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.

The Dos and Don'ts of Communicating with Upset Guests

They say the key to every great relationship is communication – and handling a guest complaint is no different. We’re in the service industry—and the reality is—not everyone is going to be happy about the services they’ve received.

If you do find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know how to handle the conversation the right way so that you can retain that client. However, like most things, it’s easier said than done. Industry expert Kati Whitledge is here to break down the dos and don’ts of communicating with upset guests in order to help you come out of those contentious conversations on top.                                        

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.

The Dos

Kati emphasizes that when talking with an upset or aggressive guest face-to-face, you’ll want to remember the three positive C’s—calm, connect and collaborate. Let’s dive into each.   


First and foremost, it is so important to stay calm. It can be very easy to allow our emotions to take over, we typically have an adrenalin rush when contentious events occur. Staying calm helps us stay in control of the conversation. Also, by taking time to really listen and soak in what the guest is saying, you’re able to set the tone that in the pursuit of finding common ground, everyone will be in a rational state of mind.


We really need to do our best to connect with our guests in a way that makes them feel understood. Usually, when a guest is upset, it’s because they don’t feel heard. Kati knows firsthand that the best way to connect with an upset guest is to ask questions and affirm that you’re hearing what they’re saying.

Quick Tip: Use the guest’s name. If you can slip their name in as you’re asking questions and trying to understand their frustration, they’ll feel like they’re being treated as human versus a commodity, something we all appreciate.


Once you’ve listened to the guest complaint and asked questions to have the best understanding of their concerns, the next step is to collaborate with them. Kati is a firm believer in that a win-win can always be found.

Give your guest a couple of options as to how they might like to proceed. If they were upset about the price, ask if they would like to see an associate stylist in the future. If they still want a senior stylist’s expertise, offer to schedule their cut and colors separately. Providing these options instills confidence in your salon operations, it shows that you stand with your professionals and value their worth, yet it also empowers your guest to decide on how to positively move forward.

The Definitely Do-Nots

In an ideal world, we would all resolve conflict with ease, but of course we know every situation is unique. Which is why Kati also covers the three C’s that you must avoid when you are faced with an upset guest. You must never curse, correct or condescend.


This should be the most obvious but if we fail at keeping our cool, we may fall into a swearing trap. Our emotions can be fickle when dealing with contentious conversations, but we must never let our tempers get the best of us. Although you might have a valid point, the second you curse, you’re going to be viewed as irrational and all credit is lost.


Have you heard the saying, “Would you rather be right, or happy?” If your guest is sharing feedback that is inaccurate, as much as you want to tell them they’re wrong, we must respond in a way that empathizes with them. In fact, there are ways around this, such as asking questions that will lead them to accuracy.


We’ve all had people talk to us in a condescending manner, it never feels good. No one wants to be treated as if they are unintelligent or feel undervalued. Kati always suggests going back to the golden rule—treat people the way you want to be treated.

Also, you never know what someone is going through. Remember that when guests dump negative feedback on you, many times it’s because they are personally dissatisfied for some reason and their sense of loss of control is challenging for them to work through. Hence, they may take it out on you. As the saying goes, the best defense is a great offense—ask questions, stay calm and figure out a way to find resolution together. 

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 168, 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.

Samantha Georgson
What the Heck is PBA?

You have probably heard the acronym PBA floating around the industry, but what do you really know about the Professional Beauty Association? PBA is a community led non-profit membership organization that represents licensed professionals, salons, manufacturers, distributors, schools, and students of the beauty industry.

In today’s political climate it is more important than ever that we seek out professional protection and include ourselves in the conversations regarding industry regulation. Salon Owner and Industry Professional, Karie Bennett, made it her mission to get involved with the government affairs surrounding our industry and she’s here to talk up the PBA and encourage others to join in the conversation.

We’ve introduced you to Karie before, but if you missed her previous interviews we’ll give you a quick recap: Karie is the owner and founder of the renown Atelier Aveda concept salons. She has been a part of the Aveda tribe since 1985, and is also a contributing writer for Salon Today magazine and an active member of the Professional Beauty Association’s Salon/Spa Advisory Board—helping to protect the industry she loves. She is here to clue you in on the conversations and regulations surrounding our industry and get you excited about getting involved with PBA.

First Thing’s First: What Does PBA Do?

The Professional Beauty Association is the government advocate for the salon and spa industry. The members that volunteer on this board, Karie included, do their best to protect beauty businesses from government regulations, or in current times deregulations, that affect how we do business.

It’s the largest organization of salon professionals with members representing salons, spas, distributors, manufacturers and beauty professionals. This association makes it their mission to elevate, unite and serve the beauty industry, and the professionals who improve people’s lives. Intrigued? You should be! 

Why is the Government Just Now Beginning to Pay Attention to the Beauty Industry? 

At the end of the day, it’s all about tax revenue. Karie notes that the government had glossed over our industry until the piece-rate situation in 2016 when they finally began to realize how much our industry was skimping out in taxes.

There are so many cash-only businesses under the beauty industry umbrella and the government has finally taken notice of how much money is being funneled into this underground economy. PBA is on the front lines of this battle, not because this organization is made up of bitter tax-payers, but because they care about protecting the compliant beauty businesses that do their part.  

What’s Being Discussed by PBA Today? 

Getting Serious About SB-999

This Senante Bill proposes to remove the licensing from shampooing and blow-drying services. This means anyone could work at a blow-dry bar or in the shampoo room at a salon. As a salon owner, Karie’s first thoughts were that it would be great to hire someone to shampoo that didn’t have to go through 1,600 hours of education—but who would that be?  

In the end, the likelihood that you find someone with necessary skills is slim. A stylist’s education is so much more than learning how to cut color and rinse. It’s studying all of the standards of cleanliness and sanitation, client safety and communicable diseases. Earning a cosmetology license is so small feat, and these are the kinds of legislation we need to protect our beauty businesses from if we want to maintain the same standards of excellence.  

This Bill was bankrolled by a company called Glam Squad, which is essentially like Uber for at-home hair services. It’s a group of independent contractors with an app that allows clients to order hair services from home and they send someone over to take care of the job.

On the surface this sounds great, there’s no doubt that these contractors have a passion for hair, but there are so many issues with the way this service is being run. For one, there’s no future for these employees. These contractors are likely only making minimum wage or some percentage of the service and there’s no room for growth, there’s no career path there. Two, these contractors aren’t protected in any way—so, what happens when someone orders a blowout and winds up asking for an added bang trim or quick re-tone?

