Kim Bennett Horvath: Kim Bennett Studios
According to a recent study by Professional Consultants & Resources, nearly half of the salons in the industry will offer some type of booth rental by 2050. There are already huge salon suite complexes around the country, and in California, “flex salons” allow a stylist to rent a chair for only the hours she needs, so this model is fast growing in popularity. One of the innovators of the booth rental model is Sola Salon Suites, which has over 200 suite rental salons in 36 states. In 2004, founders Stratten Smith (a former salon owner in St. Louis) and Matt Briger (an entrepreneur) created the first Sola Salon Suite in Denver. The concept was so successful that they built a few more locations before widely franchising. Kim Bennett Horvath, a Sola Studio owner and Senior National Educator for Paul Mitchell, shares her story about how partnering with the Sola brand has helped her business to thrive.
Horvath grew up in the small town of Delta in the Western Slope region of Colorado. She got her cosmetology license at a vocational technical school after she graduated high school and never looked back. “I worked in a commission salon where the owner mentored me,” she says. Later, she moved to Denver to support the Paul Mitchell brand (she’s been a Paul Mitchell national educator for 20 years) and was working at a booth rental salon at the same time that Paul Mitchell started its Focus Salon Program.
The next step was opening her own salon. About 10 years ago she opened the first Paul Mitchell Focus Salon—Kim Bennett Studios at Sola Salons. In 2012, she became the first person to receive the Paul Mitchell Focus Award. “I would say partnering my business with the Sola Salon Studios and Paul Mitchell was the best decision I ever made,” says Horvath. As a salon owner, she receives 100 percent of the profits, which she then partially invests in retail inventory. “I have never looked at that part of my business as selling product,” says Horvath, who believes that by recommending products to her clients she is doing them a service. Her top business strategy is building authentic relationships with her clients. “The intimate atmosphere at my Sola salon creates the best opportunity to involve my guests in all aspects of my business from the consultation, to recommending upgrades and solving their hair problems.” Her words of wisdom to beauty professionals: There isn’t just one path to follow your dreams. “I would encourage a potential salon owner to research all choices and options of salon ownership,” she says. “Ask yourself: 'What is the best avenue to reach all my goals?'” In Horvath’s case, the salon studio/suite model called to her inner dreamer and entrepreneur.