Are You on Bangstyle Yet?

Well, are you? 

Bangstyle is your ultimate destination for hair inspiration. This digital platform brings the “art” back into our industry. Bangstyle provides professional stylists and the beauty obsessed with a place to feel at home. Follow trends, techniques and tutorials while sharing your passions and connecting with fellow artists--all in one place. 

Want to learn how? Whether you’re a professional beauty brand looking to get in front of industry professionals, or a stylist looking to showcase your work and grow your network, Bangstyle’s President, Ashlee Levitch, is here to give you the lowdown on how you can get involved.

Ashlee began her career in marketing and fashion only to make the switch into the beauty industry in 2008 when she first accepted the position as the President of Bangstyle’s House of Hair Inspiration. Since then, Ashlee has developed a space where beauty truly meets technology. She has developed this online platform to promote hair artist’s hard work, innovation and compassion and now she’s giving you the opportunity to get involved. 

What Is Bangstyle, You Ask?

Bangstyle was initially created so that stylists could share pictures of their work and basically build these amazing lookbooks where they could have all of their hair photos in one beautifully curated place.

Bangstyle was started just a few years before Instagram blew up--and it’s still the only photo-sharing platform dedicated to hairstylists--but boy has it blossomed into so much more.

Today, Bangstyle is a resource for hairstylists and beauty industry brands everywhere. In fact, it even has a large consumer base, who use it to sift through photos for their own hair-inspo before heading to the salon. 

Bangstyle produces all kinds of content, from blogs and articles, to specific brand features, to curated collections and beyond. It’s a one-stop-shop for all beauty industry professionals--so, what are you waiting for?

Want to Show Off Your Work? Stylists Welcome!

Are you a stylist or beauty guru? Do you want to show off your work and spread the love? You’ve come to the right place. 

Bangstyle was brought to life by a few incredible individuals who wanted to bring “art” back into this amazing industry. Ashlee reflects on their original mission centered around showcasing a stylists passion for their craft, which for many goes beyond the tradition cuts and colors being done in the salon. 

While babylights and balayages are artful in their own way, stylists and hair show artists are always creating these amazing avant-garde looks behind the scenes. While these might not be your run-of-the-mill salon styles, these artistic updos often grace runways and editorial shoots and absolutely deserve to have their praises sung--and thus, Bangstyle was born.

Today, Bangstyle is not only the perfect platform to post your own hair photos, but it’s an essential resource for connecting with other beauty industry professionals, brand ambassadors, hair educators--you name it. And, Bangstyle is always looking for content creators! If you’ve got an idea for a blog post, article or web series, submit away!

Creating a Bangstyle account is totally free and incredibly easy. All you have to do is sign-up and start sharing!

Have You Got Something Our Stylists Should See? Beauty Brands All Aboard!

Bangstyle is home to thousands of the industry’s best beauty brands, including cult favorites like Redken, Sam Villa and Keune, and they’re always looking to add more. Brands can create their own profiles on this digital platform, where they can share photos, product knowledge, post articles and even introduce team members and brand ambassadors. 

Ashlee attributes much of Bangstyle’s success to the level of investment from beauty industry brands everywhere. Without their support, consumers and stylists wouldn’t be quite as connected on the platform, these brands really bring everything full circle.

Ashlee is so proud of how far Bangstyle has come as far as brand promotion goes. Today, brands can create their own channels where they can publish content, post photos, articles and even upload videos to share with both stylists and general consumers alike.

If you’re looking for a unique way to showcase your brand and get in front of your ideal target audience, it’s time to create a Bangstyle account!

Want to learn more about the ever-so-inspirational Ashlee and Bangstyle’s roots? Listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 191. And don’t forget to create your Bangstyle account today! Happy surfing!

There’s No “I” in Team

Are you still running a commission-based salon?

You’re not alone—but know that you’re also not the only one considering making the switch to team-based pay.

Mark Gonzales, owner of Mark Pardo Salonspas, is all for team-based pay. Aside from being a five-location salon owner, Mark is also the CEO of the Aveda Institute in New Mexico, a member of Intercoiffure and the 2 to 10 Project and a certified business strategy coach.

Mark is so proud of the team he’s built at Mark Pardo. With five locations, their bond has never been stronger, and Mark says that camaraderie is due largely in part to his team-based compensation system.

There’s No “I” In Team

Mark Pardo salons started as commission-based salons, which is still perceived as the standard operating compensation in our industry. 

Mark ran his salons this way for years until he stumbled across an article that explained that any challenges you’re facing based on your operational systems often stem from the conditions within your salon. Commission-based compensation leads to an “all-about-me” mentality instead of fostering teamwork and a shared sense of creativity and support. 

Mark decided to do more research on team-based pay. He learned all about financial literacy and how team-based pay makes your employees more aware of how they can make a difference in their business--how they can contribute.

It’s All About Changing Your Mindset

People tend to perceive change as a negative experience. They view it as loss, something that comes with losing a perk or privilege they once had. 

Mark, on the other hand, has always seen change as an opportunity, and it was his leadership and influence that enabled him to convince his stylists of the positives that came with the switch to team-based pay.

As a stylist, choosing to work in a salon environment instead of renting your own booth already says something about how much you value having that community, that support system. Mark decided that it was time to remind his stylists of the bigger picture--that they belong to something bigger than themselves, they’re a part of a team of people dedicated to serving others and growing in their individual careers. 

Time to Level Up

Mark and his team incorporate tips as income. His new employees usually start out around $10 or $15 an hour depending on how well they’re performing within the salon and the system evolves from there.

There are five levels of stylists and your ability to move up depends entirely on your performance and your ability to hit or even exceed your benchmarks. These include stats like client retention rates, average product per service ticket, pre-booking rates, the cut-to-color ratio, etc. All of which contribute to a stylists ability to advance and earn more compensation.

In addition to this system, Mark instituted a bonus system within each individual level that allows them to make anywhere from $150 to $300 more every two weeks in order to keep the momentum going. 

Hourly All the Way

Although commission-based compensation was controllable, Mark never saw it as a motivator. With commission, there is a certain limit that salon owners simply can’t surpass while still maintaining a profitable business. So, your staff settles because they’re under the impression that they’ve reached the top and there’s no way for them to make more in the same number of hours.

Of course, payroll is the biggest cost in any business, so it still has to be controlled and maintained in a healthy way. But for Mark, this came easily with team-based pay. 

With this new compensation structure, Mark is able to make sure that his stylists are making a living, his salon business is, in fact, profitable, and he’s able to provide his team with the luxuries that make such a system sustainable, like health insurance, dental care, paid time off--you name it.

Three Is Easier Than Two

Mark can’t help but chuckle when he thinks about the old saying his mentor, Juut Salon Spas’ David Wagner, used to mutter. “Three is easier than two,” he would to say, suggesting that owning and operating three salon locations was actually easier than two, or even one for that matter.

For years Mark shrugged off this suggestion with a laugh, believing that in no way that more could ever be easier. Of course, eventually Mark opened location number three and realized he couldn’t have his hands in all of the action anymore. 

Instead, Mark found that he had to learn to let go and trust that his leaders could carry his brand without him just fine. Then, Mark was able to step into his larger responsibility, which was to coach and support leaders who would ultimately take care of his legacy and proudly begin to make their own. 

Now, Mark is the proud owner of five Mark Pardo Salonspas and he’ll tell you that it is, in fact, much easier to manage all five locations now than it was when he first opened location number one. Why? Because his employees truly care about the longevity of their brand and the success of their teammates--they’re all in it together. 

Want to learn more about Mark and his incredible group of Salonspas? Listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 190. Will you be at Intercoiffure this year? Direct Message us on social or shoot us an email and let us know, we’d love to meet you!

Easy to Manage Referral Programs for Salons

Are your guests excited to spread the great news about your salon to everyone they know? When they do, are they being thanked? 

If your goal is to begin a program that is easy to manage, you’re in luck! 

Salon Owner and Industry Expert, Kati Whitledge, shares how her staff at Be Inspired Salon works to capture guest referrals and how they thank them for their advocacy when those referrals come through.

In addition to hosting the beloved Beyond The Technique podcast, Kati is the owner of the award-winning Be Inspired Salon located in Madison, Wisconsin, and the creative brain behind Meet Your Stylist, an innovative salon software system that matches potential clients with salon professionals based on services, lifestyle preferences, and personality metrics. 

Kati is incredibly passionate about helping others in the industry develop their own success stories, and today she’s sharing her secrets for building an easy-to-manage referral program in order to help you capture those leads.

Capture Data with Client Intake Forms

An easy way to catch wind of a word-of-mouth referral is to ask every new guest how they heard about your salon. You can do this with your client intake form. 

At Be Inspired Salon, the client intake forms are digital. They made a non-public webpage that they have saved as an app on their iPads in the salon. When a guest visits for the first time, they give them the iPad and have them fill out their information. They include the question, “How did you hear about us?” Which prompts each guest to check all that apply.

The reasons they add the disclaimer, “please check all that apply”, is so that they can track their return on investment for all advertising platforms. This could include Google, Facebook, Instagram, Meet Your Stylist, a local magazine, radio, a partnering business, a friend, or other. When a guest selects “friend”, there is a drop down box which prompts them to fill in their friend’s name. 

Even if you’re not ready to go digital with your client intake forms, you can effectively apply these same principles in print.

Give the Gift of Added-Value

After you have an easy way to capture the names of guests who have referred you new guests, it’s so important to show your appreciation. 

