As Editor in Chief of American Salon, Kelley Donahue reports on all aspects of the professional beauty industry, including salon business-building strategies, seasonal hair and fashion trends, salon services and techniques, and timely issues impacting manufacturers, schools, salons and distributor principals. In addition to conducting photo shoots--one of which was the recipient of an ABBIES Award for Best Magazine Cover--Donahue also travels extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, sourcing out new trends and representing American Salon at major industry functions and educational events.
Like many of her peers, Wendy McCown started her professional beauty career embracing the mindset that she was first and foremost an artist—business wasn’t on her radar. “When I went to beauty school 20 years ago, that’s the last thing I wanted to think about,” says McCown, owner of Signatures Salon in Lake Charles, LA. As a salon owner, she soon began to realize that if she wanted to elevate her establishment to a whole new plateau, it would require her to take more than a business-as-usual approach. “I began working with a coach on business procedures, including cash ow,” McCown says. She also set plans in motion for improving staff retention and morale with a concept she devised and dubbed the three-day workweek. It requires stylists to work three 8½-hour days with 30-minute lunch breaks, but maintain a 90 percent productivity level during those eight hours.
“Productivity is measured by the amount of white space in stylists’ books,” she says. “Essentially, they aren’t working more hours than usual— it’s just there’s no down time while they’re working,” says McCown, who’s in the process of completing an e-book that she can share with fellow salons and who’s in continual pursuit of practices she can employ in the salon to ensure continued success. “When it comes right down to it, we want this to be a long-term career,” says McCown, who recently became a member of American Salon’s new Better Business Network, a program designed to help beauty professionals lead more successful, sustainable and pro table salon businesses.
Not surprisingly, I’ve heard similar comments from many salon owners and managers I’ve met at shows and events. They’ve expressed a desire for sound business data that enables their enterprises to survive and thrive in an era where uncertainty seems to be the new norm. The good news is that these best practices will be the bases of our inaugural Better Business Conference and Awards to be held on October 21-22 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Philadelphia. I look forward to networking with you there. —Kelley Donahue, editor in chief, firstname.lastname@example.org
IMAGE ABOVE: Customer service and staff loyalty programs are a major component of Signatures Salon’s business strategies.