their confidence that they can recreate the look at home, encouraging them to purchase what you recommended! 

Quick Pro Tip: When you are walking your client to the register at the end of the appointment, always ask an open-ended question. For example, which products do you want to take home with you today? Never ask a question that can be answered with a yes or no. An open-ended question gets them to think about it, and it makes it harder to say no. 

How to Keep Selling Retail.

So, how do you keep up selling retail? The easiest way? Keep up with amazing consultations and styling lessons. Even if it’s with a client of 5+ years, always provide a strong consultation and styling lesson with each appointment. 

Another great way is to follow up with your clients after the appointment. Check in with them and see if they like how the product is working. The vast majority of the time, the client will love it. But by reaching out, you are providing that little extra level a customer service no one else is providing. 

Quick Pro Tip: Keep at least two levels of product lines in your salon. Some clients will want the higher end, more expensive products. While some may get sticker shock. By having options, you can offer something to every client. 

With a good mindset, strong consultations and styling lessons, you can quickly become a rock star selling retail. If you’re interested in listening to the podcast that inspired this post, check out episode 116. To learn more about Jesse listen to episode 89 – her first Beyond The Technique podcast appearance. 

Emily Kelly
Sexy Science Series Part 3: What Your Clients Need to Know That You're Not Telling Them

Welcome back to our Sexy Science Series! If you’ve been following along, you will know that this is our third and final part to our series. If you haven’t been following along, make sure to check out Part 1: What Causes and Prevents Hair Damage and Part 2: Strand Test or Die. 

As a reminder, to bring you this series, we partnered with Gina Cooper, Wella Master Color Expert and owner of Spectrum Salons in Park City, Utah. Gina is also a frequent guest on the Beyond the Technique podcast, so make sure to check out podcast episode 105, our first introductory episode with Gina to learn more about her background.

With all the fun introductions out of the way, let’s jump in! As hair professionals, we often get so used to being in the industry day in and day out, that we forget that our clients don’t hold the same hair knowledge as we do. And sometimes, without even trying, we become unintentionally negligent. Which brings us to our topic today – what do our clients need to know that we’re not telling them? We’ve outlined five items that stylists should be telling their salon clients on a regular basis. 

1). Properly Shampooing and Conditioning Our Hair

Let’s start with the basics, properly shampooing and conditioning our hair. Typically, clients come in with dirty hair. This presents the perfect opportunity to share the basics for shampooing and conditioning. 

Let’s start with shampooing. Clients should expect there to be a lather when shampooing. Now, there are some brands that are specific to different hair textures that actually don’t lather up, but if you don’t fall into that category, most professional shampoos are going to create a lather.  A lather is basically the bubbly soap that’s created by the shampoo. However, it’s important to note that drug store shampoos will lather more than professional shampoos, typically because professional shampoos are more concentrated. This is important to share with your clients!

Gina also likes to show her clients how much shampoo she’s using for their hair. She makes sure to point out that she doesn’t start to apply it before their hair is sopping wet. Even then, she notes how she rubs it in her palms first to start the emulsification process before touching the scalp. 

So, when you are shampooing your client’s hair, make sure to point out how much pressure you are putting on the scalp to clean away build up. Remind them that washing their hair isn’t actually about washing their hair, it’s about washing their scalp and removing that layer of oil. Ask them how many times they wash their hair in a week. If they’ve jumped on the bandwagon of washing a few times a week, stress how important it is to shampoo properly when they do wash their hair. In fact, many times there should be two consecutive shampoos before the conditioner is applied. This is why you often see professional shampoo bottles that are bigger than their conditioner counterpart. When it’s time to clean your hair, you need to really clean it! 

2) Use a Towel Dry (Whenever You Can) Before Conditioning

At Gina’s salon, she encourages her stylists to squeeze out any excess moisture after they’ve shampooed a guest with a towel, and then show their guest how much extra moisture can come out from a towel dry. She encourages her clients to keep a little hand towel in their shower and squeeze out the extra moisture from their hair after they shampoo, but before they condition.

Towel drying, like shampoos, are not created equal! It all depends on your hair and its needs. It’s important to keep in mind the manufacturer’s directions for the products you are using. Some will call for a towel dry, some won’t. If your client’s hair does call for a towel dry, make sure to share that!

After sharing the towel dry trick, Gina also shows her clients how much conditioner to use and how to apply it. She loves doing this with her clients because by teaching her clients about the proper amount of product and techniques to use, she saves her clients money and earns their trust by sharing advice – an easy win at no cost. In fact, your client can save money by using less product and salon owners can save money by having their stylists start with a towel dry before diving into conditioning. 

3) Coach Your Clients

Sharing advice and tips is so important! In fact, it leads us to our next tip, coach your clients! Help your clients understand that the products you recommend are worth every penny! When your clients are at your chair, with a cape around their neck, they aren’t going anywhere. This is the time when stylists need to nurturea relationship of trust with their client. Explain to them why they should be using certain products, show them how to apply it, teach them to use a hot tool, etc. Use it as a coaching session to demonstrate the value of the product and teach them how to create the same results in the salon at home. Keep the products out during the whole session and keep reminding them of their benefits. Building this type of trustingrelationship will help you keep your clients for years to come. You want to be the person your clients turn to for advice on anything and everything that relates to the hair and beauty industry.  

4) Quote Before You Start

One issue Gina has with the hair industry is the norm to not provide clients with a quote before starting on their hair. Think of it this way, when you go out to eat and you see an item on the menu that’s listed as “seafood market price” chances are you aren’t going to order (unless it’s a special occasion or you really want it) because you know it’s going to be expensive. We forget that not providing a quote at the end of the consultation is like asking our clients to order the seafood market price. What if your client only has $200 to spend? She’s probably panicking a little bit hoping that it won’t cost that much. At Gina’s salon, there is an emphasis on focusing on what her services are worth, but not surprising her guests with what that worth costs. 

With that said, Gina shared some tips on how to have the sometimes uncomfortable conversation about costs with clients before starting work on their hair. 

First, always sit down. Grab a floating stool nearby and take a seat. It’s good to be at their level. 

Second, walk them through the basics of what you need to do for their hair and give them a price. And then, feel free to throw in other services you typically do, such as a conditioning and gloss services. Again, share the price for the add-ons. Make sure you let them know that you want to be on the same page with them budget-wise before beginning. 

Gina finds that two things usually happen. One, she gets interrupted from her client who’s excited about the extra treatment and has her add it on. Two, she gets a heartfelt thank you from her clients for being upfront and honest about the price. 

Now, once that initial price conversation happens, you can begin the appointment. But Gina also recommends discussing the price that it will cost to maintain the look they are getting, so that the price is already known for future appointments. It’s also a great way to coach your clients that professional hair color can be maintained on a budget. Which leads us to our last item….

5) Maintaining Color on a Budget

It’s important to help your clients understand there are ways they can keep their professional hair color while not breaking the bank. But as hair professionals, it’s also our job to offer those opportunities. One way Gina does this is by offering her clients mini color touch services. This helps hold her guests over between services. At Gina’s salon, they see guests come in for the mini color service at the four-week mark. Her team will just hit the guest’s part line, hairline and go around the nape of the neck. Her team is using a quarter of the amount of product typically used on a root retouch. And since her team has used the formula before, they know what it will be doing, so their clients have the option to leave with wet hair and reduce the cost of the service by not including a blow dry. 

Another service Gina offers is a mini foil service. This service allows Gina to target specific areas, and it’s especially nice for bright blondes who like to look fresh and keep their hair back. She will put a few foils around the hair line, mohawk area and a few face framing pieces. This is a great service that will help you keep your color on your clients instead of losing them to a different salon, or home box color. 