Remember Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles

In addition to the lack of protection and projection, Glam Squad is voting to get SB-999 passed when their motives directly conflict with another piece of legislature, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles.

This was the bill that put a stop to independent contractors in California, which is now standard across most of the U.S. with the exception of a few states. So, even if SB-999 were to be passed, Glam Squad will face another rude awakening when they find out their employees don’t’ pass the ABC test.  

It’s Never Too Early to Join in the Conversation

Karie says that when it comes down to it, we have to decide whether we want to be reactive to the changes that take place in our industry, or proactive, meaning we get involved ahead of time and even influence the future of our industry as a whole.  

From her own experience with PBA, Karie notes that there’s a lack of involvement the younger generation of stylists. In her opinion, there’s no excuse for waiting to get involved. PBA wants, and needs, the opinions and input from people in every level of the industry in order to truly represent our industry as a whole.  

If the fear of inexperience is holding you back, let’s crush that right now. There is no such thing as having too little experience to have a say in your future. In fact, newly-licensed professionals are the ones who will benefit and/or suffer the most from this legislation. You have your whole career ahead of you, you should absolutely have a say.

Karie also says that a busy schedule is no excuse and she’s a prime example. With seventy employees of her own she doesn’t have much time to donate to the cause, but she makes the time because it’s important to her. It’s her 37th year with her cosmetology license, so for Karie, it’s her way of showing gratitude for her incredibly successful, long-lasting career.

If you’d like to learn more about SB-999 and the solutions that PBA board members like Karie are bringing to the table, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog post, episode 167. If you’d like to learn more about the Professional Beauty Association and how you can get involved, check out their website and be sure to reach out Karie with any questions!

Samantha Georgson
Success Doesn't Happen Overnight

Candy Shaw loves to joke about how long it actually takes to become an “overnight” success. After twenty-some years of putting in work behind the chair, the name Candy Shaw is finally a recognized one in the industry. Candy is living proof that nothing truly happens overnight, instead, reaching your goals requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

We have had the pleasure of chatting with Candy America’s Beauty Show during our Spotlight Podcasts, but if you’ve missed her previous interviews, we’ll give you a quick recap:

Celebrity-stylist Candy Shaw, perhaps better known as the Balay Lama, literally grew up in the beauty business as the daughter of former world-champion competition-hairdresser Jamison Shaw. Today she owns and operates three companies, all of which are under the beauty industry umbrella. She runs her father’s salon, Jamison Shaw Hairdressers as well as the Jamison Shaw Academy, through which Candy offers her infamous French Haircutting and Balayage classes for licensed cosmetologist every other month. And finally, her most recent venture, Sunlights Balayage, a professional hair product company fueled by her commitment to providing career changing education.

Candy put in the work necessary to create her own legacy, and now she’s sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others in the industry to take their time—it’s worth the wait.

Don’t Be Afraid to Do Something Before It’s Cool

I bet you didn’t know that Candy basically invented balayage, did you? She was painting hair before hair-painting even had a name. Candy developed her own clay lightener, which she used behind the chair and when working with her students.

Because nothing like Candy’s clay-based lightener existed in the industry, she decided to take a leap of faith and sat down with some of the leading manufacturers to see what it would take to mass produce her product and share it with the world. Candy jokes about her meeting with “the suits,” as she calls them, as they told her that balayage was just a fad, and like all fads, it will eventually fade.

Don’t Take “No” for an Answer

Of course, Candy wouldn’t be the great success that she is today had she listened to “the suits”. She’ll be the first to tell you that you shouldn’t take “no” for an answer, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

So, she took her clay lightener and sat through many think-tank sessions with her family before realizing that the only way to get it done was to do it herself. Of course, that doesn’t mean all by herself!

Going It Alone Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely

If you’re going to go out on a limb and try to tackle an issue on your own, you had better find people to back you up. Candy knew she would need help if she was going to try to mass produce her own product.

She couldn’t risk it falling flat on its face once it hit the marketplace, so she enlisted the help of a chemist with impressive product knowledge, and they tested and re-tested Candy’s clay lightener until they were sure they were creating the best product they could.

Climbing Your Way to the Top Takes Time

Candy reflects on her twenty-some year voyage to success, and remarks that is wasn’t easy. It’s crowded at the top, and you have to scratch and claw your way up there before you get noticed.

You’ll have doors slammed in your face, but that doesn’t mean another one won’t open up right down the hall. Candy often says that the key to success is to build a solid foundation with all of the bricks that are thrown at you along the way. Learn from your mistakes and the negative feedback you receive, there’s always a way to spin it into something positive.  

Candy describes balayage as the “little black dress” of the beauty industry—it’s not going anywhere—and well, the rest is history!

If you’d like to learn more about Candy Shaw’s incredible success story, listen to the full podcast episode, episode 166. And if you haven’t already, check out Sunlights products, where you’ll have the inside scoop into the history of this clay lightener!

Samantha Georgson
Successful Consultations Require Confidence

Let’s talk about the client consultation. The consultation is perhaps the most important conversation you’ll have with a potential client—it sets the stage for all of your future interactions—but don’t let that scare you!

The consultation is the best way to establish trust between you and your clients. Your first-timers are coming to you with their heart, or in this case their hair, in their hands. So, meet them half way, listen to their needs, and work with them to find a solution—after all, you’re the expert!

Howard Hafetz will tell you that the key to a successful consultation is simply, confidence. Sounds too good to be true, right? But Howard can tell you from years of experience, there is nothing more reassuring than having the expert take control of the situation.

We introduced you to Howard on our Beyond The Technique podcast, but if you missed his previous interviews we’ll give you a quick recap: Howard is the CEO of Art of Business, the former President of PBA, and the founder of Salon Today Magazine. Howard is also the brain behind the concept of “psy-cosmetology,” a new form of thinking which helps professional cosmetologists increase their self-esteem and ultimately lead a more successful life and career. Howard preaches confidence, and he’s here to instill a newfound confidence in all of you!

It’s Not What You Say, It’s What the Client Hears

If you ask a stylist for their definition of the consultation, most of them will say it’s about how you communicate. Well, Howard is here to tell you that it’s not what you say that matters, it’s what the client hears. Or rather, what they understand.

Howard likes to play with analogy that effective communication is a lot like playing a game of catch. If you’re throwing something out there and nobody is catching it, well, that’s pretty ineffective, isn’t it?

Howard emphasizes that if you really want to up your game as a stylist, your communication is where it counts. And the best place to start? The consultation, of course!

