Success Stories: Divide and Conquor

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After 10 years of working as a hairdresser at a small salon in Wellesley, MA, Barbara Canty knew she had a great opportunity on her hands when the owner of a nearby salon, The Color Studio, offered to sell it to her. But because she had plans to raise a family soon, she didn't want to go it alone. Luckily, Paula D'Allessandro, who worked at The Color Studio, felt the same way, so the two chose to buy the salon together. Almost five years later, the partners have more than doubled the salon's numbers and received a 2004 Global Salon Business Award for Financial Productivity, USA East, for their efforts. Here, Canty tells how they made it happen.

 The Color Studio's Paula D'Allessandro and Barbara Canty flank Leeza Gibbons, host of the Global Salon Business Awards.
The Color Studio's Paula D'Allessandro and Barbara Canty flank Leeza Gibbons, host of the Global Salon Business Awards.

KNOW YOUR STRONG POINTS

From the beginning, the partners agreed that Canty would be in charge of the salon's business operations, and D'Allessandro would manage the salon and the employees. "She does her end and I do mine," says Canty. "We communicate really well together, so it works."

KEEP LEARNING

"We're constantly keeping up with education here, and customers are attracted to that," says Canty. The Color Studio's employees must take at least four classes a year, as well as participate in in-house training. "We have a really good reputation for doing the best color in the industry," she says, "and we want to maintain that reputation." Additionally, employees are encouraged to stay up-to-date on pop culture and fashion and beauty trends.

CARE FOR CLIENTS

Customer service is key at The Color Studio. "We try to treat every client like a cherished friend by making sure they are happy," says Canty. In addition to offering beverages and birthday discounts, the salon mails out a quarterly newsletter informing clients about events, promotions and new services. "We go through the computer every six months, and if we haven't seen a client in a while, we'll send them a 25-percent-off certificate telling them we miss them," adds Canty.

RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT

Constantly seeking new customers has helped The Color Studio achieve its tremendous growth. Canty suggests using word of mouth marketing to gain new clientele. If a client refers someone new to the salon, both she and the new client will get 25 percent off their next appointment. The salon also focuses on following up on client satisfaction. "Every new client gets a letter at their house after their appointment," says Canty. "We want to give them information about our business while letting them know how excited we are to have them at our salon."