That being said, Kati also stresses how important it is to make sure that how you choose to show your appreciation in turn adds value to their experiences at your salon. What she means by that is, you always want to give more, not offer them a lesser price. 

Many salons will promote offers such as, “Refer a friend and you’ll both receive 20% off your next visit”. But did you know that this devalues your services and products and in the mind of the buyer? It tells them that your services and products are actually worth less. 

Instead, Kati suggests that you use value-based propositions such as, “Every time you refer us a new guest, we will gift you with a $10 shopping pass to use at our salon!” In the verbiage alone, there is a huge difference in the value you’re offering.

Show Your Appreciation with a Hand-Written Thank You

Regardless of what value-added gift you give, consider a thank-you note as a touch point in your relationship. 

For example, at Be Inspired Salon Kati and her team sit down once per week with their list of guests who have given referrals. They write each guest a handwritten thank-you note and mail them out later that day. 

“Thank you” letters are a lost art and people love the special feeling of receiving a personal card in the mail. In the note, Kati and her team leave a simple message, such as, “Mary, thank you so much for referring Connie to us! We appreciate your advocacy and we appreciate you. Please enjoy this $10 shopping pass at your next visit!”

The lesson for today is if you employ a referral program, make sure it’s easy to manage so you never have to worry about dropping the ball. Add valuable gifts to show your appreciation, and think of a personalized way to thank each guest who is going out of their way to spread their love for your brand.

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 189, and if you’d like to learn a little bit more about our host, Kati, check out her website and don’t forget to subscribe to the Beyond The Technique podcast for more incredible industry insight.

Keeping Up in the New Era

The beauty industry is changing at a rapid pace. The question is, can you keep up?

Michael Cole, of Summit Salon Business Center, has been in the industry for over 30 years. He’s witnessed the many eras of our industry from the precision-cutting of the 70s, the rise of hair color in the 80s to the glamour shots of the 90s. However, nothing tops the digital-social era we’re living in today.

Our industry has become about so much more than cutting and coloring. Our stylists are providing new services, learning new techniques and perfecting their customer service skills. Our marketing and branding is out of this world. Our receptionists are out on the floor, engaging with clients, selling retail and building relationships along the way. Our salon owners and managers are learning all of the ins and outs of operating a business and as a whole we’re reaching new and incredible heights--and the view is great.

Michael refers to the revolution taking place as “disruption”. We’re being taken for a ride and we’re fighting to hold on, but to Michael, that’s part of the fun. Michael shares his secrets for keeping up with today’s technically savvy world and also how SSBC can help you reclaim your power. 

How to Handle Change as a High “S”

Are you familiar with the four DISC personality profiles?


Did you know that 80% of beauty industry professionals score a high “S”? This means that the majority of stylists, estheticians, massage therapists and make-up gurus are the steady, calm, supportive personality type. It also means that one of their biggest obstacles is typically change. 

So, with all of the changes currently sweeping our industry, how can all of these High S’s not only survive, but turly thrive in their careers?

Get on Your Instagram Game

Social media is one of the most powerful tools we have in our digital toolbox, and for the beauty industry, Instagram is at the top of the food chain. Michael says that he can tell how technically on-trend someone is by doing a five second driveby on their Instagram page. It doesn’t take long to see if you’re with it!

As a stylist, your Instagram serves as your digital lookbook. It’s the perfect place to showcase your latest cuts and colors and you can even pull up your own Instagram during consultations with new clients when communicating about what they’re looking to have done. Michael says you should always be photographing your highest ticket hairdos in order to draw in others who want the same services. 

That being said, not only is it important to have a trendy Instagram as a stylist in order to showcase your work, but Michael says you should also be taking advantage of your Instagram-savvy clients. 

You probably won’t have time to take pictures of all of your clients while you have them in the salon, so you should be strategic about the ones who do get that before and after photo-shoot. Michael suggests taking a peek at your client’s Instagram pages in order to see who has the most followers. Anyone with upwards of 200 followers is the perfect client influencer. You definitely want to be tagging them in the hopes that they might share their new do on their own pages too.

Salon Owners, It’s Time for Your Social-Digital Bootcamp

Okay, let’s go back to those DISC personality profiles. While most of our stylists are high S’s, our salon owners and managers tend to be high D’s. They’re controlling, competitive and they’re used to being in charge. All of which are characteristics of great leaders, but they also mean that salon owners and managers are more likely to struggle with today’s power structure because they no longer have full control. 

Once upon a time, the beauty industry power structure started with the manufacturer, moved down to the distributor, trickled down to the salon owner, then the stylist until it found its way into the hands of the client, but alas, that is no longer the case. 

Today, it’s often the younger stylists that are the most digitally savvy, and they also tend to have younger clientele which means more client influencers to do the marketing for them. Michael has salon owners come to him all of the time with complaints of feeling disempowered due to this new system and he says that it’s all about how you view your situation. 

You have to learn to channel that power in a new way. You have to learn social and digital skills in order to catch up to your most technically-savvy team members and then you can set guidelines for the way that your team is allowed to live and breathe your brand on social and take back some control. 

Things are changing in our industry whether you like it or not, Michael says you might as well embrace it or you’ll wind up chasing it later on. 

If you’d like to learn more about Michael and the new era we face, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 187. And don’t forget to check out Summit Salon Business Center, where you can find the best coaches and mentors around to help you tackle these changing times.

How to Be Both a Learner and a Leader

There’s a strong sense of responsibility that comes with being a leader but you also have to be open to learning new things and facing new challenges. Sometimes that means admitting that you aren’t always the most knowledgeable person in the room. 

Salon Owner and Industry Expert, Kellie Johnson, is no stranger to the struggle that comes with finding your place as a leader. Today, she’s here to share her advice on becoming the kind of leader you want to be.

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 her best advice for becoming a strong leader within your salon. 

Salon Owners, You’ve Got to Stay True to Yourself

Kellie has always been passionate about learning new things and building on her experiences in order to grow. She believes that being a good leader is about becoming the best version of yourself--somebody that you would look up to--and that takes time. 

For Kellie, her first three years in business were her most challenging. She struggled to find structure, she wanted to please everybody, and at the end of the day, she simply wasn’t putting her own needs first.

Now, Kellie looks back on those times and she’ll tell you that learned a lot along the way, but the most important lesson she took away from those early years is that you absolutely have to lead with love and you can never compromise on your own values. 

A True Leader Invests in Their Team

Kellie is a strong believer in the idea that salon ownership isn’t about making money, it’s about growing people. She makes it her mission to create as many opportunities for her team as she can with the hopes of building their confidence one step at a time.

At Elan, they do focus on technical skill training, but Kellie also brings in speakers and industry experts who can educate her team on personal development and build on the intrapersonal skills that are truly a testament to a stylist’s strength behind the chair.

Kellie believes that education and opportunities for growth are crucial in creating a positive salon culture. Kellie works hard to empower her team to take their career into their own hands, by building their confidence both in and outside of the salon.

You Can’t Go Getting Your Feelings Hurt

Kellie reflects on one of the hardest lessons she had to learn as a new salon owner, which was that you can’t take anything personally. Letting your emotions get in the way of your leadership is disruptive for the entire team.

Of course, in a creative industry like ours, we’re constantly surrounded by incredibly sensitive, emotionally intelligent individuals who sometimes let their feelings get the best of them, salon owners and leaders included. 

Kellie believes that as a salon owner, you have to remember that it isn’t about you. You have to be able to see past your own emotions and reactions in order to help your team grow, both personally and professionally. 

How to Stay on Top of It All

Being a leader comes with quite a bit of responsibility and responsibility requires discipline. Kellie manages her stress by practicing meditation. As a salon owner, it can be quite easy to get overwhelmed with all of the little things you need to get done during the week, the month, even the year. 

Kellie recommends starting your day with a solid 20 minutes of meditation to simply check in with yourself. Prep for your day and what you hope to accomplish in those 24 hours. Don’t get ahead of yourself, don’t start thinking about the next day or the week ahead, just focus on what you want to get done that day. 

Then, check in with yourself again in the evening. Reward yourself for your hard work and give yourself a pat on the back for everything you were able to check off of your list! 

Meditation is one of the healthiest forms of stress management out there and anybody can do it. For Kellie, it has completely changed the way she looks at her to-do list.

If you’d like to learn more about Kellie and her incredible journey in the beauty industry, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 186. Be sure to also check out our other Beyond The Technique blog featuring Kellie’s incredible industry insight, “Five Ways to “Wow” Your Clients and Improve Your Salon Experience.”

Why You Should Consider Implementing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan at Your Salon

Have you ever considered including an employee stock ownership plan in your salon’s business model? Well, it’s time to start!

Doug Cole, owner and founder of Cole’s Salon and self-proclaimed life-long learner, is here to teach you a thing or two about growing your business and giving back to the people who have helped you along the way. 

How to Know It’s Time to Grow

Doug is the proud owner of five beautiful salon locations with prospects of a sixth on the way, but he’ll tell you that he grew into each new location for exactly the same reason, it was simply time. 

He admits that he may have handled things differently than other entrepreneurs, because as soon as Doug ran out of space in one location, he eagerly opened another. After five years in his first salon, his team had outgrown their space and he quickly grew tired of turning down incredible talent. So, along came location number two, and well, you know the rest. 

Doug has such a heart for the people of Cole’s Salon, and he said it simply broke his heart not to bring people into their incredible community, especially as their reputation grew and so many young stylists were showing interest in his brand. 