There are even more ways to help extend your clients’ color! One way is by having them express themselves through retail color services. Gina loves to add fun color to her clients hair by adding a hint of a fashion shade, say a rose gold or an electric peach, with tinted shampoos. It’s a great way to give her clients a fun look, without having them invest in a whole new balayage experience. Gina shares what she is doing with her clients and lets them know that they can purchase these tinted shampoos to give their own hair a temporary, fun color. It’s a great way to send your client home with more retail that was custom made during their salon experience!

If your client would prefer to use a conditioning toner versus a shampoo toner, Gina recommends creating a custom mix conditioner for your guests. For her guests, she will add a direct die to the conditioners for at-home use. Again, it’s a great way for your clients to keep their hair color fresh between visits and it allows them to experiment with fun colors. 

We covered a lot today, but to recap, here are the five things you should be telling your clients…

  1. Properly shampoo and condition our hair. Teach your guests to emulsify the shampoo in their hands and really get into that root area and get a good scrub, especially before a color service! 
  2. Towel drying. Make sure you are following directions and being mindful of the product you are using as well as the fabric of the hair. And if a client is a candidate for towel drying before conditioning, share it with them! 
  3. Coaching sessions. Make your client understands that products are worth every penny. 
  4. Quote prices. Let your guests know what their budget can handle and what your services are worth. Your guests will appreciate the transparency you’ve created. 
  5. Maintaining color on the slightest of budgets. Offer express services on your menu that will help your client stay within their budget and help them express themselves through color retail services.

That’s it for our Sexy Science Series. We hope you found this information helpful. To listen to the original podcast with Gina Cooper, check out episode 115 on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your favorite podcast app! 

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Emily Kelly
Sexy Science Series Part 2: Strand Test or Die

Welcome back to our Sexy Science Series! This is the second part of a three part series dedicated to the science behind healthy hair. In the first part, we discussed what causes and prevents hair damage. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure to check it out! 

As a reminder, to bring you this fun series, we partnered with Gina Cooper, Wella Master Color Expert and owner of Spectrum Salonsin Park City, UT. Gina is also a frequent guest on the Beyond the Technique podcast, so make sure to check out podcast episode 105, our first introductory episode with Gina to learn more about her background.

With all the fun introductions out of the way, let’s get started! For part two, our topic is: Strand Test or Die. 

For most stylists, strand testing is reserved for extreme cases. For example, you have a client come in with a level two hair and they want to be a level eight.  Although they told you they did box color a few months ago, you’re still nervous about the outcome. Or on the flip side, you have a client who is a level 12 who wants to go back to a brunette, and you want to check it out before moving forward with anything. 

Both great reasons to strand test, but Gina believes you should strand test on a more frequent basis. From her experience, strand testing is a simple way to get a solid foundation and understanding of your client’s hair before beginning anylightening service or color correction! A ten minute strand test takes out the guess work and produces consistent, beautiful results for your clients. 

At Gina’s salon, she requires a strand test anytime her stylists will be doing a service that requires lightening, color, or bleaching. She encourages her stylists to recommend a strand test at the beginningof a consultation, that way while the test is processing, her stylists can spend that time having a conversation with their client about what they are looking to get done and possible solutions. 

The reason Gina has incorporated this into her everyday practice is because she feels strand testing is a long forgotten trick stylists should be regularly practicing. Just like we should be testing our blow dryers on our wrists before applying it to our guests. We want to make sure we are following all the steps to make sure we are  safe, professional service providers.  

How to Do a Strand Test

At Gina’s salon, they are loyal Wella followers. For their strand tests, they use a Wella technique that is one part lightening powder and one part 10 volume, and they mix that one-to- one ratio for ten minutes. After you’ve prepared the mixture, you will want to isolate a few strands of hair over a few different areas of the head. 

Typically, if you are dealing with a color correction, there will be a few different zones to work with. Say your client applied color at home and she couldn’t reach the back as well, but she really over-saturated the front. Cases like this require you to test different hair strands around the head. 

So, you will take a few strands and isolate them in a foil, then place the mixture and gently fold the foil. After the ten minutes are up, you are going to want to spray each of those sections with a little bit of water and gently towel off the lightener. Then you want to go through and mechanically stretch the hair with your hands to see what happens. If it starts to break, you know it can’t withstand the stress of lightener. 

Gina’s Pro Tip: The reason you want to test small sections is because there could be a chance that when you take the foil off, there will be hair that is breaking. However, by testing small sections, you can isolate the areas of compromised tears versus large chunks of hair that you can no longer do anything with. In other words, always do a small strand test! 

If a client wants to go lighter or have a color correction, it’s always best practice to conduct a strand test. Even if it’s for a client of 10+ years, if they want to go lighter, make sure you do a strand test. It gives you a great opportunity to make sure your client’s hair is healthy and can take the lightener. Because as we discussed in part one, lightener has a much higher pH level than color and can cause more damage. 

Building a Roadmap from Your Strand Test

When you’re conducting a strand test, you might have a client that has had a wild color history and you might not catch all the color treatments they’ve gone through simply by looking at it. That’s why it’s important to always formulate to the deepest tone to prevent the underlying pigments from being an issue. 

Typically, the darkest, deepest point is going to need the most time and attention. By targeting it first, you get an understanding of your most challenging area and it will help dictate the pace at which the other sections of hair can move. This will allow you to set a roadmap for the rest of the color correction. 

Unfortunately, while you are building your roadmap, you might realize you can’t provide your client with their desired service for the day. One clear red flag that you shouldn’t move forward with a color treatment is if you see the hair snapping or breaking when you use your fingers to inspect it. Try and stretch the hair a little bit and if it has the ability to stretch and return to its length without breaking, it’s a good sign you can move forward. 

If you find the hair is breaking and you can’t continue with color treatment, you should begin to think of a different recommendations for your client. Take advantage of the other services your salon has to offer and make the best of the situation for your client. Perhaps offer a conditioning treatment or recommend product that will help get their hair healthy again. 

View Strand Tests as Insurance

There’s a good number of stylists that won’t even conduct a strand test. In most cases this is because they don’t feel they have the time. Stylists are encouraged to keep their consultations to less than 15 minutes, which doesn’t bode well for a ten minute strand test. This usually results with making a judgement call based on what you can see and what your client has told you. 

The problem with this approach is that you could be wrong and end up seriously damaging your client’s hair. Hair can only take so much stress, so while it may seem like an extra step, it will provide you with information you need to produce better (and healthier) results for your client.  By conducting a strand test, you have a solid insurance to take back to your client for reasons to hold off on color treatment until their hair is healthier – saving you from making a mistake that could cost you a client. 

To Sum it All Up: Strand Test! 

The formula Wella provides is one part lightening powder and one part 10 volume, mixed one to one and applied to several different sections of the head in five strand increments. Then you process it for ten minutes. After those ten minutes, simply spray the hair with water and gently towel off excess lightener. Check for snapping, breaking, and the strength of the hair. If you have a client that passes the strand test, proceed forward. Otherwise, evaluate that strand again. Check for your deepest points of lifting and that will be your roadmap to where you will apply your lightener first to start your color correction. If in fact you did hit that stop sign (e.g. too much breakage), make sure you have those ideas in your head for what you need to do to redirect your client in another route, but still keeping them in your chair.

For Gina, having her Wella Master Color Expert certification really helped earn trust from her stylists when she decided to implement her strand testing protocol. But more importantly, her stylists have seen incredible success come from strand testing. And because of this new protocol, their new mantra is this: ten minutes with a strand test can translate to 10 years with a guest. 

