Role Models: Ted Gibson and Jason Backe

Ted Gibson and Jason Backe: Ted Gibson Salon, New York City

Ted Gibson needs no introduction. He’s one of the country’s most sought-after editorial, runway and celebrity stylists and owns Ted Gibson Salon in New York City with his husband and business partner Jason Backe. They spoke to us about business strategies, success stories and what they learned from failure. 

Their Story
Many beauty professionals open a salon because they’re busy stylists and think they can be successful as an owner. But, as Gibson claims, “There’s more to owning a salon than painting the walls and picking out furniture.” As a salon owner, you’re responsible for your staff and their livelihood. Not a small responsibility. His advice: Know your brand and never veer from it. Backe agrees but adds that you also need to develop a strong social media plan to promote your brand’s values. 

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Failure is also a part of being a business owner.  “I have this joke I like to tell when I give presentations,” says Backe. “Two out of three salons in America close. I know that because I’ve owned three.” All joking aside, the duo have had two salons close, endured staff walkouts, lawsuits and have even been audited twice, but that hasn’t changed their attitude. “Every failure is just a chance to do better,” says Backe. The partners plan on launching a new product line next year and are working to open a new salon in Miami. Gibson and Backe hired good people to manage the day-to-day business at their salon in New York City, which allows them to take on runway work or to develop a product line. To help build a strong team, they recommend staff when opportunities like celebrity or editorial work arise. “Tons of people have great ideas,” says Gibson,  “but not as many act upon them.” 

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