For the Newbies: Competence Translates Into Confidence

Young stylists tend to struggle with confidence the most. When it’s your first time behind the chair, it can be unfortunately easy to sink into those self-deprecating thoughts: Am I good enough? Do I really know what I’m talking about?

Howard reminds us that the answer is always yes! As a new stylist fresh out of beauty school, you’ve put in your time and received all of the education necessary to make you successful.

Howard recognizes that as younger stylists, you won’t have much behind-the-chair experience to play on during the consultation, so he suggests that you pull out that education of yours and tie in a few terms you learned from beauty school. Break down the science of hair for your client during the consultation, as long as you do so in a way that is both well-informed and digestible, you’re sure to gain their respect and, perhaps more importantly, their trust.

Confidence Is Comforting

Now, we’re not recommending that you fake it for your entire career (trust us, you won’t have to!) but, confidence can be easy to emulate in the moment, whether you’re feeling it or not.

Howard emphasizes the importance of posture in coming across as confident. Confident people stand taller and square their shoulders, this literally gives off the appearance that they can take on any challenge. Not only does a confident stance make you appear more confident to a potential client, but it also makes you feel more confident. They call it a power stance for a reason, right?

Touch Builds Trust

Physical contact is one of the quickest ways to build confidence with a client. We’re in one of the few industries where human touch is actually encouraged, so take advantage!

Howard encourages stylists to make physical contact with their potential clients during the initial consultation. Putting a hand on their shoulder as they tell you about their hair is one of the most comforting things you could do, not to mention, it’s a sign of good listening. This simple gesture is very settling, and it helps to build that personal connection quickly, quite literally letting your potential clients know that they’re in good hands.

What About When It’s Not Going the Right Way?

Even if you’re doing everything right, the reality is not every consultation is going to be successful. Howard calls to mind those occasions in which a client calls after their appointment to admit that they don’t like their haircut or they feel their stylist missed the mark with their color. Likely, the issue started with a failed consultation. 

Whether you’re brand new or a seasoned pro, there are so many variables and you simply can’t promise everything. So, Howard challenges us all to think about how we can predict the end result and what we can do to be proactive about our client’s expectations.  

Ultimately, the most important step is to make sure that you’re leaving room for accessible communication during the consultation. You should always be asking questions and repeating the client’s answers back to them to make sure that you’re both on the same page.

Quick Tip: This is where photos come in handy! Everyone has a different idea of what “shoulder length hair” is, right? So, instead of guessing, ask your client for a picture of a haircut they love. Of course, if we’re talking color, it’s important to educate your clients on whether their expectations are realistic. Filters are our worst enemies when it comes to color, so don’t be afraid to let your clients know when a color is simply unattainable.

At the end of the day, the best consultations come from stylists who know how to converse with clients in their own language. Your confidence translates directly to your client’s confidence—so bring you’re A-game to every consultation.  

If you’d like to learn more about gaining confidence and conviction when it comes to the consultation, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 165. If you’d like to really dive into communication, check out our recent blog post, The Key to Nailing the Consultation is Open Communication.

P.S. Are you going to be at America’s Beauty Show this year? We’d love to have you on one of our Spotlight Podcasts! Reach out to us at info@beyondthetechnique.com with the subject line: “Shine the Spotlight on Me!” We look forward to chatting with all of you!

Samantha Georgson
How to Build a Profitable Business

There’s a lot more to building a profitable salon than simply having a smart budget in place. As a salon owner, it’s your responsibility to provide your team with opportunities for freedom, security, benefits, growth, and education. Not to mention, the goal is to be able to give yourself these same affordances.

Like most aspects of running a business, profitability doesn’t come easy, but Industry expert Kati Whitledge is here to break it down step-by-step in order to help you support your team. .  

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 passionate about helping others in the industry develop their own success stories, and wants to share her success with all of you with her four steps to building a profitable salon.   

STEP 1: Set a Goal and Track It Daily

First thing’s first, you have to have a goal to work toward. If we don’t have a clear target to hit, how can we expect to grow our profits? At Kati’s salon, Be Inspired Salon, her team has established a monthly revenue goal that is broken down into daily goals. Every day the salon administrative manager sends over the revenue from the day prior, along with the weekly goal they need to achieve in order to maintain their revenue expectations.

Kati’s budget is tied to these numbers and she’s totally transparent about this with her team, so that all of her guest service representatives are that much more motivated to fill the books. Kati says the trick is to keep your eyes on the prize—and get butts in the seats!

Additionally, each of Be Inspired Salon’s guest service representatives has the ability to earn an increase in their pay as they contribute to the sales of the salon. Kati holds her front desk team accountable with performance goals similar to those of her stylists. These goals include things like gift card sales, service add-ons, retail sales, personal referrals, VIP membership sales, and re-booking.  

STEP 2: Increase Your Prices

The second step to increasing your profitability is to charge more. Seems simple, right? Then why are we so scared to increase our prices? Kati reminds us that our CPAs, attorneys, product companies and contractors are all very willing to increase their prices on an annual basis. We come to accept that is the price of doing business with the people we trust, so why would we look at ourselves any differently?

The majority of our guests, whom Kati refers to as “A” clients, wouldn’t blink an eye when we do the same. There are so many reasons to increase your prices, perhaps you have just started offering a brand-new shampoo experience, maybe a handful of your stylists have been promoted to higher levels after reaching new benchmark achievements and productivity percentages. No matter how you choose to enhance the client experience, your prices should reflect the changes.

STEP 3: Stop Offering Discounts

The third way to increase your profitability is to stop offering discounts. Have you heard the saying, success is what you say no to?  

Kati offers a few examples, if you wanted to be successful in your pursuit of being fit and healthy, you would probably say “no” to fast food. If you wanted to get out of debt, you would probably say “no” to friends when they ask you to join them on weekend getaways—at least until you’re debt-free of course! What it comes down to Is this: with discounts, you’re going to attract fickle guests who won’t stick it out after the deals are over because you’re devaluing your work.  

Kati emphasizes, people don’t want to pay less, they want to be given more! There are so many ways to add value to your guest experience without devaluing your services, products, or people.

STEP 4: Think BIG

Finally, the fourth way to increase your profitability is to THINK BIG!  When you’re in growth mode, you’re thinking about all of the ways to grow your team, your guest list, your brand, and your long-term potential.  

This could mean you’re looking for a new, bigger and better space. Perhaps you even buy the building, in which case your salon would be renting from you—neat right? Depending on the space you might even be leasing out additional spaces to other businesses, essentially getting into commercial real estate. This could be great for your profitability!