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 114 on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your favorite podcast app! 

Make sure to check back for part three: What Your Clients Need to Know That You’re Not Telling Them. 

Emily Kelly
Sexy Science Series Part 1: What Causes and Prevents Hair Damage

Who said science can’t be sexy? We certainly don’t think so, especially when it comes to the science of great hair! In fact, this is the first part in a three part series dedicated to the sexy science behind beautiful and healthy hair. To bring you this fun series, we partnered with Gina Cooper, Wella Master Color Expert and owner of Spectrum Salons in Park City, UT. 

Gina is also a frequent guest on the Beyond the Technique podcast, so make sure to check out podcast episode 105, our first introductory episode with Gina to learn more about her background. Gina is super passionate about the science and chemistry that goes along with the beauty industry and for the first part of our series, we want to discuss what causes and prevents hair damage. 

The Basics

So, where to begin? We started our conversation with understanding natural pH. pH stands for potential hydrogen and it measures the alkaline and acidic levels of a substance. The pH scale works similar to the Richter scale when measuring earthquakes. The range of a pH scale, is 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. Any number below 7 is acidic and any number above 7 is alkaline. As you go up the scale, the next number is ten times the alkaline level as the number before. And as you move your way below 7, each number is ten times more acidic than the number above it. Got it? Good, let’s keep going!

The pH of our hair exists between a 4.5 – 5.5 range, which means even the simplest exposures to anything can cause damage. This is why it’s important to be mindful and consider the origin of hair pH, because if a product says it’s pH balanced, we have to make sure what pH it is referring to. It could be referring to the pH balance neutral, which is 7, but to your hair, skin and nails, that could be extremely damaging. 

Basically, everything can cause damage to our hair. It’s a real bummer of the hair industry, but it goes to show how delicate our hair really is and why we need to take precautions as professionals to protect not only our own hair, but our clients’ as well. 

So with that, we have the top six things that cause hair damage and tips for how to prevent that damage.

1. Color and Volumizing Products

Ammoniated or permanent hair color products typically have a high pH level, around an 11-12 pH. The reason the levels are so high is because we need to swell the hair open to either expose the natural melanin or pigment, or to soften the hair strand so it’s prepared for coverage. This doesn’t mean ammoniated hair color is bad, it just means you have to respect it while you are processing it, and make sure to shut it down and restore the pH after the process is complete. 

Lightener is also another alkaline product to be aware of. Lighteners typically have a 12-13 pH level. Again, when working with these products, it’s important to respect the potential damage they can cause. Gina shared that with Wella, her salon practices a method called “slow and low” – which means that they use a low volume developer with a slow lightening process. This ensures that they are keeping the cuticle intact and slowly working their way through the melanin grains and dissolving them instead of blasting the cuticle wide open with a higher volume developer and attacking everything quickly. By going slow and low, it allows for a gentle opening and closing process. 

Volumizing products also have high alkaline levels. Volumizing products are focused on making each strand look larger and more full. The alkaline is what helps create that swell of the hair strand, but be cautious when using them. One great way to get volume without as much product is to use a blow dryer. When using a blow dryer, it’s important to turn it around and let the exhaust fan pull some of the heat off as you are drying, or hit it with a cool shot, this will help shut the cuticle down. By using your blow dryer correctly, you can shut the cuticle down and keep it protected mechanically, rather than chemically with a volumizing product. 

Obviously as hair professionals, we can’t avoid color, lightening and volumizing products, but we can be educated about them. These are all great tools to use, but it’s important not to abuse them. 

But don’t be discouraged, not all products cause damage! Most acidic products can help restore the hair’s pH balance. Styling products such as a Moroccan oil containing water are really great. The lower pH level helps shut the cuticle down and make it lay smooth and flat and helps with a faster drying time. 

2. Water

One of the biggest forms of hair damage is water. Water is a 7 on the pH scale and it causes hair to become 100 percent more elastic. When exposed to moisture, hair is 16 percent more swollen and two percent longer, which means that it can be stretched mechanically with our brushes up to 100 percent its dry length. 

Ten years ago, we were taught that you should let your hair air dry to avoid the damage of heat from a blow dryer. But with technology and new scientific knowledge, we know there are safer ways to dry your hair so that we don’t let the water sit for too long and cause damage.  

Unfortunately, we can’t avoid water in our hair completely, but there are ways to help prevent extensive damage. One way to do that is by investing in a brush or comb that is created to work through wet hair, and teaching your guests to properly address their hair after a shower with products, tools, and tension. 

Gina always coaches her guests to give their hair a really good towel dry, then a rough dry with a blow dryer, being mindful to shoot the hot air down the cuticle strand, even if that means flipping their hair over. After getting about 60 percent of the water out, she then suggests running a round brush through it. This helps cut down on the tension so they are not stretching their hair when it’s sopping wet. 

3. Hair Accessories

One of the most common forms of hair damage is caused by hair accessories. Gina often has clients that are trying to grow out a fringe, or are very active outdoors or at the gym, so they use headbands and bobby pins daily, causing a breakage along their hair line from the tension. Gina likes to coach her clients on accessories for their hair. One fun way to do this is with the cash wrap zone by your register. At your register, it’s always good retail practice to have little impulse purchases, these can include the hair accessories that are good for preventing damage, such as the fabric hair ties, or the beautiful bobby pins that have the old school clip on them, or a fun style of barrette. 

4. Sleeping

Yep, even sleeping can cause hair damage. One of the best ways to prevent damage in your sleep is to reduce the amount of friction we are exposed to. Gina coaches her clients to get a silk pillowcase and give their hair a soft braid with a fabric hair tie before going to bed. The bonus to doing this is when you wake up in the morning, you can shake out the braids, add a little dry texture spray and have cute, beachy waves for the day!

5. Sun Damage

This one is really important! Both our skin and hair are equally susceptible to sun damage. So, just like we put UVA and UVB protection on our skin, we need to do the same for our hair. There are a lot of great hair products out there that help protect from the sun. Wella’s Eimi line offers protection as well as Paul Mitchell’sMarulaOil. 

Often products will not say it on the label if it offers sun protection, so it’s a good idea to ask your distributor or rep for that information. This is especially important if you live in a state with lots of sunshine all year round. 

6.  Hot Hair Tools

Knowing the temperature at which your hair can withstand heat is really important. Many companies produce irons that don’t have gauges or dials that allow us to select a temperature. Dry hair can only withstand heat up to 392 degrees, and when wet, it can only withstand heat of 248 degrees. Those temperatures are pretty low when you consider how high some irons can get. 

It’s important to evaluate the hot tools you use and make sure you purchase one that you can set the temperature. And make sure to educate your clients about this as well! 

We hoped these little scientific nuggets help you feel empowered about the science behind being a stylist. The big takeaway from this is that as stylists, we may already be informed of these forms of damage, but we need to make sure we are informing our clients as well. Empowering our clients with knowledge helps them feel confident and safe when they sit down in our chairs. 

Next up in the Sexy Science Series, we will be address strand testing. It’s going to be a good one! So, make sure to come back to our blog and check it out. 

To listen to the original podcast with Gina Cooper, check out episode 113 on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify or your favorite podcast app! 

Emily Kelly
Earn Your Worth: How to Increase Your Income as a Hairstylist

When we mention earning your worth, we imagine most of our readers yelling into the computer screen: “Yes, please!” Well, we have heard you! We are excited to feature Stacy Porter—regional director for Paul Mitchell—who is going to dive into how your appearance, attitude, and behavior will determine your income potential.


