8 Steps to Opening a Salon Studio

photo courtesy of Sola Salon Studios

You’ve been dreaming about owning your own salon—a place where you get to be the boss and make all the decisions, including setting your own schedule, picking what products to carry and decorating the space to fit your personal style. Sounds pretty good, right? Follow these 8 simple steps to turn your dream of salon ownership into a reality. 

Step 1: Gut Check

Self-motivated stylists choose salon studios for a variety of reasons: to create their one-of-a-kind salon culture, build their clientele, grow their business and enjoy the freedom and benefits of salon ownership. Sola Salon Studios empowers stylists by alleviating some of the risk associated with entrepreneurship, providing retail opportunity, furnishings, equipment and, best of all, brand recognition. Launching your own business in a salon studio doesn’t require a huge investment, but you will need creativity, courage and a loyal clientele.

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Step 2: Location, Location, Location

There’s a reason realtors are always harping on this phrase. Ideally, your new salon should be within close proximity to your current salon, and to where your clients live. It’s also a nice perk if that salon is convenient for you as well. Sola Salon Studios has locations all across the US and now in Toronto, too, which for the most part are conveniently located near major intersections and within shopping centers and retail areas.

This means nearby amenities (a plus for most multi-tasking clients) and, also, visibility for attracting new clients. Contact your local Sola to get all the details. Really, it's that simple! Then simply schedule a tour and get ready to pick out your new digs.

Step 3: Set Up Your Systems

When you go out on your own, there are additional responsibilities that fall in your lap, from managing your appointment book to understanding your numbers. Consider implementing technology to help you keep track of the details. Get started with SolaGenius: a cutting edge app designed to streamline and supercharge your Sola business. Let SolaGenius help you accept bookings 24/7, manage clients and track their history, streamline your personal calendar, build a following, accept payments, get analytics, run reports and more. When you go out on your own, it’s so important to put the right systems in place so you can work smarter, not harder.

Step 4: Pick Your Product

When you’re the boss, you decide what fills the back bar and the shelves. Products play a huge role in building salon culture.

When you’re picking products, look for benefits associated with certain lines. Develop a relationship with your local sales rep; they will keep you informed about specials and new product intros. And, don’t overlook access to education and on-going support—these are things that’ll keep you at the forefront in a fast-paced industry. Once you’ve chosen your line, Sola helps stock the shelves by offering a $400 dollar retail credit, that’s a value of $800 on your shelves—an incentive stylist Josie Battista calls “instrumental in getting started.”

Step 5: Get Down to Business

Before opening shop, you’ll have to obtain salon and sales tax licenses, and file your trade name registration. We know this sounds scary and it isn’t exactly as exciting as choosing your salon name. But, don’t worry! Sola’s comprehensive start-up manual makes the process easy by providing requisite forms and information.

Once the legal stuff’s done, you’ll have to make a few more decisions about the services you’ll offer, your hours and pricing. This is the fun part where you get to decide what you want your business to offer...it's your salon, after all.

Step 6: Create Your Environment

For many stylists, the most exciting thing about salon ownership is creating an environment that reflects their personality. You want your space to look and feel like you. And it starts with choosing a salon name and decorating. Paint colors, for instance, help to establish a mood—and Sola will put your choice of color on the walls at no additional cost.

Remember, devil’s in the details. You’ll need a hamper for towels and a broom with dustpan. Make these everyday staples fun with cheerful colors or interesting patterns. When you’re ready for finishing touches, hang your artwork, set up speakers to play the music of your choice or put up a television if you prefer to watch sitcoms or the news. Don’t forget, though, that you’re the most important aspect of the salon environment, and it’s the experience you provide that drives repeat business.

Step 7: Spread the Word

In today’s fast-paced market, tapping into marketing and social media is essential to the health of every modern business—especially small businesses. To make it easy, Sola provides a basic platform for stylists to set up a website page where clients can learn more about your salon and access contact information and a booking link.

Once you’ve established your webpage on the Sola website, consider building a separate business website, too. You’ll be able to link to it on your Sola page, and you’ll have more space to elaborate on your services and expertise, and to attract clients by posting pictures of satisfied customers, adding how-to videos, offering product recommendations, running promotions or linking to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—all of which are important tools.

Step 8: It’s Go Time

From the moment you step foot through your door, you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom to live the life you love. Consider providing a welcome gift to your clients, such as a travel kit or samples tied up with a ribbon, as recognition of their support and loyalty—to thank them for following you and being a part of your new business endeavor. They will love celebrating and being a part of your success. Then, take some time to revel in the tremendous accomplishment you’ve completed! Because let’s face it, you can either go to work, or you can be the boss.