Salon suites have continued to play an integral part in the Canadian market over the last few years. That said, have they had an impact on the traditional salon environment? Here’s what we found out.
At one time, owning a salon meant finding the right property, hiring a team of hairstylists, deciding the colour and retail product lines to carry, and opening for business. While this is still the case for many salons, in recent years a new business model has become a part of the Canadian salon landscape: Salon suites.
No matter which side you’re on, with more suites cropping up, “It’s being viewed as a legitimate model for salon ownership,” says Linda Lefebvre, owner of My Salon Suite in Ottawa. It seems that salon suites are here to stay.
Reality of Real Estate
For many owners, the cost of property rental is one of the largest expenses. It’s a situation that, according to Hila Zer-Aviv, manager at Sola Salon Suites in Toronto, has hairstylists walking through her doors. “There’s also the fact that buildings are being sold, and salon owners may not know where to go next,” she adds. In Calgary and Edmonton,
Jeff Wade saw the need for affordable real estate and launched Citizen Salon Studios as a result. “Smaller salons were struggling and we saw a shift in the economic environment, creating a need for this model,” he says.
Securing the best environment is key to helping hairstylists make the leap to business owners. “We focus on finding the right physical space to appeal to potential clients in that area,” says Wade. From parking to ample natural lighting, the goal for Wade is to simplify the selection process for the potential salon owner.
Independent ownership can be a solitary pursuit, but suite managers continually work to create a collaborative atmosphere. “This is a very family-based team and we have a few practices that have created this atmosphere,” says Zer-Aviv. Suites also host education events that focus on accounting, marketing and social media. Lefebvre believes it’s their business programs that really help guide new and experienced salon owners. “Lunch and learns, especially on marketing and health and wellness sessions really help them run successful businesses,” she says.
In addition, hairstylists can also take advantage of education offered through brands and include everything from cutting to colour techniques to inspiration.
Urban Versus Suburban
“The suburbs have embraced [this movement] much more quickly than the urban areas,” says Zer-Aviv. While the reasons for the early adoption of this business model aren’t exactly clear-cut, it’s exciting to see suburban dwellers responding so positively.
Let’s Get the Facts
While salon suites differ in the time frame, one thing remains true: Renters can leave prior to a certain time period without consequence.
Build Your Client Base
With different businesses based in the same space, cross promotion among businesses is a real thing. Encourage your clients to explore the other on-site offerings and have their customers do the same.
Own Your Independence
Initially, the appeal of suites may be suited for more established hairstylists, however suite owners have found some young business professionals to be just as successful as their more experienced counterparts.