Many stylists—especially those who are new to the industry—may be wondering what earning your worth even looks like. How much should you be earning now, and what is your earning potential? To answer your questions, we have both bad news and good news. The unfortunate news? The national average income of a hairstylist is about $30,000 a year. The exciting news? Stacy believes that your earning potential is actually endless! She wholeheartedly believes that what you put in, you will get back out.

As a professional at Paul Mitchell, Stacy rolls with a ton of amazing professionals who most of us only get see on stage. In this circle, Stacy knows numerous hairstylists who earn $100k+ and have plenty of leisure time for themselves and their families. To reach that level, stylists need to know their value and charge for their value. So, how do you get there? Stacy has a three-step approach to earning your worth which includes: your look, your attitude, and your behavior.

Your Look

Stacy believes that you should always put your best foot forward. After all, you only have one chance to make a fabulous first impression! As a stylist, you should always make sure that your hair is done, your makeup is on, and you look your best.

When reflecting on your appearance, Stacy suggests thinking about how your clients are going to perceive you as a professional. Would a professional wear sweatpants to work? Stacy explains that when a customer sees a stylist who isn’t dressing professionally, it really relaxes the services and expectations. An unkempt stylist is no longer perceived as a professional, but transforms to a friend. How does this translate to earning your worth? If a client believes that they’re getting a haircut from a friend instead of a professional, they will expect to pay less for your services. Professionals get paid more. The bottom line: when you look good, you feel good, and you perform better!

Your Attitude

Stacy also explains that your attitude determines your profit potential. What kind of attitude does a successful stylist have? Positive! Let us remind you that attitude is a learned behavior. This means that everyone has the ability to change their attitude for better or worse. Positive stylists attract colleagues and clients who are positive, loving, excitable, and encouraging!

Again, you may be wondering how this translates to higher earnings. A stylist with a positive and optimistic attitude will set and achieve higher goals. Instead of thinking that they will never master a skill or earn their worth, stylists with positive attitudes will achieve their dreams!


Your Behavior

Attitude and behavior go hand-in-hand. The way that you think and the ideas that you formulate affect how you act both personally and professionally. Stacy believes that the stylists who earn their worth always treat people the way that they want to be treated.

As industry pros, Stacy points out that we often overlook how exciting it is to receive services at a salon! Our clients really look forward to having their hair done—just look on Pinterest! But, stylists also shouldn’t forget that their clients are setting aside a certain amount from their personal budget to be spent on their hair and hairdresser. In return, stylists need to put forward their most professional behavior at all times because the clients deserve our very best. Customers are willing to pay for your value if they believe that there is no other place that treats them as well as you do!


Occasionally, we all need to reflect on our look, attitude, and behavior. When doing so, think about the type of professional who you want to be and the type of client who you want in your chair. If you are a professional in both appearances and actions, Stacy is confident that you will earn your worth!

If you need some more inspiration and guidance, listen to Beyond the Technique podcast Episode 61: Go To Another Salon! In this episode, we show you how observing others will help you realize your own potential!

Listen to the full interview with Stacy Porter on Episode 75 of Beyond the Technique’s podcast.

Emily Kelly
Quick Tip: How to Make Affirmations that Work to Your Benefit

When you think of affirmations, you may typically think of standing in front of your mirror and saying something like, “I am powerful. I am beautiful. I am fit. I am [fill in the blank].” While those may be true, what if they aren’t? Meaning, what if you say, “I am a millionaire. Or, I am a triathlete.” What I want to guide you on is how to make sure that those affirmations work to your benefit.


You see, your mind recognizes when you’re telling yourself something untrue. It’s basically calling your bluff. So if you were to say, “I am a millionaire,” and you really aren’t yet, your brain will call you out for that. And it definitely doesn’t sit in the storage compartments of the brain as an honest truth about yourself.

So here’s a quick tip for you: Change the ways you say your affirmations so that your brain says, “Ah, that’s true”, instead of recognizing it as false.

You can do that by saying, “I am in the process of becoming…

You look at yourself, maybe in the mirror at home, or however you like to approach your affirmation. Then take what you started with before, and adjust it to say, “I am in the process of becoming powerful, I am in the process of becoming fit, I am in the process of becoming a millionaire,” and so on. You can fill that in with whatever you may be striving towards, but no matter what, when you use the words “I am in the process of becoming...”, your brain responds with, “Yes, yes you are.”

How many times does it take for an adult to retain new information? The answer is, 21 times! This is why we are pounded with certain advertisements over and over again. Repetition is key to associating a message with a brand. Hence, I encourage you to stick with your affirmations until it becomes your brand and your belief about yourself.

Emily Kelly
How Booked Should Your Salon Be?

Recently, I polled the fabulous professionals in our sister company’s private Facebook page with this question: “I’m curious if you’re at a point where you’re fully booked, or do you have room to grow your clientele? I know everyone’s workflow looks different, but I would like  to hear where you’re at.” What do you think the answers were? Well, I can’t wait to share these answers with you—I’m sure they will surprise you!

The Responses

Stylist A
This stylist said that she is still growing and explained that there are a lot of graduate students in her area, so her clientele is always cycling through. For instance, a student will be here for three years, then graduate, and move to a different city. Because of that, Stylist A has room on the books to grow.

Stylist B
Stylist B just closed her books because she cannot take any more new clients. In fact, Stylist B had to increase her prices at the beginning of the year by 25%! Additionally, she is planning to let some of her clients go who aren’t ideal clients. When you’re this crazy-busy, you have the ability to increase prices and only focus on your ideal clients. That sounds great!

Stylist C
Stylist C shared that she doesn’t refuse any new client who has sought her out personally. For instance, if a new client has found her work through social media and requested an appointment, Stylist C will not turn the client away. She also explained that sometimes clients move, quit on you, or get sloppy with their pre-booking. In these instances, Stylist C always want to have a few openings for people who have have gone out of their way to find her.

Stylist D
This stylist is booked out about three months and will only take new clients who are referred by her current clients. Any other new clients are referred to a different stylist at the same salon. It sounds like everyone there is staying very busy—how awesome!

Stylist E
Friends, this is where it gets interesting! This stylist felt overbooked, had too many clients, and started to hate the feeling of having everything booked out for the next 12 months. Resenting this monotony, Stylist E decided to clean house! To do this, she raised her prices by $150, minimized the amount of services she offered, and moved to a different salon. Of course, Stylist E lost some clients due to the price increase, but she is attracting new clients who are more than willing to pay the higher price. Even though this stylist is now in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, she is happier than ever! Stylist E has a new goal of being about one month booked out—instead of 12.  

What Does Fully Booked Even Mean?

After reading the response from Stylist E, I took a moment to reevaluate what fully booked even means. What is the standard that we are trying to meet and why? To gain an even better understanding, I called several top-notch salons throughout the US, to ask their perspectives. Here are their answers:

  • Salon Spa W in Des Moines, IA: top stylists booked 9-12 months out

  • Urban Betty Salon in Austin, TX: top stylists booked about 2 months out

  • Butterfly Loft Salon and Spa in Encino, CA: top stylists booked 3 months out

  • Wheeler Davis Salon in San Clemente, CA: top stylists booked 4-6 weeks out

    Of course, each salon owner had a different perspective on why this was ideal for their environment. If you’re thinking that all these answers are creating more confusion and less clarity for you, I will tell you this with confidence: a great strategy is to be booked 2-3 months out. This means you’re booked 80-90% of the time for the next 2-3 months. You probably have a haircut or color available every now and then, but you’re mostly booked.