You could also divide and conquer. Meaning you multiply and open your second, third, and fourth locations. Kati assures that if your systems, processes, culture, and training procedures are in place, this can be easier than you may think. There are so many ways you can grow profitability if you’re willing to think beyond what’s currently tangible—exciting, isn’t it?

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 164, 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. 

Samantha Georgson
How to Win at Salon Life With Winn Claybaugh

Winning at salon business isn’t easy, not to mention, it’s going to look a little different for everybody but there are a few rules that every salon owner should play by when seeking success.

When thinking about the big winners in our industry, names like Winn Claybaugh are top of mind. As the Founder and Co-Owner of Paul Mitchell’s Educational Division, Winn knows a thing or two about building a solid platform for success.

Winn is the author of Be Nice or Else! and he has been recognized as one the best motivational speakers in the country. Early on in his career he became the youngest person to be named at the North American Hairstyling Awards, and more recently he was honored by American Salon as one of five industry leaders who helped revolutionize education. Winn is known for his humanitarian work, his passion for education and his incredible knack for business—talk about winning. 

So, what does it really take to win in this industry? Winn tells all!

Money Matters

At the end of the day, if your salon isn’t profitable, the doors aren’t open and you’re certainly not winning. While money shouldn’t be your main focus, it’s probably second on the list, and for good reason.

So, what’s keeping us from being profitable? Winn believes that the number one mistake salon owners make when it comes to money is basing decisions off of their own personal aesthetic or ego. At the root of all of your business decisions is the question of profitability, and if the outcome of your next decision doesn’t directly improve your profitability, it should be put on the back-burner until it does.  

For example, if you’re deciding whether you want to invest in those new marble floors or put that same money toward on-boarding, just ask yourself—which is bringing in more money?  

So yes, money does matter…

But Culture Matters More

As a salon owner, your job is to provide a home for your people. Your success and the success of your salon relies on that of your entire team. There are three musts when it comes to building a strong and successful team.

Be a Great Boss

First thing’s first, if you want to build an amazing team you have to be an amazing boss. The behaviors, attitudes, and results produced by your team are a direct reflection of the leadership they work under. If you’re looking to hire positive, proficient and productive people to your team, you had better lead by example.  

Winn says being a strong and successful leader is actually pretty simple. The best bosses simply work to meet their employees most basic human needs.  

  • Make your people feel safe

  • Let your people know that they belong

  • Give your people a purpose

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

It’s incredibly old fashioned to think that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Not to mention, it simply isn’t sustainable if you want to run a successful business.

Collaboration is a beautiful thing. Not only does a collaborative environment do wonders for your salon culture, but it also lends itself to all three of those most basic human needs. Your stylists and front desk employees want to feel valued. They want to know that their opinions matter and they want to feel like they can voice their opinions without fear of judgement or backlash. 

As a salon owner and professional leader, you already know how to bring out the best in your people, their talents, their passions, their creativity and their teamwork. As long as you’re transparent about how much you value that team effort, your employees will reciprocate those values and help cultivate that positive and collaborative culture within the salon. 

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re never alone. In this industry, we have each other’s backs, so ask for help when you need it.

Winn says he would never have gotten to where he is today without the help of his many mentors. It’s okay to turn to the experts when something is a little bit outside of your area of expertise. If you know of someone with knowledge you could benefit from, ask for their advice. As a salon owner, if you’re strengths lay in marketing and communication, hire a partner or a salon manager to handle the financials, or vice versa.

And don’t forget to return the favor when it inevitably circles back to you. We’re all a part of this industry and we want each other to succeed. Lift your peers up, and they’ll do the same for you. It’s a win-win!

To learn more about Winn Claybaugh and his incredible industry track record, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 163. Don’t forget to check out last years’ spotlight podcasts from America’s Beauty Show (where we first met Winn!) in order to gear up for this year’s event!

If you’re going to be at ABS this year and would like to be a part of our spotlight podcasts, reach out to us at info@beyondthetechnique.com with the subject line: “Shine the Spotlight on Me!” We look forward to chatting with all of you!

Samantha Georgson
The Key to Nailing the Consultation Is Open Communication

The consultation is the single most important step in securing a potential client. This introduction sets the stage for all future interactions between your client, their stylist, and ultimately, your salon. And the key to nailing the consultation? Open communication and conversation.  

Bespoke Beauty Bar Owners, Alicia and Christian Blazevich, know exactly what it takes to seal the deal during the consultation. In fact, their knack for client communication is what makes them a Salon Today Top 200 Salon. After putting in their time at a four-year college, Alicia and Christian found themselves longing for something different, so they decided to switch courses and that’s how Bespoke beauty bar was born.

Ironically, both Alicia and Christian grew up with a soft spot for the salon environment. As a child, Alicia spent most weekends at the salon with her grandmother perfecting her perm, and Christian fondly remembers visits to the barbershop with his grandfather. The Blazevich’s both grew up with a deep appreciation for the community atmosphere that salons provide, which played a significant role in their beauty bar for their own salon.

Alicia and Christian opened Bespoke Beauty Bar with the intentions of highlighting each client’s individuality. They knew that the same old cookie cutter formulas simply wouldn’t cut it in their studio, which is why they put an extra emphasis on the consultation. By getting to know each of their clients and their own intimate relationship with their hair, the Blazevich’s and their team are able to tailor their services to meet each client’s unique needs. Alicia and Christian ask all of the right questions during the consultation—and you can too!

Put it in Writing

Contrary to popular belief, the Blazevich’s know that doing everything digitally doesn’t always mean it’s going to be done better.  Alicia emphasizes the impact of using a hand-written client intake form during the consultation. While a digital form might speed up the process, there’s a level of thoughtfulness that comes with writing something down by hand.

I mean seriously, how often are we asked to jot down our thoughts and feelings anymore? Alicia encourages salon owners to hand their clients a pen and paper during their first visit in order to prompt them to really process the questions and fill out the form authentically.

Make it Positively Personal

While the consultation should still ultimately be about the technical services your client is seeking, it’s important to include some personal questions when getting to know them and their individual needs. Not only does this help you match each client with their perfect stylist, but it also shows that you care about the person underneath each head of hair.

Alicia and Christian also suggest spinning the consultation in a positive light. During the first visit, we often focus on what the client is looking to change, what they don’t like about their hair. Alicia emphasizes how impactful it can be to shift the focus to what they do like, what about their hair makes them feel good.

Of course, we’re still there to tend to that unwanted outgrowth or make those color corrections, but by asking these questions and getting to the bottom of their wants and needs you’re letting each client know that they’re valued, and that you care about their feelings.  