Not Just Bigger, but Better

Of course, there are other areas you must grow in in order to have five successful salon locations. Doug and his team always focus on getting better before getting bigger

Doug struggles with dyslexia, and for years he avoided any kind of learning that would pose a challenge for him due to his disability. He worked hard, and he was an incredible kinesthetic learner, but for several years of his life he was afraid of putting in the extra effort required to tackle the things that challenged him the most, like reading and writing. 

At 26, Doug decided he had had enough and he wasn’t willing to let his disability hold him back any further. He found a mentor who challenged him to do an hour of learning per day, a habit that he’s carried into his 70s because it fills his mind with different ideas and possibilities for the future.

Doug’s commitment to learning is built into the culture at Cole’s Salon. His entire 375 person team is comprised of passionate individuals who are excited to climb their way to the tops of their careers—and the view just keeps getting better. 

Giving Back and Building Loyalty

After 15 years in business, Doug realized that so many of his best people had been with him since the beginning. His stylists grew with him and his brand, his managers had taken over their own salon locations, his front desk employees grew into leadership positions and for the most part, his best people stuck around. 

Doug’s employee retention rates were practically unheard of and he wanted to find a way to give back to everyone who helped shape his brand. Doug sat down with his tax attorney and they came up with the idea of implementing an employee stock ownership plan for all of the people of Cole’s Salon.

Another 30 years later, Doug proudly maintains 70% ownership of Cole’s Salon, and the other 30% is in the hands of his trusted team of employees. The tax breaks are pretty sweet and the Cole’s Salon brand has never been stronger. Doug’s employees are so proud to have part ownership of their company. Their loyalty runs deep and the brand continues to grow even bigger every day. 

Of course, with such a big appetite for education, Doug believes that the best is yet to come. He’s got so much more to learn, and he can’t wait to share in the abundance, there’s always enough to go around!

Want to learn more about Doug and his inspiring salon business model? Listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 185. And be sure to check out Cole’s Salon for more details on their incredible salon culture.

The Trick to Growing Your Tribe

Starting your own salon isn’t easy, and growing your team is no small task either, but it’s perhaps the most important step in expanding. Besides, as a new salon owner, you’ve got nowhere to go but up.

Adam Broderick is no stranger to the struggles of starting your own salon. We introduced you to Adam on the Beyond The Technique podcast, but if you missed his previous interviews, we’ll give you a quick recap: Adam is the owner of the renowned Adam Broderick Salon and Spa with two locations in Connecticut.

Adam took a unique route into the industry. He actually started his career as an animal groomer and eventually decided to take on the challenge of human clients. Amongst other things, Adam is also a motivational speaker and business consultant to other salon owners. He is quite the entrepreneur and he’s one of the industry’s most respected figures.  

Adam walks us through how he started his own pet grooming business before the age of twenty, how this incredibly unique career choice ultimately led him to the beauty industry, and how he eventually opened his own salon and built up his business in order to become one of the great successes of our time.

Growth Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Like all good things, growing your tribe takes time. Sometimes it takes a long time, but when you find those people who just fit, you’ll know it was worth the wait.

With two salon locations, Adam employs over 200 people. You might be wondering how he found so many people who fit his brand so perfectly, he says he simply took it one coworker at a time.

How Do Your Hire That Many People?

The next question you might be asking is how does Adam have enough hours for his 200 some employees? Well, for Adam, this is kind of his secret sauce. Before starting his own salon he worked on 5th Avenue with what he says were some of the greatest stylists he’s ever known, and he recalls how difficult it was to get in with them. 

Sometimes clients would have to wait two or three weeks before they were able to get an appointment and Adam decided that he wanted to give his clients more availability and access. Adam believes that level of accessibility is the new luxury. So, over the years he built up a team with more stylists than he had chairs and moved his team into split shifts. 

With his employees only working half of the day each day, he was able to extend his hours. He opens his salon up at 7:30am sharp and keeps his doors open until 10:00pm so that everyone can get in no matter their schedule.

Hiring New Talent Is One Thing, Keeping Them Is Another

Adam is proud to say that he has many stylists on his team who have been with him for 10, 15, even 20 years. While Adam believes that the longevity of a stylist is variable based on work environment and lifestyle preferences, he says that when he does experience turnover, it usually happens within the first six months to a year of their start date. 

Adam and his team always aim to create a really strong culture. He says that although they’re always growing and changing, his team strives to maintain a safe and accepting work environment. He wants Adam Broderick Salon to be a safe and dynamic place to work, and he works hard to give all of his stylists the career path they’re looking for. 

Adam loves this industry and he’s so proud of his team and how far they’ve come. Adam says the key to becoming a successful salon owner and growing your team is ultimately to give yourself permission to work differently. Don’t be afraid to change the industry for the better.

If you’d like to learn more about Adam and his incredible journey in the beauty industry including how he has managed to grow his salon, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 184. And don’t forget to check out his salon website to follow his movement on his own industry blog,Insights from Adam.

You Must Meet the Millers

With the rise of the internet and ease of online shopping it can feel like retailers and manufacturers are losing interest in the salon world. But there’s still one thing that these industrial e-commerce businesses simply can’t offer—and that’s the in-store shopping experience.

Salon owners Scott and Helen Miller of Scott Miller Salons aren’t afraid of the internet. They don’t even flinch when you mention any of the major e-commerce giants like Amazon because they know how to leverage that incredibly special in-person experience—something the Amazons of the world will simply never be able to replicate.

In fact, the Scott Miller Flagship Salon in Rochester, New York is one of the most impressive modern brick and mortar retailers across all industries. Their salon spa is spread across 15,000 square feet with an entire section dedicated to retail alone. Their fully-stocked retail store features some big-name brands including Bobbi Brown, NARS, L’Oreal, and MAC. For many of these brands, Scott Miller is the first and only salon retailer selling their products.

Scott and Helen are here to walk you through their incredible business model and hopefully encourage you to get back on your retail game.

Let’s Go Back to the Beginning

Scott and Helen were destined to be together from the beginning. Two of Helen’s best friends moved to Florida where they met Scott and well, the rest is history!

Scott and Helen did the long-distance thing for about a year before he decided to move to Brooklyn. Scott had actually grown up in Rochester, and after working behind the chair in a couple of salons throughout New York City while Helen finished up her economics degree, the pair decided to get married and move back to Rochester to start a family.

A year later, the newlyweds decided it was time to open their own salon and thus, the Scott Miller brand was born.

So, Why the Major Focus on Retail?

Scott and Helen had been chasing major beauty brands since they first opened with the hopes of nailing down the big names like MAC and Estee Lauder. These brands weren’t being sold in the salon environment yet, and the Millers saw this as an opportunity to elevate their in-salon experience.

These reputable brands had such a palpable strength and power behind them and Scott and Helen really wanted to bring that same energy to their salons. Having this amazing retail experience was simply another point of difference for the Scott Miller salons.

How Many Service Providers Does It Take to Run a Scott Miller Salon and Spa?

With both locations combined, the Scott Miller brand is made up of 140 amazing industry professionals, from hairstylists to massage therapists, estheticians, make-up artists and retail sales associates.

Scott and Helen really wanted the retail experience to feel like its own component within their salon and spa. Instead of having their service providers walk their clients through the store with the hopes of adding a lipstick to their shopping cart before check-out, they decided to bring on reputable make-up artists that work exclusively within the retail sector.

The Millers have always been passionate about education and their attention to details doesn’t waver when it comes to their in-salon beauty shop. They’re always hosting educational events with nationally known artists and inviting their brand reps to come and speak about their latest product releases.

Scott believes this level of education is not only important for perfecting their artistry, but it also helps his staff become better salespeople. The more you know about the products that you’re working with, the more you’re going to sell.

You’ve Got to Leverage Your Relationships to Land the Big-Name Brands

Scott and Helen are so humble when it comes to their success in the salon world. They credit their incredible business model to the many wonderful relationships they’ve been able to leverage throughout the years, starting with Michael Gordon of Bumble and Bumble.

Michael was incredibly connected, he introduced Scott and Helen to just about everybody they’re doing business with today. Scott says you really just have to land that one big brand before all of the others grow eager to sit on your shelves.

Of course, persistence is key. It took Scott and Helen ten years to land the MAC account. They were very tenacious with that relationship, and now they’re the only salon with a fully-stocked MAC store. You just have to take it one brand at a time.

What’s Next for the Millers?

Scott and Helen are always looking for ways to take their retail experience to the next level. The next major project they’re bringing to the table is the addition of their very own “glambassadors,” beauty brand ambassadors that work exclusively under the Scott Miller umbrella.

This idea actually came from one of Scott Miller’s senior make-up artists, Corey, who was inspired by the other social media influencers out there with impressively large followings. Although the Millers want to focus more on micro-influencers, for the Scott Miller brand, this is an opportunity to have a foothold in the local beauty community and they couldn’t be more excited for the future of the program.

Scott and Helen admit that it can be intimidating to face an industry that is changing so rapidly, especially with regard to retail and how consumers are choosing to shop. But instead of falling victim to these changing times, the Millers were determined to look toward the future of the industry and not only find a way to fit into the equation but to thrive.

If you’d like to learn more about the Millers and her incredibly impressive business model, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 183. And if you haven’t already, check out their salon website to get a feel for their powerful branding.

Samantha Georgson
How to Get the Feedback You Really Want

Everyone needs feedback in order to learn and grow, both personally and professionally, but sometimes it can be hard to ask for feedback. Perhaps it’s that we’re not asking the right questions. Maybe it’s that we’re really not as open to receiving feedback as we make ourselves out to be. 