Here is why I think 2-3 months is the sweet spot. Once you get there, you can raise your prices. As you know, you’ll probably lose a handful of clients after you raise prices. If you’re still booked three months out, raise your prices again, double-book, and/or hire an assistant. If you’re still consistently booked, raise your prices again, and go from working 5 days a week to 4 days a week because you will still be earning the same amount. Do you see what is happening? You are creating a cycle of success and this is what you strive for!

The goal isn’t to be so busy that you’re killing yourself. The goal is to build such a demand that you can build the life you’ve always wanted!

What are your thoughts on this topic? If you’re looking for a safe place to share ideas and network with other professionals throughout the US, join our private Facebook group! We all rise when we lift each other, so join now! To get even more industry advice, make sure to follow Beyond the Technique and listen to the bi-weekly podcast, including this topic: Episode 73.







Emily Kelly
Success Starts with Self-Mastery: The Financial

Today I’ll return to the topic of success through self-mastery, but I’ll be focusing on the financial aspect.

How do you master the financial part of your life? Do you have financial goals each month? Do you have long term goals? In this post I’ll share three strategies to help you become a master of your financial future.

Strategy One: Budget

For years I refused to use a budget. I was in denial, and having a budget felt so restrictive. I didn’t want restrictions because I had the mindset that money was mine for the taking. I felt like a budget would be unnecessarily limiting myself. But that isn’t the truth.

A budget gives you power over your money, it tells your money where to go, and allocates your funds. So, instead of looking at a budget as a restrictive, rigid thing, think of it as allowing you the option to allocate your money where you want and need it to go.

My recommendation, which comes from something that I learned at the Dave Ramsey SMART conference, was to budget your money down to zero. Take all of your income and literally break it down so it comes out to zero. You take your total monthly income and subtract all of your expenses, then decide what you want to do with the overage. Or, you may also need to decide how to handle a deficit, which could be a wake-up call to help you realize how important a budget really is.

In my case, I ended up saying, “Okay, I  need to decide how much more I’m going to put into each category.” So if I do less shopping, and have an excess in the budget, I would have more that could:

  1. Go into savings
  2. Go into my retirement
  3. Go into tithing for my church
  4. Go to vacation or gift savings accounts

You have all of this extra money that you could save for future entrepreneurial investments. When you’re in charge of your own money, it’s really cool to see what you can do when you have extra.

If there is a deficit, it should be the wake-up call. You have to clearly see that eating out every day for lunch and dinner is sucking the life out of your funds. Do you really want your money to be working for you in that way? For those of us who are really busy, it could be actually more cost effective to hire someone who does your food preparation for you. They’d go to the grocery store, prep, and cook the food, which would actually save you money from eating out every day, and it would also save you a lot of time and effort. You just outsourced a need in your life. So just think creatively like that about how to potentially avoid adding more work to your life, while still directing your money where it needs to be.

For me, shopping was a major issue. It’s hard for me to resist going to a nice outdoor mall, looking around, and finding so many adorable things that I want. I actually ended up owning many things that were extremely similar to things I already owned. I’m sure some of you do that too. How many of you go out and buy shoes, or shirts, or jewelry that actually all looks the same? I always buy similar things because they fit my style, but I end up wearing literally ten to twenty percent of what’s in my closet.

This just proves my point that your money could be going towards things that aren’t actually serving you or your long-term goals.

What are your long-term goals? After you set up your budget for what you’re currently working with, I want to challenge you to take some time to create your “Someday Budget.” These are the things you want to do with your money “someday” when you have extra income or profit. You can make a someday budget for your business and for yourself. I would encourage you to do both.

If you’re currently operating on $2,000 per month, what is it going to look like if you’re operating at $4,000? 6,000? 12,000? Or even higher? How are you going to budget your money to work for you? I think that if you have the vision for what’s going to come, the work and effort you put in now is going to propel you exponentially. You’ve heard of the people who win the lottery and then have their entire lives fall apart because they didn’t know how to manage what they suddenly gained. If you can manage your money today and then set up your future goal, it will be freeing for you. It’s very exciting working towards that goal and freedom.

Strategy Two: Goal Setting

I recommend that as soon as possible, you sit down and set personal goals for yourself as well as your business goals. The key is to simplify.

Here’s an example. If you’re currently bringing in $4,000 a month but your goal is to bring in $6,000 a month, you’re looking for a $2,000 increase. How are you going to increase your monthly income by $2,000?

There are a few ways to start making your money. The first is by increasing the number of customers that walk through your door. How can you increase the number of customers, the average ticket of each customer, and the number of transactions each month? Those are three components to think about. You can do something promotional that doesn’t devalue your business, meaning discounts aren’t the answer. When I talk about promotions I’m suggesting that you think outside of the box.

How can you increase the number of transactions per month? Think about what would make your clients come in more often. What about a waxing promotion, where clients would get a complimentary wax of their choice when they do a brow wax? Instead of devaluing yourself with a discounted service, you’re offering an ad-on deal. Or what if you said, “If you come in for a treatment, you’ll receive a $10 gift card to use towards products.” That’s another great promotion that does not devalue what you’re offering. It’s giving a gift, something of value, which will encourage an increase in the number of transactions during the promoted time period.

To increase the number of customers coming in, there is a phenomenal marketing tool called Meet Your Stylist. This tool gives your salon a unique marketing survey that potential clients can use to get matched with stylists  that are the best fit for them. The tool is a great way to encourage more visitors to your salon!

The final possible method is to increase the average ticket. Is it time for you to increase your prices? If you have a goal of reaching an additional $2,000 a month, it definitely might be time. If you’ve been very busy and you think you have loyal clientele, consider raising your prices. You have to think outside of the box, ask yourself, “How do I start working smarter, rather than working harder?” You can definitely increase your income by putting in more hours, because the one thing you can leverage is your time. But how can you think outside of the box so that you’re making other things work on your behalf?

Do you hire so that you can divide and multiply your business? These are all really fun things to think about. I don't expect that you’re going to implement this tomorrow or the next month, but having that clear goal in front of you will keep you more focused and more likely to work towards that goal.

Strategy Three: Review

Once you do any of these other steps and strategies, you need to come back and review your progress. My husband and I have a monthly financial budget meeting. We actually sit down and schedule it in our calendars just like a business meeting. We look at what we did last month with our spending and whether we stayed in budget. We decide if we have excess to work with, or if we spent too much. So each month we do this check-in to review our budgeting, spending and finances, and make sure to communicate with each other about everything.

With your business, you’ll want to review each month by looking at your profit and law statements, and checking your balance sheet. You’ll also want to have bi-annual meetings. Twice a year, sit down and ask yourself if you’re reaching your goals for your business. Then decide what you have to do to get there. If you’re already there, that’s great! Revise and set a new goal. It’s really a matter of mastering the management of your money.

At the end of the day,  this is only a piece of the puzzle that is your life. You need a budget that tells your money what to do so that you’re in control of your own finances. Set goals so that you’re not restricted. The goals are what free you up to do the bigger things you want to do in your life. Maybe you desire to make more, live more, or make less and live off of less. Everybody has a different plan and that’s okay, as long as you have goals.

But make time for the review aspect. Set up an appointment for yourself, at your business, maybe even with your business coach. Confirm that the budget is in place and that your goals are underway. If you do these things, I believe you will be successful in your financial life.



Five Traits of a Great Mentor with Gina Cooper

Industry expert, Gina Cooper is back at Beyond the Technique! If you don’t remember Gina from Episode 105 of the podcast, let me fill you in. Gina is a Wella Master Color Expert, a full-time stylist, and the owner of Spectrum Salon in Park City, Utah. Gina is back to discuss a topic that is dear to her heart, which is finding a great mentor. So, what should you be looking for in a great mentor? Keep reading to find out!