Alicia also suggests that you ask each client about what they look forward to when coming to the salon. Make yourself aware of their favorite part of the salon experience and linger there during their service. For some, coming to the salon is a chore in and of itself, so don’t add the extra frills. For others, they might say they love the shampoo or simply being pampered, so give them an extra rinse or add some essential oils to amplify the experience.

Ask the Tough Questions

It can be tempting to wrap up the consultation after the more enjoyable “get-to-know-you” questions, but it can’t end there. The most important questions are the ones regarding maintenance and budget.

As a salon owner or stylist, the goal is always to send clients off with a new wave of confidence and incredible hair, but the key to keeping your clients is giving them the ability to recreate that same look and feeling at home. Alicia and Christian know that hair maintenance looks a little bit different for every client, which is why they take the time to ask the tough questions.

At Bespoke, they really break it down to understand each client’s level of ability when it comes to maintaining their color, their biggest challenges when it comes to styling, and their current product regimen. Alicia suggests that you start with the basics and work your way up. Ask your clients, “How much time do you spend on your hair in the morning?” And go from there.

Break Down the Budget

Finally, it’s time to talk about the budget. At Bespoke, the last page of their client intake form is the personalized Bespoke Beauty Plan, where they cover the cost down to the dollar.

Again, Alicia says it’s important to break the cost down by service. Does your color require an additional glaze or bonding treatment? How many times will you need to process? While this level of disclosure might sound daunting at first, Alicia and Christian argue that this kind of transparency helps build trust with your clients. Not to mention, it’s tremendous for bridging the gap between the client’s expectations and what’s actually realistic for their budget and level of ability. 

To learn more about Bespoke Beauty Bar and the Blazevich’s knack for client communication, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 162. If you’re interested in more step-by-step advice on perfecting the consultation conversation, read our previous blog post on the Six Steps to a Winning Consultation.


Insider Tips on Big Time Blogging

Blogging has grown substantially over the years—and although blogs are no longer the hot new form of communication per say, they have picked up some serious speed with the rise of social media. 

If you haven’t already launched a blog for your business, it’s time to get started! Blogs are one of the most valuable tools business owners have in their toolbox. A blog essentially acts a publishing platform for your business, and it creates the perfect avenue to market directly to your prospective clients at little to no cost. 

If you still need convincing, you’re in luck because digital marketing expert Joey Donovan Guido is here to sell you on the concept of blogging and to offer his best tips and tricks for taking your business blog and running with it big time. 

We introduced you to Joey on our Beyond The Technique podcast, but if you missed his previous interviews we’ll give you a quick recap: Joey owns his own online marketing business, Cuppa SEO, in which he helps businesses improve their searchability and master all aspects of digital marketing. 

Before this major business venture, Joey dipped his toes into the world of blogging and was the writer behind “Daddy Brain,” a blog that gave its readers a peak into the thoughts, feelings and struggles of being a modern-day dad. Although he has retired his popular “dad blog,” he’s still very active in the blogging scene. He publishes content under his business name, Cuppa SEO, and works to help other businesses get their blogs up and running as well. With his expert industry insight, Joey spills his best blogging secrets to get you excited about creating content for your business.

Blogging: Good for Business in More Ways Than One

There is much to be said for publishing a blog under your business name because, regardless of what your business is, does, or sells, a blog is a great way to build a network of customers before they even walk through your door. 

Joey reminds us that blogging is not for the purpose of selling or pushing a specific product onto our readers, instead, a business blog should be used to build relationships with your clients. For salon owners, blogs can be the perfect way to preview some of your services for new clients, and to continue that candid conversation long after their time in your chair. 


Google Loves a Good Business Blog

On the marketing side of things, what a blog does for your business is absolutely invaluable. It’s a way to connect with clients. It’s a useful tool in helping them find your business and it could wind up being the cherry on top that really seals the deal in their decision to seek out your services.

This is where SEO comes into play. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is Joey’s jam. It’s exactly what it sounds like, it is the science behind enhancing or optimizing your searchability—or essentially an attempt to get the big dogs, like Google, to notice you. 

SEO is so important to your business because in today’s digital world everyone turns to Google for recommendations, and if you provide the services that a potential client is searching for, you want to ensure that your business is listed among those top hits. 

Well, we have good news—Google loves a good business blog. If you’re pushing out content, even just once per week, Google takes notice. After a few weeks, you start to build up some credibility and suddenly your blog alone has bumped you up from the third page of hits to the first recommendation.


Boasting About Your Business? Put It in Writing

A lot of the fear around publishing a blog comes from business owners who are afraid of the writing component. Joey encourages his clients to change their thinking—don’t view blogging as a writing assignment, think of it as another platform for communicating about your business.

At the end of the day, you know more about your business and your industry than anyone else. If you’re a salon owner, you likely can’t help but get excited about the services you specialize in and you could gush about your team or your best clients all day long. Take that same energy and put it down into words—it’s as simple as that. 

You don’t have to be an amazing writer to produce a popular blog, you just have to be pushing out content that you’re passionate about, and the writing will come naturally as a result. 


Get Crafty with Content Creation

When it comes to writing a blog for your beauty business, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are so many beauty blogs out there, you could easily look to other savvy salon blogs for some ideas and find fun ways to spin them to fit your salon. 

Gentle reminder: no one is expecting you to produce Pulitzer prize-winning blog posts. Your efforts should simply be put toward adding value for your readers. Focus in on a few topics that you know are relevant to your client base and run with them. 

Quick Tip: Sometimes the best blog posts are the ones that focus in on just one micro-topic. This could be a piece on your salon’s specific technique for cutting curly hair or a product review of your new beard oil, and just really cover that topic in full. These posts are super easy for your readers to digest and they’re just short enough to leave them wanting more!


When It Comes to Blog Titles: Clarity Over Creativity

Perhaps the most important element to each blog post is the title. You could be publishing some incredible must-read content, but if that title doesn’t scream “click on me!” your readers won’t think twice before scrolling on until something else catches their eye.

Titles are your attention grabbers, they are the primary vehicles driving traffic to your blog posts, but at the end of the day—clarity always trumps creativity when it comes to titling your published pieces. 

Again, this has everything to do with SEO. If you want your blog post to pop up on Google during a relevant search, Joey says you had better throw the dog a bone and insert a few keywords into the title to increase your chances of being found. Think about the content of your blog post and dig deep to determine the main topic. Once you’re able to pinpoint the true premise of your blog post, you can begin to build off of that theme in order to brainstorm a more creative title.  