There are so many factors at play when it comes to getting the feedback that you’re looking for, or maybe the problem is that you’re not actually looking. 

Whatever the case may be, it can be difficult to pinpoint what’s standing in the way. Business Coach and Keynote Speaker Jay Williams is here today to share his favorite tips and tricks for getting the feedback that you deserve. 

If you aren’t already familiar, Jay is the author of the book, Leave Your Mark, which focuses on leadership and influence in the salon industry. Jay works directly with salon owners and beauty industry professionals to help them see the connection between emotional intelligence and the technical skills needed in order for them to thrive in their field.

Jay is passionate about the power of feedback, both positive and constructive, and today he shares his advice for both giving and getting the feedback you’ve been waiting for.

Why Is Getting Solid Feedback Such a Struggle?

While there could be many things standing in the way of your growth, getting the right feedback is crucial to your success. It’s called constructive criticism for a reason--it’s supposed to push you to be better, not keep you from chasing your dreams. 

So, why is getting the right feedback so tricky? Jay shares the top three things keeping us from asking for and embracing the feedback that we so desperately need to succeed. 

Receiving Feedback Can Be Scary

The first reason some people struggle to get solid feedback is that they’re afraid of what they might hear. This fear stems from anxiety around whether or not the feedback will be positive. Of course, we always hope it will be, but we also know that we have certain areas of improvement--are we ready to talk about them?

Sometimes We Don’t Think We Need It

The second reason people aren’t seeking out solid feedback is because they don’t think they need it. 

It can be difficult for some people to see past their own parameters and find room to grow. We are inherently narcissistic and we often have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that we might actually benefit from a little constructive criticism once in a while.

Other Times, It Simply Doesn’t Cross Our Minds

The third reason someone might not be getting the feedback they really want is because they simply don’t know what they’re looking for. 

Sometimes we can chalk it up to the fact that the need for feedback hasn’t exactly crossed our minds. We don’t know what we don’t know, and so we haven’t thought to ask.

How Often Should You Be Offering Feedback?

As salon owners and managers, we often schedule out the times and dates we plan to deliver feedback to our teams--yes, I’m talking about reviews. But is this the only time we should be offering advice or praising our people?

It’s human nature to want to know where you stand at all times. That basic need feeds into emotional intelligence and the need to feel grounded. So, essentially, you should be sharing feedback every time the opportunity presents itself.

If we go back to those reviews, whether you choose to sit down with your team weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually, the review should ultimately be a confirmation of what you’ve been sharing with your team all year long.

Jay says that if you’re able to share feedback with your team members on a daily basis, whether that be positive, negative, or constructive, nothing is going to come as a surprise come review day and thus there’s nothing to be anxious about. That’s how you tackle that initial fear.

It’s also important to remember that while “reviews” are often tied to monetary goals or incremental values, feedback can take many forms and shouldn’t always be tied directly to profit performance. Instead, “feedback” should simply be a part of your daily communication. Keep it constructive and don’t forget to sprinkle in a little positive affirmation once in a while. 

As Leaders, What Should We Be Giving Feedback On?

Do we only want to be offering advice specific to the technical aspects of things? Should we take our feedback beyond the technique

According to Jay, there are opportunities in both areas. The biggest benefit to giving feedback more frequently, whether it be related to those technical components or more in line with your general business values, is that it allows for real-time course correction. 

You can solicit feedback without following a specific format, but remember that the goal is always to improve performance. So, it’s important that no matter the tone of your feedback or the subject of your solicitation, you always make your intentions known. Not only does this help build trust between both parties, but it also eases the tension around accepting feedback in the first place.

What Are the Most Basic Dos and Don’ts of Soliciting Feedback?

Do say: “I want you to be successful.”

Don’t say: “You’re not meeting my expectations.”

Do say: “I want to give you some constructive feedback.” 

Don’t say: “Let me tell you what you’re doing wrong.”

Do say: “I want to help you.”

Don’t say: “Don’t be defensive.”

Giving feedback is a skill, and much like cutting or coloring hair, the more you practice, the better you’ll become. Ultimately, if you want to improve someone’s performance, you’ve got to improve their thinking. 

And remember, when you praise, do it publicly. When you go about perfecting your communication and the experience with your people, do so in private. 

If you’d like to learn more about giving and getting feedback, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 182. Want to learn more about emotional intelligence? Check out our blog on why our EQ matters more than our IQ

Are you ready to leave your mark on the industry? It’s time to grab Jay’s book and get down to business!

The Beginnings of Oribe

It requires both incredible discipline and dedication to create and continuously build a brand. 

We’re going to learn a thing or two about building your own brand from the ground up from Daniel Kaner, the President and Co-Founder of the incredibly successful luxury hair brand, Oribe

Daniel graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. It was his wife, Sonia Kashuk, a recognized name in beauty with her own makeup line sold in Target, who introduced Daniel to Aveda’s founder, Horst Rechelbacher, and drew him into the industry. Years later, after working with Aveda and moving into a leadership position with Bumble and Bumble, Daniel saw an opportunity in the prestige segment of professional haircare and seized the opening by creating a brand that offers a unique, best in class perspective. 

As a brand leader, Daniel is Involved in every aspect of the brand from product development to package design to sales and marketing. He’s a passionate brand builder who maintains close relationships with his top clients and suppliers. He acts as a mentor to his team and he is the culture keeper at the Oribe offices. Learn more about how Daniel started his own beauty brand and took luxury haircare to the next level. 

It’s All About Who You Know

Like most industries, your connections shape your success. In beauty, it’s all about who you know. And while Daniel had certainly built his own valuable network throughout his years at Aveda and Bumble and Bumble, his wife, Sonia, was always introducing him to the biggest names in the industry, including the infamous Oribe Cannales. 

Sonia and Oribe had worked on many editorial styling projects together over the years. She would do the makeup and Oribe would be in charge of styling the hair. Sonia always believed that Oribe was a brand waiting to happen. 

Oribe was a big name in fashion, he styled hair in such a way that it became just as much of a talking point as the clothing itself. His creative timeline is really quite impressive. He’s responsible for many firsts in the fashion industry. He is credited with introducing the wig to American fashion and he was the first American session artist to work on European editorial shoots. 

Daniel and his business partner, Tevya Finger, found the perfect collaborator in Oribe. Back in 2008, all beauty categories had good, better, and best categories with the exception of haircare. Daniel and Tevya wanted to fill the void by creating something luxury, quality and boutique, and who better to partner with than the top editorial stylist, Oribe Canales. 

As A Leader, How Do You Decide What to Focus On?

Daniel is so involved in every aspect of his brand and the business that each day looks very different from the next. We’re often taught that as entrepreneurs, we have to have this sort of laser focus in order to grow our businesses or develop our leadership skills, but for Daniel, it’s more important to be a part of the fun.

At Oribe, Daniel and his team have such a collaborative management style that regardless of “official” title, everyone is involved in just about everything. Daniel sits in on meetings with his product development team, his marketing team, you name it. Daniel is always trying to listen more and allow other voices on his team to grow. Sometimes he can’t help but share his own insights, of course, this simply speaks to his passion for his brand at every level of business. 

There’s a delicate balance between practicing, managing, coaching and developing and Daniel often finds himself right in the thick of it all, but honestly—that’s how he likes it. 

Always Be Thinking About How to Attract Your Dream Client

As a brand owner and ambassador, you should always keep your dream clients top of mind. Oribe is sold in salons, select pharmacies and in upscale department stores out on the beauty floor (think Neiman Marcus). Oribe is very selective about which associates they have selling their products because they want the in-store experience to speak to their brand.

Of course, Oribe’s focus is ultimately in the salon world. For Daniel and his partners, the perfect Oribe salon would be one that has a strong culture made up of the most passionate people. They’re always looking to get into salons with good leadership that really value education, growth and development in much the same way as Oribe. 

Oribe does gravitate toward high end salons with a craftsman-like cutting and coloring style. They work with some of the best salons throughout the U.S. and abroad, and Daniel could tell you a number of the salon owners names because that’s how tied to his brand he really is.

Daniel is a true visionary. With the help of his team, Daniel has grown his brand from the ground up without ever losing sight of it’s true potential. As Daniel says, you don’t have to be famous to set a standard for the people that you work with or the customers that you care for. It’s in your heart and in your head--it’s your brand. 

If you’d like to learn more about Daniel’s incredible journey in the beauty industry, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 181. Don’t forget to check out the Oribe website to see what all the hype is about!

Samantha Georgson
The Rules for Running a Profitable Business

The queens of business consulting, Keri Davis and Karla Lopez-Martinez from Beauty Backbone, are here to share their secrets for setting up systems that will allow you to lead a more profitable salon. 

We introduced you to Keri and Karla on the Beyond The Technique podcast, but if you missed their previous interviews, we’ll give you a quick recap: Keri is the owner and founder of the repute Gila Rut Salon group in Southern California where Karla actually began her journey as an assistant. Karla quickly moved up the ranks at Gila Rut to eventually become the co-owner of their second location. 

With the help of Gila Rut’s educational director, Jonatan Rizo, Keri and Karla founded Beauty Backbone, a digital education platform for owners by owners. Beauty Backbone teaches salon owners the secrets to educating, directing operations, managing finances, and instilling leadership skills in your team. Keri and Karla have had years of experience in perfecting their profitability, and now they’re here to help you do the same. 

First Thing’s First: Why Is Being Profitable Important?

Did you know that the industry average is as low as 3%? We can do so much better if we just aim higher and really crunch our numbers.

