David Thurston on Industry Inclusion

Commission or rental... There are a lot of people in the beauty industry that are still engaged in an ugly fight over which salon structure is better. While this fight is emotionally-charged for many… I feel this decade-old fight is tired, out-of-touch, and divisive.

Several individuals and organizations within the beauty industry have stereotyped, slighted, or blackballed our salon (and salons like ours) from opportunities within the industry solely based on our structure, ignoring the fact that we put tremendous value on education, professionalism, and teamwork.

Many on both sides have dug in their heals for so long that they haven’t noticed how rental and commission salons have both evolved to a point where they’re not much different from each other… commission stylists have become more independent, and rental stylists have better access to education and collaborative opportunities.


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At this point, the salon structure is nothing more than a physical attribute (like being tall) and says very little about who we are, what we value, or how we behave.

I believe there isn’t one right salon structure for every stylist. Also, I believe there are good salons and bad salons within each structure. Finally, I believe a salon shouldn’t be judged on its salon structure, but instead on whether the salon has cultivated an environment where the stylists are happy and successful… because isn’t that what really matters?

It’s time to end the fight. Strive for a spirit of inclusiveness. There’s room for us all.

- David at Butterfly Loft Salon 

About: David Thurston is the founder of Butterfly Loft salon and Ubungalows Luxury Salon Suites, that combined make up a 10,000 square foot salon and spa located in Los Angeles, California.  He is also the founder of Butterfly Circus, a touring education team made up of some of the most recognizable stylists in the world, who collaborate to put on large hair shows.  David is also the co-founder of Butterfly Loft Academy, a hands-on education company that teaches the latest Balayage, color melt, and vivid/pastel coloring techniques. Follow Butterfly Loft on Instagram.