From boosting retail sales to hiring the right staff, we spoke with some of the industry’s top salon owners for their best business advice.
Making a name for yourself
1. Good photography of your work plays a part in progressively getting your name out there. Consistency is key, and improvement in your work takes time. —Tony Ricci, Ricci Hair Co., Edmonton
2. Entering competitions including the Contessas is important if you want to attract the best hairstylists. We’ve found it’s especially important with younger hairstylists, many of whom are looking for a salon where they have these opportunities available to them. —Roshan Arul and Alann Sluser, KoKo the Salon, Edmonton
3. You are the driver of your own paycheque. My rule of thumb is talking [to your client] about their dream hairstyle and planting the seed for when they need to come in for their next visit. —Dana Lyseng, Supernova Salon, North Vancouver, B.C.
4. Social media is a real focus for us right now, especially Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are our advertising. We actually have a monthly draw for a gift basket to give our clients the incentive to check in through Facebook. —Carolyn Fowler, Salon Utopia, Windsor, Ont.
Stabilizing your finances
5. Our staff get a separate cheque for their tips along with a report of how much each client gave. Two of our staff want to buy a home and I’ve gotten them to save for it with their tips. When you receive your tips as cash, you’ll spend it more easily but we found that a weekly cheque means they’ll see it adding up. —Roshan Arul and Alann Sluser, KoKo the Salon, Edmonton
6. By using their holidays as a way to start the conversation on prebooking, I’ve found it’s great too, especially for younger staff. This is a great way for them to get more comfortable and more motivated when it comes to rebooking their clients. —Dana Lyseng, Salon Supernova, North Vancouver, B.C.
7. For one of our meetings, I have someone come in to talk about RRSP planning so my younger staff can see the value of retirement planning and live a better quality of life. The meeting is focused for them, so they can share how they’re thinking and feeling and it gives me the opportunity see where I need to be accountable. —Michael Crispel, Earth Salon, Toronto
Driving your sales force
8. Incentive contests create a bit of competition among the stylists. We change it up so it’s based on who increases their sales by the best percentage and offer cash prizes, education vouchers and tools. —Tony Ricci, Ricci Hair Co., Edmonton
9. Instead of the usual percentage commission on retail sails, our staff get commission cheques once every three months. Often, they’ll save them for a vacation and it has a more significant value. —Roshan Arul and Alann Sluser, KoKo The Salon, Edmonton
10. Retail is very important. Statistics prove that those who don’t sell retail don’t have as much client retention. Without it you don’t have the money for education, reception staff or assistants. —Michelle Pargee, Milica SalonSpa, Langley, B.C.
Cultivating a team environment
11. Build your team on your company culture. It’s tough to know if someone is the right hairstylist for our salon when I’m hiring. But I want to have an environment that’s nurturing, enthusiastic, kind and non-competitive among staff members. We are all trying to lift each other up because the success of everyone is important.—Michelle Pargee, Milica SalonSpa, Langley, B.C.
12. Having monthly team meetings, where we talk about what is going on in the salon, is important. We always start off our team meetings with each person sharing something positive they are working on and a piece of good news, personal or professional. —Dana Lyseng, Supernova, Salon, North Vancouver, B.C.
13. Give your staff ownership of what they are doing. We need to help them develop and invest in their career. I lead by example: I’ll sweep the floors, and when my staff have a client I’ll help them out. —Michael Crispel, Earth Salon, Toronto
Make room for education
14. My staff are mandated to take at least two courses a year, to maintain a passion for the business and the brand. The bottom line might be the same but I have happier people and a better-quality product. You can’t expect the world out of people if you don’t invest in them. —Michael Crispel, Earth Salon, Toronto
15. Sometimes I’ll push staff into getting started with photo shoots by helping out with the photography. By doing this, it gives them a start. And as they progress, I try to find ways to help with photographers and models. —Tony Ricci, Ricci Hair Co., Edmonton
16. As an owner, it is an obligation to get the younger staff members involved. Sometimes that means putting in a lot of added work, but I want to give back to the industry that has been great to me. I think it’s important to create and build that legacy. —Roshan Arul and Alann Sluser, KoKo the Salon, Edmonton
17. Generational management is an art form. I think some of the best workers are in their 40s and 50s. They are the ones most likely to help out, and they were just taught to do things. Younger ones are looking to build their clientele, to be inspired, and the simplicity of recognition goes a long way. I think that many young people want to be valued and appreciated, and they need to make time to do it. —Michelle Pargee, Milica SalonSpa, Langley, B.C.
18. I have found that our more mature clients are looking to go to younger stylists. You don’t always need 15 years of experience, you need a terrific personality, too. —Carolyn Fowler, Salon Utopia, Windsor, Ont.
Finding the perfect balance
19. When it comes to vacation, I seldom say no. If they can make sure that their shifts are covered, I think it’s about having a mutual respect for each other. When people have been there for five years, I’m a little more lenient. They have to earn a living but have a life, too, and I find they usually come back and work more effectively having had that time away. —Tony Ricci, Ricci Hair Co., Edmonton
20. It’s all about time management. Let clients know in advance if certain staff will be on holidays when they are booking their next appointment. At that point there’s often enough time to either push their appointments back a week or up a week to accommodate for their hairstylist being on holidays. —Michael Crispel, Earth Salon, Toronto