At Gila Rut, Keri and Karla are always chasing 10% profitability. For them, it starts with having systems in place that can support that profitable goal. You have to budget and actually stick to your plan. How? Accountability.

Educate your team. Make sure everyone understands why you make the decisions you do when it comes to expenses. The transparency will help your entire team stay on track.

Why Is It So Hard for Salons to Earn a Solid Profit?

When Keri opened her first salon, she realized that she had no idea how to read a P and L, or profit and loss statement. Of course, she was swept away by all of the other tasks that come with managing a team while still doing hair behind the chair and it was difficult for her to find the time to go back to teach herself something new.

To this day Keri wishes that she had been better about planning ahead and really understood the value in knowing what was coming in as revenue and what’s going out as an expense. That’s what helps you make decisions and run a good business.

Want to Earn a Higher Profitability? Look at the Whole Picture.

Keri and Karla have been serving as consultants for other salon owners all over and the first thing they do when starting a session with a new salon owner is dive into their P and L from start to finish because every number tells a story.

Once you’ve pulled the numbers, it’s time to dive in. Where are you with your retail per client ticket? How are your retention rates? How about pre-booking?

Work to understand what’s driving sales and figure out where you stand in relation to the industry’s benchmarks for success.

You’ve Got to Keep Your Payroll in Check

Payroll is the biggest expense that salon owners have. Keri believes that payroll, not including taxes, should not exceed 45% of service sales.

It’s the biggest expense and it takes the longest to adjust because you can’t just go in and kill off your front line or decrease everybody’s pay. Like any adjustment, there is a process to lowering these numbers and achieving a higher profitability. You have to take that number down while maintaining the people that you have and brining new people on at a lower rate.

Right off the bat, you want to be looking at your front desk payroll. If you have a manager on duty it should exceed no more than 8% of your total sales. If there’s no manager on duty it shouldn’t go above 6%.

Keri and Karla give their managers a spreadsheet that lists the specific number of hours allocated for front desk payroll, for assistants, and so on.

A Great Way to Raise Profitability Is to Focus on Add-ons

At first, raising your total dollars per day sounds pretty difficult. You’re still working with the same number of hours. You can’t fit in any additional clients, especially if your schedule is already consistently double-booked. How much more can you do?

The trick is to think about the additional services you can provide without adding any extra time. Have a client in the shampoo bowls? Add a glaze and give them a brow wax. Doing a men’s cut? Tack on a beard trim.

As Keri says, you don’t always have control over how many clients come in, but you do have control over your offerings, so ramp up the add-ons!

What Happens After You Reach Your Profitability Goal?

Keri reminds us that there are two components to your profitability percentage. One being your actual profit and the other being cash flow. It can’t go all in your pocket because you need a kind of safety net, a buffer.

How you pay yourself as a salon owner should also depend on your role at the salon. If you’re still behind the chair it’s going to look much different than if you’re strictly serving as the owner and handling operations. Regardless, you basically have to build yourself a realistic salary based on your breakeven number. If you wait to pay yourself, you’ll never see the money.

At the end of the day, if you want to reach your business goals, you have to write down where you want to go and how you plan to get there.

If you’d like to learn more about increasing your profitability, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 178, and don’t forget to check out Keri and Karla’s digital platform, Beauty Backbone, for the ultimate in-depth guide to taking your business to the next level.

Samantha Georgson
Must Know Color Myths

As colorists, we’re always experimenting, and sometimes our tests don’t produce the results we were expecting. Of course, every canvas is different, but knowing your boundaries is a great place to start.

Goldwell Colorist and Salon Owner Robert Brown takes us through some of the most common hair color myths, separating the truth from the lies in order to empower us to become the best colorists we can be. Robert is the founder of Hairobért Salons in Memphis, Tennessee and he has been using Goldwell since the 1980s. Robert is passionate about sharing his knowledge with colorists all over the world in order to help them produce even better results. So, who better to speak about the many myths of coloring than the man himself, Robert Brown!

Myth: You’ll Get Better Results When Coloring Dirty Hair

Robert takes us back to the days of those incredibly bright blondes of the 50s and 60s—think Marilyn Monroe and Kim Novak—to educate us on just how this myth came about. Although applying color to dirty hair has never been better in terms of results, back then it probably did subdue the irritation from the harsh chemicals they were using to achieve those infamous blondes. 

Robert says that the color treatments they were using were so high in pH that having a little oil and sebum built up before your appointment was probably the only thing keeping your scalp from legitimately suffering from first-degree burns during treatment.  

Nowadays, nobody is using those unorthodox methods and everything is carefully crafted with such gentle ingredients that few people ever experience irritation. In fact, today we have to be mindful of how much oil we’re adding to the hair when we use pomades or other oily products prior to coloring because they can actually act like a blocking agent and the color can have a hard time penetrating that greasy barrier.

Myth: You Shouldn’t Shampoo So Soon

Robert reminds us that hair color can either be on the hair or in the hair. If you haven’t the color in the hair so that it could really anchor itself to each strand and develop as it’s supposed to, there’s a chance that what you’re seeing prior to the shampoo is really just existing superfluously on the surface and it will wash out.

Peroxides and developers tend to stay active in the hair for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after removal unless we use another agent to shut them down entirely. If the processing is done correctly and you’ve followed through to the finish, really locking the color in with a serum, shampooing later that day or waiting a week shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Myth: You Need to Use Heat When Processing Hair Color

Sure, heat speeds up all chemical reactions, but with chemistry, everything is a trade. Robert says that if you speed something up on one end of the equation, you sacrifice something on the other side, which in this case could be damage to the hair or irritation of the skin.  

During his time with Goldwell, Robert has never endorsed using external heat for color applications with the exception of Lumen hair color, which is totally non-oxidative. If he really thinks the hair structure is too healthy to take to the color he reaches for a more aggressive product with more alkalinity over the hood dryer.

Myth: Semi and Demi-Permanent Hair Dye Doesn’t Last As Long

Years ago, someone must have decided that “permanent” hair dye sounded so negative that everybody just started doing semi and demi-permanent hair color, but do you our clients really know the difference?

The difference is what the hair has to endure. Permanent hair color doesn’t mean that the shade is going to last forever. It means that the structure of the hair has been permanently changed or altered in such a way that it will never return to its natural state. With permanent hair color, you’re disturbing the core color. You have diffused the natural pigments in order to make room for the synthetic, they trade places.  

Semi and demi-permanent hair color typically insinuate that they don’t mess with the core color, they sit on top of it. Essentially, semi and demi-permanent hair color treatments just add another layer on top of the existing color. They tint the hair, or stain it, basically, conditioning the hair into a color direction without actually disturbing the core.

The word “permanent” doesn’t refer to how long the color lasts whatsoever, so when discussing the two stylists can get kind of trapped. Robert’s favorite example is the teenage client going through a “goth” phase. You don’t want to die their hair permanently black—their mom will kill you! So instead you reach for a semi-permanent black dye, which winds up being much harder to remove. The chains of oxidative chemicals in the permanent black die would have been much easier to break up. Robert says that the word “permanent” in this context is really a misnomer.

Myth: Ammonia Based Products Are Bad for the Hair

Robert acknowledges that today’s modern millennial clients are really looking for the ultimate healthy haircare which lends itself to the idea that ammonia based dyes are bad for the health of the hair.

The truth is, ammonia occurs quite naturally, and today most products contain very little ammonia anyway, so it’s not necessarily the ammonia causing the alkaline environment to begin with. You’ll notice that ammonia-free products don’t say alkaline-free. It’s the level of alkalinity that makes the hair angry, ammonia’s not the bad guy.

At the end of the day, whether you’re using ammonia based products or not, you’re going to damage the hair, but it’s all about balance. You should always be restoring the cuticle with nourishing products and oils after you’ve done your business.

Myth: If a Client Brings in a Photo You Should Be Able to Replicate It

Every canvas is different. So, while it’s nice to have a photo as a physical example of what the client is looking to have done, it’s okay to be frank with them about whether or not the look is actually achievable.

Robert explains that on top of all of the filters and Photoshop edits, a client’s perception of the actual color story within the look is also often skewed. Heck, sometimes the client is even bringing in a photo of a lace-front wig!

Robert’s favorite thing to do in these scenarios is to pull the shades he sees in the photo and then take his own pictures, one using flash and one without, just to show the client the difference that lighting makes before carrying on. It’s not their job to be an expert on hair color, it’s yours, so you’ve got to give it to them straight.   

Oh, and when in doubt—test strand!

Myth: Developers Are for Speeding Up the Process

We’re always trying to get as many clients in as we can and we’re trying to do these more extensive, more laborious techniques on the hair so we try to make up the difference by getting a higher developer in play, thinking it will speed up the process.

Robert says the better way to think of developer when concocting a formula is to think of it as the heat source. 10 Volume is like a simmer, 20 is cook, 30 is roast and 40 Volume is broil. You rarely need to use the broiler, right?  

Robert compares using 10 or 40 Volume developer to the rabbit and the hare—slow and steady wins the race. 10 can actually get you a brighter blonde if you have the time because it does a more thorough job.

Robert’s Favorite Myth: Metallics Are Easy to Achieve

Those metallic silver and gray tones are still some of our most popular requests, but they’re some of the most difficult color services to perform. At the end of the day, the trick to achieving those ultra-cool tones is adding stress to the hair to really make it stick.