#1 Tangible

Gina’s ride-or-die mentor is Victoria Thurman Hall of Wella Professionals. In Gina’s words, Victoria has been “absolutely pivotal in shifting [her] career” and Gina attributes this to her tangibility. So, what do we mean by tangibility? Gina defines tangibility as access, communication, and response time.

A great mentor needs to be accessible. This characteristic distinguishes a mentor from a role model. For instance, one of your role models may be Jen Atkin, but is Jen Atkin accessible to you? Probably not. A great mentor needs to be accessible in-person, through email, text, phone call, FaceTime, etc.

Communication and response time go hand-in-hand. Think about visiting a business’ Facebook page; if it says they respond in 3-7 days, that is pretty discouraging. The same reasoning applies with your mentor. When you need your mentor, you want them to be there for you.

Think about your mentor as someone who you are entering into a relationship with; a great boyfriend will return your texts, so a great mentor should, too!


#2 Brand or Technique Identity

Gina explains that she and Victoria strongly identify and connect with Wella. Their Wella tribe is all-black wearing, tattoo covered, nerdy scientists. Beyond their funky scientist exterior, Gina is connected with Wella’s culture and techniques. The bottom line: a great mentor connects you with a brand or technique that you identify with. If you are drinking the balayage kool-aid, a great mentor for you would also be head over heels with balayage.

#3 Core Values

Gina explains that core values aren’t just personal, but professional. Relating on a personal level is what keeps a mentor and mentee connected on a deep level. For instance, Gina notes that she truly admires how kind, caring, and pure Victoria is with everyone she encounters. In turn, Gina has carried forward these values, and they give her the strength to stand on her own foundation. After all, people do business with those who value what they value; the same goes for a great mentor!


#4 Continuous Growth

Victoria and Gina are always talking about continuous growth! In fact, on the day that we chatted with Gina, she had just gotten off the phone with Victoria, and they were talking about this very topic. Gina explained that Victoria is going back to school for her trichology certification. What’s trichology? Great question! Trichology is the study of hair.

Gina admires that Victoria has already gotten so far in her career, but she is continuing to push forward and learn even more! To Gina, this shows that Victoria has a deep respect for the beauty industry (another core value!). The win-win scenario is that Victoria will then share pieces of her new knowledge with Gina. This is the ripple effect that a great mentor will have on her surrounding community. How great is that!


#5 Respect

That’s right, R-E-S-P-E-C-T! A great mentor not only needs to have the respect of other industry professionals, but also treat others with respect. Gina shared that when she is in the studio with Victoria for a class, Victoria treats pros with over 20 years of experience with the same respect as someone who has been out of school for three months. Victoria treats everyone in her environment with the respect, and that means the world to Gina!

Now that you know the five traits of a great mentor, keep your eyes open for someone who you can connect and grow with! If you’re looking to find a fabulous mentor, Gina suggests focusing on trait #2. If you love short hair cutting, find a brand or stylist who is amazing and reach out to them! Don’t be scared of a rejection because the right mentor for you will say yes, and it will be amazing!

If you want to hear more from Gina, check out Beyond the Technique podcast Episode 105 as well as the Sexy Science Series Episodes 113-115. Also, be sure to join our sister company’s private Facebook group where you can network and connect with other pros! You may even find a great mentor!

Emily Kelly
3 Small Steps to Help You Achieve Big Dreams

Have you ever been scared to begin a new journey? Especially if it’s unfamiliar territory? Industry expert Shanna Dee shared a similar story with us. It was not too long ago at her first day of beauty school that her dreams seemed impossible and unattainable. She nervously arrived and sat staring at her mannequin, unaware of the fact that she was supposed to come into beauty school with prior braiding skills.

She watched as other girls effortlessly whipped out intricate french braids, fishtail braids, and a variety of other braids. She thought to herself, “I’m done. This is it. This is my sign.” There was no way she would be able to catch up to the other girls, especially since they weren’t even going to be taught to braid.

Just as she was about to give up, she looked at the girl standing next to her and saw a mannequin with unbraided hair too. Their eyes met and it felt as if they both knew what the other was thinking. Shana felt relieved she was not alone. She didn’t give up and instead started practicing braiding every single night in an attempt to catch up to her class.

Everyone has feelings of self-doubt, but there is no need to give up on your dreams. Through small everyday actions you can turn your dreams into a reality. Shanna has broken down how you can achieve your big dreams into three simple steps.

Step 1: Determine Your Destination

First, get clear on what you want. This may not be as easy as it seems. Sometimes we tend to put someone else’s wants and needs before our own, so it is important to really determine what YOU want.  Take time to figure out where you want to take your career. Once you’ve identified your goal, you can carve out a path to achieve this goal. Which brings us to step 2…

Sometimes determining your destination provides clarity for what you really want. Here is an analogy, when we enter a destination in our smart phones, we are given multiple routes to choose from. They offer different paths, and have differing arrival times, but one thing remains the same: the destination. What if your biggest dream could be as simple as typing in a destination into your GPS?

Step 2: Map Out Your Journey

Let’s imagine your goal was to become a better colorist. How will you do this? Is it as simple as wanting to get better, or do you need to set specific steps towards this desire? You need to make sure that your goal is measurable, so that you know when you have arrived at your destination. For example, instead of just simply wanting to become a better colorist, a measurable goal would be to attend a coloring course or learn a new hair color technique. There is no better feeling than accomplishing your goals. The self-confidence you gain when you complete one goal will keep you focused on heading towards your end destination.

Step 3: Get Started! 


This is the important part. Once you determine what you want and how to get there (a.k.a. your destination), just get started! Similar to Shanna with braiding, getting in there and doing the work is the only way to improve. You are never too good to practice or take another class. Especially when hairstyling trends are always changing, so even if you think you are a master, there is always going to be something to learn. Studies say it takes 10,000 hours to be good at something, so you have no excuse not to practice.

You won’t ever know everything. And that’s okay! Because this leaves room for growth. It keeps things exciting, especially in hair styling.  Just remember that doing something little everyday to work towards your dreams will put you on the right path, and get you that much closer to your dreams and goals.  Right now is the perfect time to start planning and achieving your goals by doing something small everyday.



Emily Kelly
How To Implement an Education Fund for Your Stylists

What is an education fund? Above all else, it’s a solution to the excuse: “I don’t have the money.” In the beauty industry, we know that education is everything, so you should always be encouraging and supporting your stylists to get better. But, we also know that advanced education comes with a price tag—which is exactly why you need an education fund! An education fund allows for a consistent and fair approach for each of your stylists to take advantage of advanced education opportunities. Here’s what we do at Be Inspired Salon in Madison, WI.



The Details

At Be Inspired Salon, our education fund is driven by retail. That’s right—another reason why retail is so important for a salon and stylists’ success! At my salon, a stylist’s education fund is filled up based on the commission they earn from retail sales. Instead of this commission going into their paycheck, it goes right to their education fund. How sweet is that!

We give every stylist a baseline 10% commission on the wholesale cost of each product they sell. So, you might be wondering what the incentive is for a stylist to be awesome at sales and build up their fund. Well, here is that incentive. We also offer bonuses that go on top of their commission.

Here are the two bonuses that we offer every month: 1) if in the month, you have 19% or more of your total sales from retail, you’re entered into a drawing to win $50 cash! 2) If in the month, you have 23% or more of your total sales from retail, we give you an additional 10% of the wholesale cost, and the stylist can choose if that goes into their education fund or paycheck. These two simple—and fun—bonuses give everyone an opportunity to go above and beyond to build their education fund. What is even more fun is that we announce these bonuses at our team meeting which allows our top producers to receive recognition for their great work!