The best thing you can do when launching a blog is to simply put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Think about your target audience, all of your clients, past and potential, in order to determine what kind of content will be the most relevant to them. As long as you include your clients in the conversation and have a little fun with it, you’re going to benefit from publishing a blog under your business.     

For more insider tips on starting your business blog, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 158. Be sure to also check out Cuppa SEO’s website and business blog for more expert advice on all things digital marketing.

The Two Areas You Must Master If You Want to Be Successful

We all want to be successful, but for each and every one of us that same success looks a little bit different. Some measure their success by the amount money they have in the bank. Others view success in terms of the number of achievements, awards or honors they have received over the course of their lifetime. And for many, success simply means having the flexibility to decide what will make us feel successful day by day. 

Regardless of what success means to you, there are two major areas of your life you must master if you want to be truly successful—and that is your time and your standards.

Industry expert Kati Whitledge shares her personal trials and tribulations when it comes to achieving her own version of success, and offers her best advice on mastering those two areas in our lives that we often take for granted. 

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. Kati is passionate about helping others in the industry develop their own success stories, and wants to share her success with all of you by spilling her secrets to mastering her own time and standards, both personal and professional. 


Taking On Time

The first decision you have to make in figuring out your path to success is where you want to spend your time. Kati’s favorite social media gif says, “You have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé.” And it’s so spot on. We all get twenty-four hours a day to maximize, and as Kati says, time is the one commodity we don’t get back. 

So, how are you going to maximize your time? Sure, we all have tremendous responsibilities, but we also all have the power to prioritize our time. It’s a choice, and how you choose to define success will ultimately determine how you choose to spend your time.

For Kati, this means getting up before her one-year-old so that she can have some quiet time. It also means checking emails and logging into work before her salon opens so that she can make it to her 4 p.m. yoga class and be home before her husband gets back from picking their son up from daycare.

Success is simply about making a few value-based decisions and managing those decisions each and every day. Kati makes sure to schedule no more than two in-person meetings per day and allows herself at least two totally uninterrupted days during the week to accomplish tasks. She’s mindful about only saying yes to one after-work event per week so as not to neglect her family time, and she’s especially intentional about getting enough sleep. Every choice is purposeful—so, what does that look like for you? 


Setting Your Standards

The second decision you have to make during your journey to success is determining what standards you intend to live by. Kati likes to set standards instead of goals because a lot of times goals turn into wishful thinking. So, why don’t we shift the mindset away from setting goals and move toward setting tangible and realistic standards for ourselves. 

The important piece here, is that unlike goals, these standards are non-negotiable. Outside of work, Kati’s non-negotiables are reading, writing, checking in with her managers, and doing one load of laundry per day. While to some these might seem like items we wouldn’t even include on our checklist, that sort of attitude is exactly how we wind up with six loads of laundry and two un-finished novels sitting by our bedside. 

If you need help determining your non-negotiables, Kati recommends that you think about your environment, your identity, and your values. First, your environment, all of the places and people you surround yourself with. You have to decide who fits into your environment. This is critical because you are who you spend time with, and that decision plays an active role in determining how you spend your time. Are the places and people around you challenging you or pushing you toward your version of success?

Second, your identity, who you are. Think about who you are right now, and then who you want to become. Are there areas in your life where you’re failing to take accountability? If you were the dream version of yourself, who would you be? What do you need to do in order to become the person you were meant to be?

Kati shares some insight from her friend, Dave Ramsey, who taught her about the concept of displacement. In his words, displacement is, “pouring in the good to remove the bad.” Instead of pinning your focus on ridding yourself of your bad habits, put your energy toward bringing new and positive behaviors into your life.

Finally, your values, the attributes and aspects of life that matter to you most. Simply put, your values are displayed by your actions. You may say that you value education, but when you’re asked to sign up for an amazing opportunity, you decide to pass because you’d rather use your lunch break to sit on Facebook. You may value reading books on salon marketing or personal growth, but when the rubber meets the road, you choose to turn on your favorite Netflix series.

As Kati says, you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge. These words are here to encourage you to live by new standards and be wise with your time—all in order to get you to the level of success you truly desire. For Kati, all it took was hearing Brad Sugars say, “If you don’t know where you’ll be in five years, you’re already there.” What will it take for you? 

Use this as an opportunity to create the life and legacy you’ve always desired. 

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 159, 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. 




Emily Kelly
Getting Down to Business at Serious Business® 2019

Serious Business® is the beauty industry’s networking event of the year. The conference, put on by Neill Corporation, can be chalked up to a wonderful weekend gathering of like-minded individuals and industry leaders dedicated to personal development and bettering their business practices.

According to Neill, the purpose of Serious Business® is to expose, evoke, and evolve the thinking of its attendees in order to encourage business owners and all of their employees to reach their full potential. This year’s theme, “Get Out of Your Own Way,” well—it pretty much speaks for itself.

Here at Beyond The Technique, our team had the pleasure of attending the many educational and inspirational talks given by this year’s amazing keynote speakers and we were so proud to support our own incredible host and CEO, Kati Whitledge, along with the other 2019 breakout speakers during this year’s breakout sessions.  

After spending an incredible weekend in New Orleans networking with and learning from some of the best in the business, we compiled a list of the top 12 takeaways from the event. Salon owners—listen up!

A Change is A-Coming

Seth Mattison, author of The War at Work, opens our eyes to the massive change we’re experiencing in the workforce today. We’re slowly and steadily shifting from the age of the hierarchy to the age of the network—which promises to change the way we work.  

Ultimately, this shift will lead toward more freedom for stylists, and in return less security for salon owners—but this is a good thing. Seth encourages salon owners and managers to welcome this change, it’s a chance to prove your loyalty to your tribe by propelling your team forward.

If you work to provide your team of stylists with ample opportunities to develop their skills and educate their peers, in return you’ll begin to build an even stronger relationship, one based on mutual trust and respect instead of unstable top-down leadership.

Personal Growth is Professional Growth

Advancing in your career can’t happen without a little personal growth and development. If you’re looking to level up in your professional life, you should start by looking for those areas in your personal life that could use some improvement.  

The pioneers of Emergent Wisdom, Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles, stand by the idea that breaking down those personal barriers is what will ultimately lead to developing your best business practices.

As founders of the groundbreaking Bridge Method, Panos and Smiles encourage all of us to get outside of ourselves in order to leverage our potential both in and outside of our profession. They recently co-authored the trailblazing book, Now or Never, which fits in perfectly with this year’s Serious Business theme—if you don’t dig deep now in order to determine which of your own personal tendencies are holding you back today, you won’t be better tomorrow—the time is now.