Robert will tell you that what you really need to achieve these silvers and grays and still give the hair some durability is to come in with a permanent hair color that lives inside of the core of the hair to establish that initial gray or silver hue from within. Then, you can use those beautiful semi and demi-permanent hair dyes on the outside to give it that metallic finish.  

Of course, there are so many other hair color myths that we could dive into, but these are just a few of the prevailing myths of the times and we’re so grateful to have Robert to help us separate the truth from the lies. 

In Roberts words, knowing what you can and can't do is what gives you wings for what you could see in your mind—and that’s the fun part.

If you’d like to learn more about Robert and his passion for mixing formula and adding those finishing touches, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 179. And don’t forget to check out her incredible Hairobért in Memphis, where the magic happens.

Samantha Georgson
Less is Definitely More

We have convinced ourselves that the only way to get where we want to be is by working twelve hours a day, six days a week, but do we really need to sacrifice our work-life balance for the sake of financial freedom? 

Salon Owner and renown Hair Dresser, Ashley Toliver-Williams, will tell you no. Volume is no-longer the only marker of our success in this industry. Ashley is the owner of Fringe Salon and Color Bar in Houston, Texas and the National Chairman of the business team at Eufora International. Ashley is determined to inspire change and increased professionalism in the beauty industry.

When you get down to the basics of simple business behaviors, Ashley believes that there are so many opportunities to maximize our efforts with the clients we already have coming to us over the course of say, only three or four days a week, while still making great money. She devotes her time and energy to helping others in the industry create both the career and the life they want and today, she’s spilling all of her “less is more” lifestyle secrets. 

We’re More Than Just Hairdressers

In this industry, stylists do so much more than just hair. They’re skilled in chemistry, geometry, and biology. They know how to mix color formula, they can map out each and every different head shape, and they know to use products that will enhance the natural hair texture or relieve even the most sensitive of skin types.  

Today, stylists are the experts, they educate their clients on what haircut will look best with their face shape, what hair color will best compliment their skin tone, and what products they need to maintain their looks at home. They can fix a client’s dry scalp, offer solutions for their thinning hair, or recommend products that will bring the life back to their client’s dry, kinky curls.

So, why aren’t they living the luxurious lives that the experts in other industries are? Why aren’t they living like the doctors, the surgeons, or the accountants? Whether a stylist is simply looking to spend less time behind the chair or make even more money per client at each appointment, it’s time for the stylist to get back in control of their own career.  

Be Transparent With Your Guests

Over the years we’ve convinced our stylists that the only way they’ll make big bucks behind the chair is by opening up their schedules on Saturdays and working until 9:00pm every night.

We’ve also engrained in our clients that it’s acceptable to purchase shampoo and conditioner from the drug store or their local grocer.

Ashley acknowledges that it can be a challenge to change the relationship after establishing a routine with a client, especially for those that you’ve been seeing for a long time, but it’s so worth it. If your stylists are looking to up their financial freedom or take some of their time back, they had better maximize the time they do spend behind the chair and take control of the relationships they have with their clients.

Whether it’s a conversation about pre-booking or purchasing product, Ashley says you simply have to be transparent and forthcoming with your guests.

You might explain that you’re reducing your hours to spend more time with your kids and mention that your schedule is starting to book out further as you continue to take new clients. A simple segue into pre-booking, you might even be able to take a look at your schedule together while you have them in the chair. Then you could ask about your client’s at-home color maintenance routine and recommend some products that will help them prolong their highlight until that next appointment.  

In Turn, This Newfound Freedom Heightens Commitment

Providing your stylists with the roadmap to their own financial freedom along with the tools necessary to take control of their careers is the greatest gift you can give your team. And in return, they’ll be that much more committed to the work that they do because it’s all a part of their future growth.  

If you’d like to learn more about Ashley and her “less is more” mindset, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 177. And don’t forget to check out her incredible Fringe Salon in Houston, where she raises her team to reach for the stars.

Be Aware of These Six Business Essentials

As salon owners and managers, you know that running a beauty industry business is no small task. You have to be on top of your game, both personally and professionally, in order to be the best in the business and it can be hard to know what to focus on in the moment.  

As the President of the Salon Summit Business Center and the owner of nineteen full service salons, two medspas and his own training facility, Peter Mahoney brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the beauty industry.  

Peter’s down to earth, pragmatic approach combined with his ability of transforming potential into reality has gained him a reputation as one of the most effective trainers in the salon industry and today he is here to share his six business essentials for improving the quality of life within the salon industry. 

Health, Wealth and Happiness

Time is Valuable

Peter is passionate about keeping his work-life balance in check. He prides himself on his ability to remain both focused and upbeat throughout his career—his secret? He schedules his life out a year in advance.

Thinking that far out might sound daunting at first, but Peter says the idea behind it is to block out the times throughout the year when you need to be mentally sharp and all there. So, you think ahead about the amount of time you want off to spend with friends and family, time for vacation and the things you love to do, so that when you are working, you’re extremely focused. Working to live, instead of living to work.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Your health is critical to your own success. While Peter admits that he isn’t the type to get up every morning and go on a fifteen-mile run or a two-hour bike ride, he does make time for physical activity at least every other day because for Peter, his health is an essential component for keeping his energy in such a competitive environment.

It’s Time to Establish a Sound Business Plan

You Must Manage Your Growth

Peter will tell you that to some degree, you simply take on the role of an opportunist when it comes to growing your salons. However, you still have to be strategic about which opportunities you take on and which you pass over.

Peter went from operating out of one salon location to opening a whopping twenty-one locations all across Atlantic Canada. He admits that his team was more assertive when it came to taking advantage of new developments, but at the end of the day Peter says that owes his salon’s impeccable growth rate to his team’s ability to manage their debt and remain conservative in the midst of their expansions. 

Quick Tip: Do you have a financial plan? If you want to see real growth you have to be intentional about the financial structure of your business. This means setting goals and tracking your progress. So, if you don’t already have one in place, it’s time to sit down with your team and get to planning!

Culture is the Differentiating Factor

Early on, Peter recognized that culture was going to be the one thing that would differentiate the winners from the losers in this industry. A salon with a set of service standards and a solid value system in place is going to be among the most successful.

Peter and his team work with salon owners to help them think about their vision, give their people a voice, and create a team environment that really makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger—because they are

Big on Branding

In our ever-changing environment, we as business owners need to ask ourselves—are we adapting? Are we using each new platform to our advantage? Do we have strategies in place that are actually producing results?

People aren’t just buying into your services anymore. When they come into your salon they’re buying into your brand. So, think about your brand and what you want it to say about your business or the people who do business with you.  

The Key is in Career-Pathing

In our industry today, new hires and potential employees aren’t looking for a “job,” they’re looking for a career. Can your company provide those opportunities?

Peter reflects on his own business model in which students might start in his schools, graduate into his salons and start climbing the ladder from protégé to master with eight total levels of compensation in between. Today’s top talent is looking for a position that promises growth, education and specialization. As peter says, it’s about helping people to be more tomorrow than they are today.  

If you’d like to learn more about Peter and the Summit Salon Business Center, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 176. And be sure to check out their website to take a peek at all of the resources they have for salon owners like you!

Samantha Georgson
The Top 5 Recruiting Strategies of Successful Salons

Why is recruiting such a major struggle for salon owners? Have you heard the saying that you have to be “slow to hire and quick to fire”? While that is such sound advice, the problem that arises before you’re able to put this saying to use is having a plethora of options to choose from.

So, how do you get people jazzed up about your brand? So much so that they’re knocking down your door, wanting to be a part of your tribe? Kati Whitledge, our beloved host, is sharing her top five recruiting strategies for building a successful salon.  

In addition to hosting the Beyond The Technique podcast, Kati is the owner of the award-winning Be Inspired Salon located in Madison, Wisconsin, and the creative brain behind Meet Your Stylist, an innovative salon software system that matches potential clients with salon professionals based on services, lifestyle preferences, and personality metrics.  

Always Be Recruiting and Accepting Applications

Take a minute to think about your salon’s average turnover, how many stylists and front desk employees do you typically have to replace in a year?

For example, based on Kati’s averages, she anticipates that she will lose up to two stylists per year. That means she should be looking to hire three to four new team members each year because not only might she have stylists that leave her, but she’s also in growth mode and she’s hoping to build her team.

Your numbers might look different than Kati’s, but regardless, you should always be planning ahead when it comes to hiring and on-boarding, because you want to have an abundance of options for when the time comes.

Quick Tip: Do you have a page on your salon website dedicated to hiring and on-boarding? Good! Does it say that you’re “currently not hiring”? Bad!

Even if you aren’t actively hiring at this time, you never want to promote that on your website Instead, you should always give the impression that you’re open for receiving applications. You never know when the perfect applicant might send over their resume, and you want to have options for when the time comes!

Have a Digital Plan for Attracting Dedicated People

In today’s digital age, it’s so important to give potential employees the option to submit their applications online. Your ideal candidates are now coming from the Millennial and Gen Z generations, and they’re so used to immediate gratification that they’ll skip right over your salon if you can’t provide them that opportunity.  

Instead of instructing interested candidates to email a copy of their resume to the hiring manager at your salon, you should include a digital application right there on your website.

You should also be super specific about each position you’re looking to fill when you are actively hiring, because you’re going to be looking for very different qualifications when hiring a marketing manager versus a new assistant stylist. The more direct you are when sharing your expectations for the position, the more promising your potential candidates will be. 

Quick Tip: What’s better than having one page dedicated to recruiting and hiring? Having multiple! If you have one page for each position you’re looking to fill, you can dedicate that page to displaying the specific qualifications necessary and even include an online application that is exclusive to that position. 