Show Me The Money

There are some administrative-type tasks that are required to successfully implement an education fund. Although these steps might be different for each salon, it’s worthwhile to consider them before you have to learn the hard way.

Within your POS system, you should have the option to pull your total-sheet—it’s probably called something similar to this. Basically, this report will display everyone’s retail percentages. Then, I transfer these numbers to an Excel workbook. For our record-keeping system, every stylist has their own tab, and we track each month of their year. Then, this Excel sheet acts like a check register; it shows each stylist’s fund total and their debits for any classes, travel, and lodging that they need.

We do allow our stylists’ education funds to rollover from year-to-year. This is especially helpful for our new stylists who need some time to build up their fund in order to afford some higher-end classes. However, if a stylist leaves or is terminated, they lose all of their funds that they haven’t used.

Here’s my final piece of advice for salon owners. If you haven’t had an education fund before and you’re just getting started, it’s going to feel great to see all this extra money in your checking account. Naturally, you start thinking about ways you can invest those profits back into your business. Well, I highly recommend that you transfer the education fund money from your cashflow into a savings account every single month. Otherwise, your stylists will come to you to pay for a class, and all the money that you’re supposed to have is gone because you invested it into new equipment. You don’t want to make this mistake! The bottom line is to make sure that you’re keeping up with the required administrative tasks.

With an education fund, our stylists are highly motivated to say yes to more awesome advanced education classes! I bet your stylists will do the same! If you have any questions about implementing an education fund at your salon, please do not hesitate to contact me!

If you want to share other industry tips or bounce ideas off of other pros, join our sister company’s private Facebook group! We can’t wait to meet you!

Emily Kelly
The Benefits of Giving Back

We are so excited to have Chelle Neff back at Beyond The Technique to share the benefits of giving back to your community! If you don’t know Chelle, you need to check out Episode 77 of our podcast to learn all about how Chelle got into the beauty industry and built the powerhouse Urban Betty Salon in Austin, TX. She has so many great insights to share about the beauty industry, but today we are talking about a topic near and dear to Chelle’s heart, which is giving back to others. Let’s see how she does it to benefit herself and her business!



Why Have a Philanthropic Pursuit?

We know that not every salon has a philanthropic mission, but Chelle is here to share why this is such an important mission to incorporate into your salon’s values! First, Chelle has noticed that giving back has helped build a great reputation for her salon in the surrounding community. Other community organizations know that they can count on Chelle and Urban Betty for a donation when it is needed. We know that the beauty industry is all about building relationships, and these ones will last a lifetime!

In addition to building respect for her salon, giving back to others has also built respect for Chelle as a leader. Chelle explains that her employees respect leaders who do good for others. This seems so simple but it’s huge—have you heard the Gandhi quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – this starts with a strong leader like Chelle!

Above all, Chelle shares that, “If you have a platform and a brand, you should utilize it to give back to the community.”

For Chelle, there isn’t a question about serving others—not only does it benefit society, but it helps your team to connect and build a higher company morale. At the end of the day, everyone wants to do good and serve others! So, what are you waiting for?!

How to Get Started!

Like many salon owners just starting out, Chelle didn’t know how to get started with involving her salon in the community. But now that she has 13 years of experience, she has some advice to share with others! First, do not get overwhelmed by the countless ways that you can serve others. She notes that “even the smallest thing that you can do is huge,” so don’t try to do something monumental right out of the gate.

With that advice in mind, start small by simply giving donations. Chelle says, “If anyone asks you for a donation, give it.” Period. Urban Betty gives out $100 gift cards for products and services to any organization that asks for a donation. Additionally, Chelle does not set a budget for giving back, and encourages you not to do so either!

Now, you might be thinking “OMG, I’m giving out all these gift cards. What is going to happen?!” Well, a lot of them won’t come back. But, Chelle stresses that this is OK. When your gift card is up for a raffle at a gala, think about how many people are going to see your branding! That is priceless! Just by giving donations, this gets your name in the community and more opportunities will come along to do even more good! (P.S. Chelle does not expect her stylists to provide free services when a client visits with one of these gift cards. You need to bite the bullet and do it for a greater good!)

Some More Ideas

Chelle sticks by her advice to start small, but her salon has come up with some awesome ways to give back! If you’re ready to take your mission to the next level, you’re sure to find some inspiration from Chelle’s events!

Clothing Swap: Chelle shared with us that the first charity event that they ever sponsored was a clothing swap! Once a year, Chelle invites all their clients to her salon (and encourages her clients to invite friends!) for a clothing swap. Their event is three hours long, women bring clothes that they no longer wear or want, and everything is free! You take what you want and leave the rest. All the clothes that are left at the end of the evening are donated to SafePlace in Austin. SafePlace is a respected agency that provides support and housing for women and their children who have been affected by domestic violence. Of course, Urban Betty also accepts monetary donations at the event.

The clothing swap was Urban Betty’s first event, and they’ve done it for the last ten years! How awesome is that! Chelle notes that over half of the women who come to the event have never been to her salon before. Although she certainly does not put on the event for the business, there is a huge benefit to people knowing that her brand gives back to the community.

Betty Brunch: With a name as cute as Betty Brunch, who wouldn’t want to come to this event? Betty Brunch is—you guessed it—a brunch hosted at Urban Betty to support Austin Classical Guitar. This is quite the event, so get ready for lots of logistical details that are needed to make an event like this successful!

First, Chelle and her team go out to other vendors in town and ask for donations. For instance, Kendra Scott always donates a piece of jewelry—simply ask and you shall receive! Urban Betty also receives generous donations from several other local businesses including restaurants and stores. These items will all be used for a ticket raffle at the Betty Brunch. This is a great way to raise money for the charity of your choice!

Second, Chelle suggests getting about 25-50 swag bags ready. As a salon owner, you’re aware of all the free products that you receive during the year, so start gathering these for your swag bags! Other items that they gather include: samples, stylist station use only products, gift cards for the salon, free blowouts, branded koozies, etc. The ideas are endless! Then, Chelle announces that the first 25-50 guests at the Betty Brunch receive a free swag bag! This is a terrific way to get people in the door as soon as the event begins! People know that Urban Betty’s swag bags are pretty legit, so they are willing to stand in line for them!

For the brunch, Urban Betty buys donuts from Krispy Kreme because they provide a generous discount on their donuts if you’re using them for a charity event. Also, Urban Betty has a connection with a local coffee shop called High Brew Coffee, and they provide all the coffee at brunch. Of course, they set up with their swag and merchandise, so they also gain great exposure! Along with the coffee and donuts, Urban Betty supplies the mimosas! Chelle reminds our readers that “you’ve got to throw some alcohol at these folks!” How true is that!

Everyone who attends Betty Brunch is required to buy at least one ticket for $5, but of course many people buy more! The tickets are used for entries into the raffle, as well as the hair braiding and curl bar. This means that all of Chelle’s stylists are expected to volunteer at the event. For Chelle’s team, giving back is part of their culture, so she doesn’t have any problems with finding staff to volunteer their time.

The Betty Brunch is normally from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, and Chelle has 100-200 guests every year! The event is a lot of fun and a great way to raise money for Austin Classical Guitar.

Project Princess: Project Princess is a non-profit in Austin that provides prom dresses to local teenagers who cannot afford to buy a dress on their own. Many women, like Chelle, can relate to not having enough money for a high-end prom dress, so Project Princess helps make these dreams come true! Urban Betty is involved with Project Princess by being a permanent drop-off location. So, anyone in the community can drop off prom dresses or shoes at Urban Betty at any time of the year. Every couple of months, Project Princess will swing by and pick up the dresses that they’ve collected. Even if you don’t have the resources to pull off an event like the Betty Brunch, this shows that there are so many other small and powerful ways to give back!

