The Salons of Yesteryear
Years ago, Salons weren’t just places to get your hair done. They were powerhouse businesses that could revolutionize a community. Mega salons in downtown Chicago, for example, could house over 70 employees, busy on three large floors of pristine white, modern interiors that screamed chic.
They were enterprises that earned people’s respect as well as their love and admiration through cultivating a unique bond between stylist and client, generating large amounts of profit, and leaving you with the most beautiful balayage and color melt you’ve ever seen.
From balayage to foiliage to color melts, they could spur new trends into suburban areas, spreading fashion know-how like oil on wet hair. It was something to be a part of. Something to trust in when you needed to know your hair was in good hands. Something we all thought would last forever. But is this the end?
Salon Culture: Changes A brew
2020 brought cultural changes unlike anything we’ve seen before. The challenges made us realize just how fragile our elite “enterprises” in all areas of business really were. It wasn’t just people who went into lockdown, it was income. And so massive cultural shifts were demanded in order to survive what many are calling “The Great Resignation,” where more than 4 million people decided to quit and begin working from home as a result of the pandemic restrictions. Meanwhile, the pandemic continued to hold the beauty industry hostage, with financial livelihood at risk.
As time went on, Large-scale salon owners scrambled to shift plans as the changes continued to apply unwanted pressure. Maybe they would drop employee numbers or convert from large-scale to booth rental, complete with plastic/glass partitions between stylist seats. But no one knew how long the pandemic would last or if making permanent changes was a good idea. The only thing known was nothing would ever be the same.
Small-scale Salon Vs. Large Scale Salon
The truth is, salon culture was changing even before the pandemic. With booth rentals on the rise, articles were published between 2010-2016 discussing the vampire nature of them and their negative effects on salon ownership. But amidst the negative attention, the numbers of individualized spaces only continued to increase. Eventually, there was a slow, gradual shift from negative to positive, leaving us with this idea that maybe booth rentals and salon suites weren’t so bad after all.
Objections were still raised regarding benefits and education though, things only large-scale salons could provide. But lo and behold, Instagram famous hair gurus began rolling out their own easy-to-purchase education with just a click of a button from their social media pages. Booth rental or owning your own small salon suite suddenly looked pretty good with 100% profit retention, education from the elite hairstylists of the world, and easy-to-access courses provided on business ownership and how to maximize profits. Booth rental, salon suites, and single-person salon studios began providing what large-scale salons could provide and more.
Maybe the pandemic accelerated salon culture towards a change that was already going to happen. It just made everyone learn the hard way and get there quicker. So we have to ask, where does this leave the industry now? Are single person boutique studios, booth rentals, and salon suites really going to replace large-scale salons? Depends on who you ask. They will only continue to increase as the work-form-home culture expands, with almost 50% of employers allowing their employees to work from home 100% of the time. Over the next five years, thee nature of “working” in general is shifting and salons need to shift with it. So what can be done?
Here are 7 Tips for Salon Owners and Stylists Alike to Consider as our Culture Continues to Shift Towards Booth Rental, Salon Suites, and Single Person Studios.
1) As a Salon Owner, be open to new ideas, like salon ownership turning towards a real estate focus, providing booth rentals or salon suites.
2) Rethink education. With resources like Behindthechair.com | Education & Inspiration for Professional Hairstylists, A community for hairstylists and salon owners | SALT Society (saltsocietyeducation.com), and KRISTEN LUMIERE, your stylist’s have access to top notch education like nothing we’ve seen before. A salon owner can offer to pay for these educational tutorials, in-person events, and bringing traveling educators to you as a means of retaining employees. For solo stylists, investing in these resources is a game changer, making you solid as an independent artist.
3) Invest in technological advancements in extension application, spa treatments, new-wave booking procedures (like text-based booking or links via social media), and SalonPro Multi-zone infrared Hair Color Processors.
4) Work your social media the way it was meant to be worked. Instagram for example is still one of the leading social media platforms for hairstylists. Inspiration never quits with the quick reels, live-feed, stories and photographs of the best hair techniques out there. But it can be overwhelming. Start by selecting 2-3 primary teachers for cut and color. For cuts, see Anh Co Tran | Celebrity Hair Stylist Los Angeles - Anh Co Tran and JACOB K HAIR. For color see SALT Hair (saltct.com) and KRISTEN LUMIERE.
5) Take a risk. Don’t be afraid to begin your booth rental or salon suite journey. There are abundant educational resources available to guide you through the business side of the hair industry. Kristen Lumiere offers new and innovative ways to break down pricing, build your brand from scratch, and reduce the amount of hours worked while increasing profit.
6) Stay on track with equipment that will increase your ability to get results. SalonPro offers everything from professional grade blow dryers to revolutionary color processors that change the way your client experiences their color results. Don’t fall behind when providing the best equipment for your space.
7) Refuse generic information. There are so many sources claiming they can help you grow, but they are just regurgitating generic information. If you want to truly grow, learn from the best regarding marketing, the use of social media, and the steps involved in recruiting mini to mega-influencers. All your marketing can be bundled into a cultivated relationship with the people ready to supply you with a built-in following, expertly curated photos and videos, and connections that reach places you didn’t know existed. Girlbehindthehustle is a fantastic resource. She offers a goal friend accountability session, coaching you on all things social media and how to succeed no matter what industry you’re in.
The Great Resignation: Why Everyone Is Quitting (linkedin.com)
Reasons Why Salon Suite Investment is Best for 2020