Share Videos on Social

There’s no better way to sell recruits on your brand than having your own stylists give their testimonials to working at your salon. What better way to help potential candidates get a feel for your salon culture than to have your team talk about their life in the salon?

You can upload video testimonials like these to your salon’s YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, even repurpose them for IGtv or on your social media stories. The beauty of creating video content is that it can be used and shared again and again—and it has a much higher chance of capturing your audience than typical graphics and photos do.

Be Active in Your Community

The fourth recruiting strategy that Kati stands by is staying active in your immediate community. As a salon owner, you and your team should be committed to building relationships with the local beauty schools and youth programs in your area as a means of seeking out talent.

You should be attending career fairs and offering to showcase your own talent by having your stylists teach classes at the local beauty schools. If you stay in front of these young potential candidates, you’ll be top of mind when it’s time for them to pursue a career.

Kati also highly recommend joining your local Chamber of Commerce or other business networking groups. The people around you are going to be your most valuable resources, and although groups like these are outside of your industry, they’re especially useful for when it comes to finding and hiring talent in other areas such as marketing or web design.

Level Up and Pay to Play

Finally, if you want to be hiring top tier talent you have to be raising the stakes and paying really well. Not to mention, it also pays to back your job postings on websites like Indeed or Craigslist. Be strategic about your listings and show that you’re serious about who you hire by putting in the extra effort.  

Kati will tell you that it’s worth investing in hiring because the cost of losing an employee is much greater, so you might as well spend a little extra in order to find someone that is really going to fit your brand.

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 175, and if you’d like to learn a little bit more about our host, Kati, check out her website and don’t forget to subscribe to the Beyond The Technique podcast for more incredible industry insight.

Laying the Foundation for a Bright Future

No salon owner should have to go it alone—which is exactly why it’s so important to develop and nurture a leadership team within your salon to help you take over the beauty industry one task at a time.

Heather Yurko is the brain behind Lay the Foundation, a digital course that helps salon owners grow their team of leaders right from within the salon. We’ve introduced you to Heather on the Beyond The Technique podcast, but if you missed her previous interviews, we’ll give you a quick recap: Heather is the owner of the renown NeatBeat Salon in Louisville, Kentucky. She is also the founder of PIP University, which stands for Positively Impacting People, the salon owners platform for authentic and inspiring development.

Heather is constantly seeking out educational opportunities. She’s so passionate about sharing what she has learned in her trade with the other beauty industry professionals out there that she put together her own leadership course, Lay the Foundation, which is a three-week digital course dedicated to growing your leadership team.

So, Why a Leadership Team?

There isn’t a salon owner out there that can successfully run their business all by themselves, and truthfully, they shouldn’t have to. This is where growing a leadership team within your salon comes into play.

As an owner, you have so many things on your plate, from managing your stylists to marketing your services, and if you try to do it all yourself, you’ll inevitably burn out. Not to mention, having your hands in so many aspects of the business could be the very thing keeping you and your salon from moving up to that next level.

There are so many reasons to put time toward nurturing your leadership team from sharing the workload to building a stronger salon culture, but perhaps the most important is simply that your team is a direct reflection of your own leadership style. You owe it to yourself and to your team to invest in your leaders, allowing them to become the developers of their own future and in turn granting you the freedom and the mobility to be the best leader you can be.

Your Leaders Will Show Themselves to You

The first step in developing your leadership team is deciding who those leaders are going to be. Of course, you can’t give everyone on your team a leadership role, twenty people in power is just as dysfunctional as leaving it all in the hands of one.

Heather believes that the sweet spot is somewhere in between two and five strong leaders depending on the size of your team. The good news—these leaders will show themselves to you.

I mean, how many of you already have a couple of specific team members that come to mind? Your leaders naturally rise to the top. They’re the ones that always go the extra mile, the ones that step up to the plate when needed. Your leaders are the ones you can trust to help you manage the team and run the business, and they’re more than happy to take on that role.

Your Leaders Are Hungry—Feed Them

Building a structured leadership team is also about allowing your leaders to take that next step in their own career. Your natural born leaders are ready for the added responsibility. They deserve your trust and they have worked hard to prove it.

For your front-runners, having a structured system of leadership will be the next step in their professional development and they’ll be able to take on somewhat of a managerial role within the salon. Not only does this relieve some of the salon owner’s stress, but perhaps more importantly, it truly empowers those stylists on the team that are hungry for some additional responsibility.

We’re Stronger Together

Heather also emphasizes the importance of building a community and encouraging your team to make use of their resources, which is why PIP University has a private Facebook page created to connect leadership teams from salons all across the country.  

Heather believes that creating a network like this is a crucial step in laying the foundation for a bright future. On this platform stylists, managers and salon owners are all able to collaborate with one another on issues both big and small. That’s the beautiful thing about the beauty industry—we’re all in this together.

As Heather says, there’s nothing holding you back other than yourself. There are resources out there that will help you achieve your definition of work life balance, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to having a support system and having other leaders around you who will help you run the village.

 If you’d like to learn more about PIP University and Heather’s Lay the Foundation philosophy, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 174. And don’t forget to join the Facebook community to expand your network with the best in the business!

Sam Villa Shares His Steps to Success

It all started with his decision to drop out of school his junior year of college. Sam Villa sat down with his parents over dinner and said—I want to go to beauty school.

Sam Villa, Redken’s Global Artistic Director and the Co-Founder of the Sam Villa brand, is known for doing things differently. Sam is big on education and most comfortable when teaching, whether that be facilitating an in-salon class or taking the stage at an industry event. His motto is to practice, practice, practice, until he’s mastered the craft and can share his success—and today, he’s sharing that success with all of you.

Drawn to the Stage

After his first few weeks in beauty school Sam began to think that he had made the wrong decision. His hands were the athletic type and he was struggling to keep up with the rest of his class.

His father, who worked in a barber shop, opted to take Sam to his first hair show to reignite his passion for the craft. Little did he know, this would inspire an entirely new passion for the stage in Sam.  

There’s Always Something to be Discovered and Learned

Sam is no stranger to the idea that all good things come to those who wait. Although Sam had set his sights on the stage, he took a bit of a roundabout way to get there. Sam will tell you that the two best days of his life are the days he opened and then closed his salon.  

While it was a worthwhile endeavor, Sam was able to recognize when it was time to move on. With the support of his team of stylists, he grew the courage to sell his salon and move to New York to begin his partnership with Redken on the road to education.  

Sam’s relationship with Redken really shaped his success. Redken gave him the resources to be a facilitator and focus on the learner, they taught him how to teach. Sam would argue that Redken really revolutionized education in that way—the brand had a knack for knowing it’s audience and could appease both the visual and audible learner.

Teaching With New Technology

As Sam Villa became a recognized name in the industry and learner-focused education became the new normal, he began contemplating his next move.  

Sam loved Redkin, but he also knew that he was ready for the next step and with the help of his Redkin team he came up with the next wave of technological development for the beauty industry and created his own line of tools, thus the Sam Villa brand was born.

Of course, this transition into tools meant that Sam was even more valuable to a hair product line like Redkin and as such a recognized name in the industry, the partnership made perfect sense.  

People Buy People, Then They Buy Things

The Sam Villa brand grew quickly, in part due to the exposure he received from partnering with Redkin, but primarily because people were simply drawn to Sam himself.

As an educator, Sam is first and foremost a communicator. Sam is a firm believer that communication builds wealth and how you communicate from behind the chair or even from the stage is critical in building your brand.

As Sam likes to say, the good lord gave your two ears and one mouth. As a hair dresser, you need to put those two ears to good use and really listen to your clients before giving your own opinions or advice.  

Sam is still learning every day, the education never stops--which to Sam, is arguably the best part about teaching—you can acquire so much knowledge from your audience.

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 173, and don’t forget to check out Sam Villa’s YouTube channel for the best digital education in the beauty industry.

Samantha Georgson
The Top Five Characteristics of Our Favorite Guests

Here at Beyond The Technique we love to highlight the incredible success stories of some of the most influential people within our industry. Of course, our strongest guests, those true industry giants, are the ones that aren’t afraid to get vulnerable with us.

While there’s nothing quite like a powerful success story to get the blood pumping, we understand the value of looking at the entire picture. Every story has to start somewhere—right? 

So today, in honor of the Beyond The Technique podcast reaching 100,000 downloads this week, our beloved host, Kati Whitledge, is sharing the top five characteristics that our guests—the industry’s strongest leaders—all have in common. 

In addition to hosting the Beyond The Technique podcast, Kati is the owner of the award-winning Be Inspired Salon located in Madison, Wisconsin, and the creative brain behind Meet Your Stylist, an innovative salon software system that matches potential clients with salon professionals based on services, lifestyle preferences, and personality metrics.

Powered by Passion

One of the most incredible things about the beauty industry is the amount of passion circulating throughout. Their passion is what drives ideas, it opens people up to a new way of thinking, of viewing the world and bettering our industry. 

Every influential figure within the beauty industry is driven by their passion for the future of beauty and there’s simply nothing more inspiring to watch unfold. 

Lead with Courage

In order to be a leader, you must lead with courage. Every reward you seek is met with some level of risk, but if you’re able to see beyond the unknown, you’ve already won that battle. 

Kati believes that courage is the willingness to take risks, and so many of these brave beauty business owners have taken risks when only they could see the potential—that’s as courageous as it gets.