Get Social With It

There’s something to be said for social media marketing, and Shama Hyder is here to give you the low down on the importance of having a digital presence in today’s technological world. Hyder is the CEO of the award-winning agency, Zen Media, and the best-selling author of two books, The Zen of Social Media Marketing and Momentum.

As a keynote speaker with vast knowledge of the world of marketing, Hyder encourages salon owners to really think about the benefits surrounding social media marketing. She says the best way to gain a following across any of the various platforms available today is to find your niche in the marketplace and milk it.

Hyder shares the three principles for gaining momentum on social media.

It’s About What We Can Do for You

It’s not about what your brand says about you or your business, it’s about what it says about the people who believe in it—your clients are your brand ambassadors.

Agility Is Based in Analytics

Numbers are your friend—use your data and analytics to tell a better story.  

The People Are Vying for Video

Video has three times more reach than any other content, heed Hyder’s advice and make 2019 the year your brand focuses on video content.

Business Is About Building Relationships

The quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life—or, in this case—your business. Psychotherapist, Esther Perel, recognizes the unique advantage that stylists have when it comes to building real relationships with their clients and customers. 

In addition to the generous amount of time stylists are able to spend with their clients in the chair, the salon is one of the few havens where human touch is actually encouraged, and that alone lends itself to a great deal of trust between the two parties involved. Capitalize on this opportunity—make it a point to really connect with your clients.  

Communicate With Your Clients

It might sound simple, but the key to keeping your clients is solid communication. Joey Coleman, author of Never Lose a Customer Again, argues that most businesses lose that connection with their clients after the purchase. So, he’s challenging salon owners and stylists to keep that connection and communication alive well beyond the point of sale.

If you want to keep your clients coming back, let them know! In order to improve the client experience, you have to carry on the conversation long after your clients leave the salon. Get personal—show your clients you’re thinking about them, spread love—and you’ll never lose another client again.

Know Your Worth

As president of the Gene Juarez Salon and Spa group in Seattle, Washington, Scott Missad is all too familiar with the stress that comes with pricing your own services. He encourages stylists and salon owners to remember the difference between value and price.   

Your clients aren’t just paying for their cut and color, they’re paying for the time spent in your chair—the full salon experience. As a salon owner or stylist, it’s important to that you give yourself credit where credit is due. Understand your worth and promote yourself with confidence. In return, your prices will always reflect the value of the services you provide.


Surround Yourself With Success

As the owner of Be Inspired Salon in Madison, Wisconsin, Kati Whitledge knows how important it is to build a strong team of stylists. For many, the recruiting process is exhausting and can feel like a vicious cycle, but Kati encourages salon owners and stylists alike to get exciting about on-boarding by viewing it as an opportunity.  

Kati shares the three steps she always takes when it comes to recruiting.

You Must Master Thy Self

You can’t expect to successfully lead others without first conquering your own faults and flaws. Once you learn who you are, where you might fall short and where you often succeed, then you can begin to build your team with people who compliment you in those areas.

Be Tenacious When it Comes to Recruiting

You have to be relentless in the recruiting process. In fact, you should always be on the lookout for those people with potential, because regardless of whether or not you’re looking to add to your team in that moment, those personalities can be hard to come by and if you know they’re going to be a great fit, you can always find room.  

The Truth Is in the Technique: How Do You Hire?

Finally, it all comes down to the nuts and bolts of hiring. At the end of the day, your salon’s culture comes first. If you find that person with the strong personality who still needs time to develop their technical skills—hire them. Skills can be taught, but attitudes can’t always be changed.

Be Better Than the Best

Bad-Ass Business Coach, Lyn Christian, works with professionals in every industry in order to encourage them to take control of their lives and ultimately take charge of their careers.

Whether you’re looking to reinvent your career or you simply need help taking your business to that next level, Lyn believes the best way to close the gap between who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow is to find a fresh point of reference. Take the time periodically to sit down, look at your current situation and write down your goals. You might be surprised at how your objectives shift as you continue to develop your career.  

Be Nice, or Else!

The founder and dean of Paul Mitchell’s educational division, Winn Claybaugh, is here with one simple snippet of advice—be nice, or else. Being kind to others is the one behavioral practice that is guaranteed to guide you toward a life of love and leadership. Not to mention, it’s unbelievably easy and the rewards are immeasurable.

If you can create, train and sustain a “be nice” community in your workplace, potential hires will be dying to work with you, clients and customers will be determined to do business with you, and your team will thank you. 

Double Down on Your Salon Culture

As the owner of the Nutur Salon and Spa group in Columbus, Ohio, Patrick Thompson is all too familiar with the importance of forming a solid salon culture. Your culture should never be overlooked, it’s the energy that fuels the relationships that your business relies on.  

The two most important assets to any salon business are your teammates and your clients—and the one tried and true way to preserve those relationships is to provide an environment that both parties want to be a part of.  

Find Partners With Potential

As the Founder and CEO of Qnity and the 2 to 10 Project with a background in salon ownership, Tom Kuhn is uniquely qualified to see all angles that go into successful partnering. He believes that the secret to forming these relationships and ultimately finding a partner with potential is to keep competition out of the conversation.

Whether you’re looking to leverage your business or you’re hoping to hand over some of your responsibilities, building relationships through partnerships can be a great way to add value to your business while also providing a potential exit strategy for salon owners who are ready for their next career move. Partnerships are all about possibility—so, keep your eyes peeled for that next promising opportunity.   

Put Yourself First

Health and Wellness Expert, Ben Greenfield, reminds us that our professional performance relies on our personal health and longevity. Life is a delicate balance, and as busy industry professionals, many of us forget to take care of ourselves at that most basic level.

We all aspire to some level of health, wealth and happiness, but it’s important to keep up the effort in each of these categories. At the end of the day, a lavish life has little meaning without people to share it with. Take time for yourself, put energy toward maintaining your relationships, both personal and professional, and relish in the little things.

How to Craft Your Culture and Ultimately Shape Salon Operations

Culture is the spirit that lives in your salon. Your salon’s culture is what ignites your employees. It drives the decision making within your business, and ultimately, your culture dictates how your salon operates—so, if you want to have some control over your operations, you have to first understand how to craft your culture. 

The queens of culture keeping, Keri Davis and Karla Lopez-Martinez from Beauty Backbone, are here to share their secrets for crafting a positive culture in order to shape your salon operations. 