Your Turn!   

Are you fired up about the endless ways you can give back to your community? Remember, Chelle encourages you to start small, and the opportunities, relationships, and benefits will start to snowball! To hear more about other ways you can get involved or learn more about the logistics of the Betty Brunch, be sure to listen to our interview with Chelle on Episode 117 of Beyond The Technique’s podcast. Don’t forget to connect with us on social media, and join our sister company’s private Facebook page!

Emily Kelly
How to Identify Your Deepest Weakness
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I recently heard Pastor Craig Groeschel, who produces a leadership podcast and is the pastor of LifeChurch.tv, say, “The place where you issue your harshest judgements often reveals your deepest weakness.”

When I heard this, it felt like a dart straight to my heart.

This quote got me, and it stuck with me. I’m going to be very transparent about this. Because I thought about that quote, and asked myself, “Where am I highly critical?”

Being critical is a pride issue. And I can tell you, it’s a big problem for me. My ego gets in the way of many things, and it’s something I need to work on. I want to give it up, so that it’s not a barrier between me and relationships with fantastic people.

One of the areas where I’m a huge critic is with my family and their nutritional choices. I believe deep down that the choices they’re making are irresponsible. They food they eat, isn’t technically food. If you look at any food item that you’re purchasing, beneath the nutritional label is always the list of ingredients. If you’re buying whole, fresh food, there’s only one ingredient and you’re looking at it. But if you’re not buying fresh food, then you have to look at those ingredients! And if a lot of them are completely unknown to you or you can’t even pronounce them, that’s because it’s not real food! So we’re putting these things into our bodies, and I believe that it’s poisoning us a little bit at a time, over and over.

And I understand that struggle; it can be addicting. And some of you may know my personal story, some may not. But I have struggled with food addiction from the age of five, and this is where that stems from.

So my reaction to my family, and their choices, and the way I treat them is very critical, condescending, and shaming.

When I heard Groeschel’s quote, I immediately knew that this was my personal issue. Because when you physically point a finger at someone, you have one of your fingers facing their direction, but you have three other fingers pointed straight back at you. And I used to be a food addict. It was my issue first, and that’s why I’m so hard on my family.

And at times, I still struggle with relapses. I now say that I’m in remission from food addiction, but there are times when I relapse. That struggle is real for me, and the relationship I have with food is sometimes very unhealthy. It’s like being in love with someone who pretends to love you back, but always hurts you.

The same goes for food and me. Depending on the food choices I make, I think that it loves me, and tastes and feels so good, but then I come down from the food high and realize that the negative effects from that were just awful. So I project my own issues with food onto my family and loved ones.

But really, you can’t change others. You can’t beat other people down and just expect them to have magic epiphany moments. You don’t have that kind of power. You won’t win anyone over that way. But loving them is one way to show them that in the midst of their struggles and choices that you may not agree with, you are still there to love them and be a resource for them. And after this realization, I posted this on Facebook: “As social media as my witness, I will no longer shame, torture, ridicule or condemn my family for the food choices they make.”

So my tip to you is to sit down and think about the places where you issue your harshest judgements, and what that reveals about places of weakness for you. Then take ownership, responsibility and accountability for those weak spots and work towards improving yourself and your relationships. Together, we will consistently grow and develop! 

Emily Kelly
Insider Tip to Improving Your Salon Business: Visit Another Salon!

Calling all Stylists: Get out and visit another salon! Let’s start by saying that we are not encouraging you to leave your working environment. Instead, we are encouraging you to visit another salon to experience what others are doing from start to finish. You’re constantly in your own salon environment, so it’s incredibly important to gain a fresh perspective, continue to innovate, and stay a leader in your market!


When choosing a salon to visit, we suggest choosing a salon that is one “level” above the salon that you own or work at. If you’re a high-end salon in a smaller market, consider visiting a high-end salon in a larger market with a fabulous reputation!

Once you’ve done some research and chosen a salon, we recommend booking a simple blowout or deep conditioning treatment—you want a fearless opportunity to experience this salon’s customer service and professionalism. When scheduling, you should observe if it’s easy  to book an appointment. Keep in mind that fantastic salons shouldn’t have availability instantly—you can expect them to be booked a couple weeks out. But do pay close attention to their customer service. Is the receptionist pleasurable to talk with and eager to assist you? Or, does it feel like you’re a burden in the middle of their day? Start keeping notes because you should be learning and reflecting on this experience!

After you’ve booked an appointment, your next step is to go in for your visit and note every step from start to finish. Here’s a list of questions to consider during the check-in process:

  • Were you greeted/acknowledged when you walked in?

  • Did they smile at you?

  • How did the receptionist make you feel?

  • Were you guided through every step in the check-in process? Or, did you feel lost and didn’t know where to sit or what to do?

  • Did you receive a new guest tour of the salon?

  • Did you fill out a new client intake form? If so, what was on it?

  • Were you offered a beverage? What were the options?

  • If you had a jacket, did they hang it for you?

  • If you needed to use the restroom, were you guided there or just pointed in the right direction?

Next up, you will meet the Stylist and receive the service that you booked—it’s always nice to be pampered! Here’s another list of questions to consider during your consultation and service:

  • When you met your Stylist, did she make eye contact and shake your hand? Or, did she instantly whisk you away to her station?

  • What was the consultation like? Was she anxious to bring you to the shampoo bowl and get started, or did she get to know you?

  • Was the service executed with professionalism, cleanliness, fantastic communication, and guidance?

  • Were you informed of the upkeep requirements?

  • When you received your shampoo, did it feel amazing? Or, did you feel like your Stylist was just going through the motions?

  • Were you prompted to receive other services like a haircut, eyebrow waxing, deep conditioning etc.?

Hopefully, you’ve had an amazing experience so far, but if not, you now have a list of things to NOT do at your salon. Once you’re ready for checkout, ask yourself these questions:

  • Was the check-out the first time that your Stylist brought up rebooking? Or, was it naturally interlaced during your service?

  • Were you offered retail? Were you educated about products during your service, or were they an afterthought?

  • Did the Stylist shake your hand and thank you for coming in?

  • Was the checkout process clear and easy? Was there clarity about gratuity?

  • After the visit, did you receive a follow-up email or new client survey? If so, what questions were asked?

  • Did you receive a phone call about your services? Who called—the receptionist or the Stylist?

  • Did you feel comfortable giving your honest feedback?

After reading through these questions, some of you may be feeling a little guilty because you haven’t been bringing your A-Game. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a comfortable position at your salon, so you’re giving up a little effort. What client would notice that your shampoo feels good instead of great? Stop right there! The client notices, and you will suffer for it. Right now, there is a Stylist who is making more money than you, has a higher title than you, who constantly invests in education, and is working her tail off to provide the best experience she can to every single client! Being successful means never missing a step!

Now that you’ve reviewed your notes and reflected on your experience, you can evaluate two things. First, you will notice what you’re doing well. This is a great opportunity to market things that sets your salon apart that you didn’t realize before—this is terrific!

Second, what do you need to improve on? Maybe you visited a phenomenal salon and were completely blown away with their professionalism. This is a great learning opportunity, so don’t shy away from it. We should all be dedicated to continuous improvement!

Do you want to share your experiences and ideas with other industry professionals? Join our sister company’s private Facebook group, and we will work together to build and empower one another!

Emily Kelly