Demonstrate Perseverance

Then there’s perseverance. Kati would argue that perseverance is the ultimate key to success. You have to have the endurance to push through those tough times and always keep one eye on the big picture.

Your passion and your courage will get you going, but it’s your perseverance that will see you through to the end of whatever goal you’re working towards. Each of our guests have been able to find the strength to keep going and even pivot when necessary—because they know that there’s always another way.

All About the People

Perhaps the best part about being in the beauty industry is the people. We have such a strong network of people that we can rely on, and that’s invaluable when it comes to doing business.

It’s so important to remember that in the beauty industry we’re a part of something so much bigger than any one of us individually. And while that thought can seem daunting at times, it’s comforting to know that you’re never alone, that there’s always someone that you can turn to for support. 

Kati is no stranger to the value of tapping into the minds of the many thought leaders within our industry—in fact, it was her passion for sharing knowledge that prompted her to start her own podcast in the first place. Kati is so grateful for the information and insights she has gained from the others in our industry, especially her guests on Beyond The Technique, and she is so proud to share that knowledge with all of you.

Keep It Positive

Finally, the people paving the way in our industry today always maintain a positive attitude. Kati describes our guests as true opportunists, not only are they able to keep things positive but each of these innovators demonstrates an elevated way of thinking.

Of course, all of our guests are incredibly humble, but they each have such a unique and innate desire to learn, understand and empathize with others in order to better themselves and our industry—there’s nothing quite like it.  

Our Beyond The Technique podcast guests represent the individuals that are truly committed to excellence both in their careers and in their lives. We couldn’t be more honored to work with and learn from each and every one of them.

To listen to the podcast that inspired this loving tribute, check out episode 172, and if you’d like to learn a little bit more about our host, Kati, check out her website and don’t forget to subscribe to the Beyond The Technique podcast for more incredible industry insight.

A Man on a Mission for Justice and Soul

Arguably the best part about working the beauty industry is the level of impact we, as salon owners, managers, stylists, influencers and the like, can have on the community—even the world.    

Today we’re diving into the incredible story of one of the most impactful organizations within our industry, founded by the amazingly selfless, Matthew Fairfax and his business partner, Lauren Enbright. The Justice and Soul Foundation began as a shared vision to provide a path to a new life for sexually exploited and at-risk youth.

Learn how Matthew and his team began with a mission—tiny, but mighty—to change the world. And how it has since blossomed into an industry-wide initiative to empower young men and women to become confident and self-sufficient individuals though professional training in cosmetology.

From Human Resources to the Hair Industry

Matthew followed a rather unconventional route into the beauty industry, starting with a job in human resources.

Matthew admits to being in and around the salon industry for much of his life, as his partner managed James Alan Salon and Spa. He got to know distributors and even started doing some of his own salon training and education before officially joining the industry.

Matthew remembers when Robert Lobetta’s hair show came into town and in that moment, he knew he was going to wind up in the beauty industry but he didn’t exactly know how. Shortly after that, Matthew had the opportunity to buy his partner out of James Alan, which jumpstarted his transition. He quit his job and worked his way into being full time at the salon, doing consulting and training. 

Matthew made is his mission to get involved in the community, and his salon paved the way by participating in outreach events, taking on several sponsorships and hosting their own in-house fundraisers. Several years later, Matthew was called to take his passion one step further after being introduced to the insidious issue of sex trafficking on a global scale.

Combining Your Passion With Purpose

Although it took some convincing, after a client at James Alan approached Matthew about the rising issue of sex trafficking in Cambodia with a plea for help, he simply couldn’t turn away.

This particularly convincing client talked Matthew into offering vocational training to these young men and women who were rescued from sex trafficking and other at-risk situations, and this is how the Justice and Soul Foundation was born. But of course, the journey wasn’t easy.

After his first visit to Cambodia, Matthew realized he had taken on quite a major project, one might even say monumental. After his first ideas, including setting up a three-month educational program and funding additional help through donations, were squashed, Matthew realized that this project would require more than a simple three-month stint. 

Matthew and his team went back to the drawing board and decided that the key to creating a sustainable solution was to become a part of the Cambodian community and tap the money from the country’s middle class by offering something of value—salon services. 

It made perfect sense, they could stick to what they knew best and open up a western-style, high-end hair salon right here in Cambodia that would generate enough funding to pay its own way and then some. Of course, such a grand idea was backed by a major commitment to the cause, and it was then that Matthew realized he simply had to move there in order to make this dream come true.

Taking a Leap of Faith for the Foundation 

Although it was an incredibly big leap, Matthew had faith in his idea, in the industry itself, and most importantly, in the cause. Within a few years he had sold almost everything except his salon, which became almost entirely the responsibility of his leadership team, and thus began his new life in Cambodia.

With highly successful crowdsourcing and incredibly generous donations from some of the biggest names in the industry, including Winn Claybaugh, Paul Mitchell, and Andrew Gomez as well as product donations from Davines and Dermalogica, it took just over a year for Matthew to open his salon and begin his education program.

The Justice and Soul Foundation has since partnered with several NGOs that work on the frontlines, rescuing these young men and women from their horrific situations, to get them into trauma therapy and set them up with the resources and skills necessary to rebuilt their sense of self-worth and ability to live.  

Matthew and his crew work directly with these survivors, providing all sorts of education from English to Math and Science in order to rebuild their self-esteem. These young men and women are also given the opportunity to go through Justice and Soul’s very own technical training program which allows them to participate in vocational development, after which many of them go on to work in Matthew’s salon or one of the many others that have partnered with his organization.  

With roughly four years of time invested toward this cause, Justice and Soul has grown tremendously, even spreading its wings in order to tackle the sex trafficking issues back home, here in the U.S. With so many opportunities for expansion, Matthew says it can be overwhelming at times, but it’s the most rewarding work he has ever been involved in and he’s excited to see how it continues to grow.

If you’d like to learn more about Matthew’s journey, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog post, episode 171. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Justice and Soul Foundation you can head to their website for more information on volunteer work and all of the ways you can donate to the cause.

Climbing the Ladder of Success With Adam Broderick

Here at Beyond The Technique we love to highlight the success stories of the many influencers in our industry because they’re all so unique, and Adam Broderick’s is no exception. Although many of us stumbled our way into the beauty industry after admittedly struggling in school, how many of us can say that we started our haircutting careers by practicing on poodles?

From working as an animal groomer to opening up an award-winning salon, Adam has done it all. Adam shares his steps to success starting from the very beginning—you’re not going to want to miss this! 

Adam is the owner of the renown Adam Broderick Salon and Spa with two locations in Connecticut. Amongst other things, Adam is also a motivational speaker and business consultant to other salon owners. He is quite the entrepreneur and he’s one of the industry’s most respected figures.  

Adam walks us through how he started his own pet grooming business before the age of twenty, how this incredibly unique career choice ultimately led him to the beauty industry, and how he eventually opened his own salon and built up his business in order to become one of the great successes of our time.                                                                                                               

Taking the Not-So-Traditional Route

Adam is the self-proclaimed poster-child for extreme attention deficit disorder, but despite being labeled as lazy or having a lack of focus, Adam decided to find his own way by following his passion for animals. While at the time he wanted to be a veterinarian, he knew that the level of schooling required wasn’t really in the cards for him.

He got his first job working at a pet store, and he enjoyed it so much that he decided to enroll in dog-grooming school at the age of sixteen. After he graduated he started his own grooming business which he ran until he turned twenty and decided to look for something a little less tedious.  

At the same time, the hair industry began to grow. Adam remembers Sassoon coming to town and thinking how cool it was to be a hairdresser. Shortly afterwards, Adam decided to sell his business and enroll in beauty school.

You’ll Never Get What You Don’t Ask For

There’s something to be said for putting yourself out there, and Adam was never afraid to ask for what he felt he deserved. Adam fondly reflects on his first job at Sassoon, which he earned after shamelessly offering his services up for free.  

Nailing a job at a big-name salon was a bit of a leap for a kid fresh out of beauty school, and of course they couldn’t legally allow Adam to work at Sassoon for free, but ultimately it was his energy and enthusiasm that won Adam the job.

How to Know When It’s Time to Open Your Own Studio

Although Adam had been in business before, opening his own salon wasn’t really on his radar. Yet after spending some time working in the city, he decided he was looking for something different.

With plans to move to California, Adam packed his bags and headed to Connecticut to visit his sister before his travels out west. Of course, as the tale goes, this is where Adam met his partner Pete and as Adam likes to joke, it seems California is carrying on just fine without him.

Although there were a handful of salons in Warrern, Connecticut, where the pair decided to settle down, none of them were operating at quite the same caliber as those in the city and Adam was craving that familiar and exciting environment. So, he decided to open his own small color studio, and because he specialized in color, so began his hunt for cutting specialists to collaborate with.

Creating a Solid Culture Through Collaboration

Because Adam built his business around his need for a cutting specialist who could compliment his skills as a colorist, the business itself was less owner-centric, fueled on mutual respect for each other’s craft. To this day, Adam truly believes that it was that initial collaboration that set the tone for his incredibly successful business model.

After thirty-two years, Adam’s business model has certainly evolved but his carefully crafted salon culture has remained strong. Adam believes that the secret to success starts with humility. He always says that, as a leader, it’s less about being the star of the show and more about how you can shine a light on the success of your stylists.  

If you’d like to learn more about Adam and his incredible journey in the beauty industry including how he has managed to grow his salon, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 169. And don’t forget to check out his salon website to follow his movement on his own industry blog, Insights from Adam.