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 reputeGila 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 crafting their own salon culture, and now they’re here to help you do the same. 


Communicating Your Business Mission is a Must

The most important step in crafting your culture is creating that one common goal. If you want your team to come to work feeling motivated each and every day, they need to have a tangible mission to work towards. 

Keri believes the best way to decide on your salon’s business mission, is to ask yourself one question, “What are my three core values?”. Of course, very few of us can recite our top three right here on the spot, so—let’s break it down even further.

Who Are You?

Now is the time to dig deep in order to determine who you are at your core and ultimately what matters the most to you as a business owner, both personally and professionally. 

What Do You Believe In?

After you’re able to pinpoint exactly who you are at your roots, it’s time to dig into your most basic and fundamental beliefs in order to determine what kind of culture you’re going to build within your salon. 

What Are Your Non-Negotiables?

Everyone has them, and as a business owner you need to clearly communicate your non-negotiables with your team from the get-go. Honesty is key in crafting your ideal culture. You have to set those ground rules and clearly lay down your expectations before you can watch your team soar. 


The Formula for Guiding Operations

Keri and Karla approach their salon operations as a formula of behaviors and actions that produce results. So, if you want to master this formula, you have to first differentiate between your individual operations and determine which ones might require your attention.  

If you want to have more control over, let’s say, your salon’s customer service, you have to clearly communicate the kind of attitudes and behaviors you expect of your team in order to see those results. This boils down to the specific verbiage your front desk team is using over the phone or when checking in your guests to the exact route you expect your stylists to use when taking new clients on a tour of your salon. 

The more specific you are in your instructions, the more precise your results will be. Your team is your vehicle for maintaining your culture and really seeing your salon operations through. If your team knows what’s expected of them, they’ll quickly fall into their groove, and your culture will surely follow suit.


The Cultural Commandments

Many of you, as salon owners, likely already have a mission statement in place, but now it’s time to figure out where that mission exists. To be clear, we’re not referring to where it’s written out on the “About Us” page on your website, or how it’s buried deep in the paperwork you use for hiring. We’re referring to where this mission exists within your salon. 

Someone somewhere along the way told us that we needed to have a mission statement in order to build a business, but no one told us how that mission statement becomes this living, breathing thing within our business—and that is where your salon culture comes in. 

Culture is this buzzword now and suddenly everyone is scrambling to figure out what their culture is or if they even have any sort of culture in place at all, but if you really think about it—

this is nothing new. Every salon has established its own “vibe.” It’s an inevitable component of running a business and building a team. Keri and Karla both emphasize that it’s really not about finding your culture, but that instead, it’s about nurturing that energy and keeping your culture alive. 

If you’d like to learn more about this beauty business phenomenon, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 157, and don’t forget to check out Keri and Karla’s digital platform, Beauty Backbone, for the ultimate in-depth guide to crafting your salon culture.  

Emily Kelly
How to Become a Hair Boss

The best thing about working in the beauty industry is that none of us are here by accident. We all followed our passion and, regardless of our own individual interests or skill sets, our paths have all lead us here, and that alone is pretty rad.

So, we know that we all have this innate desire to be the best in the business, which is why we show up each and every day with such great enthusiasm for our work, but what does it take to become a true Hair Bossin the beauty industry today?

Industry expert and the original Hair Boss herself, Jamie Wiley, is here to walk us through exactly what it takes to reach that next level. Jamie works behind the chair in between her appointments as a session stylist. She has a degree in technical communications as well as an associate’s degree in the science of cosmetology and she’s the author of the book, Hair Boss, a hairstylist’s guide to owning their career. 

Before finding her stride in the beauty industry, Jamie served five years in the United States Army, which taught her everything from discipline, to loyalty, to selfless service—qualities that have taken her far in her life, both in the beauty industry and beyond. Jamie offers her best advice for hairstylists who are totally committed to owning their career and taking it to the next level.


Learning the Business of Hair

Ask yourself one question, “What is it that I want out of my career?”

For all of us in the beauty industry, our answers go far beyond financial stability, we want to be successful, we want to build relationships, we want to grow and prosper in the art of pampering our people. We all have aspirations, but we also all take time to get there. 

Jamie knows firsthand that if you want to make the most out of your career, you have to be the one to take the reins and steer yourself in the direction that you want to go, nobody else can do it for you. Oftentimes, we leave cosmetology school with vast knowledge on how to cut, color and style, but with little to no knowledge on how to actually build our business or direct our brand. 

Jamie says that the key to becoming a Hair Boss is to learn the business of hair. If you want to catapult yourself into your dream career, it’s imperative that you dig deep and find the drive to push yourself beyond your boundaries when it comes to learning how to do business—so, let’s get started. 


Building Your Clientele From the Ground Up

Jamie is an army wife, and with her family’s constant relocation she has become all too familiar with the daunting task that is building your clientele from scratch.

Jamie believes the secret to building a solid book when you’re just starting out is really in your communication. First, you have to find clients to market yourself to. You have to put yourself out there, whether that be on social media, over an email marketing campaign or live and in person at events where potential clients might be lingering.  

The most effective way to gain a solid clientele is to simply be true to yourself. If you brand yourself authentically and are honest about your skill set and your passions, you’re going to attract your ideal clients and your book will quickly begin to fill itself. 


Offering Solutions Not Making Sales

Let’s be clear about something—when we’re talking about recommending retail, we’re not focused on making the sale. Our goal is to provide a solid, long-term solution to our client’s haircare needs.

Jamie is incredibly passionate about pushing stylists beyond their fear of making sales. She encourages everyone in the beauty industry to remember one thing—that we are in the customer service business. Recommending retail isn’t about sales, but instead, it’s about creating satisfied customers by providing them with the products and tools needed to recreate their looks at home. 

In her book, Hair Boss, Jamie offers word for word scripts for selling products so that you can feel confident in making that sale, and she does so in a way that prompts your clients to understand the true intentions behind each product recommendation. 


Uncovering Your Full Potential

Not only is it important to understand your worth when it comes to building confidence in your career, but it’s a crucial piece in setting your prices. 

You have to attack your career with confidence and live out your passions intentionally each and every day. You deserve to be where you are, you have earned each step, and your prices should reflect your journey. 

Whether you’re closing in on your greatest achievement or you’re just setting sail, Jamie offers step-by-step advice for how to reach your biggest business goals. If you want to learn more about Jamie’s personal journey through the industry, listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, episode 155, and be sure to check out her book, Hair Boss, for all of her insider tips for truly owning your career.

Emily Kelly