You’ve decided to open your own salon studio, and that calls for a big congratulations. Ownership means you get to create the salon of your dreams; without a boss, manager or staff to keep track of, every little detail is up to you now. To put it simply, you’re in complete control of establishing your salon’s culture and identity. How will you take advantage of this newfound freedom?
Brand Comes First
When you move into your own salon studio, your salon’s culture – A.K.A. your brand – is the most important aspect of your future salon’s success. Branding goes way beyond a salon’s name or logo. When you start thinking about salon culture, you’ll want to think big. Really big!
We’re talking about the entire customer experience, in and out of your studio —everything from your web presence and social media content to the way you answer your phone, the décor that lines your walls and the retail products on your shelves.
As an extension to your mission to do great work, your brand is an outward expression of your core values — and outlining those values upfront will help you determine what image and message you’ll be sharing with clients. Before you rush out to buy dozens of succulents, before you order that shabby-chic rug you’ve been admiring on Etsy, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and ask yourself some questions. What feelings do you want your salon to evoke in guests? What do you want your reputation to be? What are your goals and dreams for your business? Once you’ve outlined your values and developed the right mission statement for your salon, you’re ready to move onto the next step.
The Ideal Client
What kind of client do you want to attract to your salon? From the services you offer to the way you decorate your physical space, every move you make as a small business owner contributes to your brand. And your brand, of course, is what draws in clients!
It’s important to identify your target clientele upfront. Here are a few more questions to ask yourself: Is your target client tech savvy? If so, you’ll want to offer text, phone and email confirmation services, along with online scheduling to make the appointment process as intuitive as possible. If you’re hoping to attract a young clientele, price your services accordingly, stock your shelves with product that retails at an affordable rate and hand guests an iPad upon entering to pick their favorite Pandora station. It’s your salon, and the atmosphere will reflect YOU — but it should be a sanctuary for your guests to enjoy as well.
How do you create a space your ideal client will love visiting? That’s the fun part! By recording your business’s mission and values, you’ve created a list of guidelines you can use to determine everything from your new salon’s décor to its social media strategy, advertising plan and pricing structure. When it comes to setting a mood, it’s best to think about a whole-package approach.
Let’s say you specialize in color, and you’re looking to get young professionals – twenty and thirty-something females – through your doors, which happen to be opening in a major metropolitan area. You’ve opted for a glam theme, and your interior reflects that with metallic tones, bright pink throw pillows, and a chandelier, too! Coordinate your music selections, magazines and beverage program to fit with the theme, and consider retailing products packaged in glitzy bottles. Your webpage should look every bit as sophisticated as your physical salon, and your social media feeds should reflect this unique culture with charming language. Make sure you’ve priced your services for the location and clientele — nothing too low, in this scenario. Now that’s a brand clients will recognize! Bottles of water, product samples, and complimentary services – three-minute back massage anyone? – are just a few of the many ways a business owner can improve the overall salon experience.
Salon products might be one of the most robust modes of showing off your personal tastes while catering to clientele. Take full advantage of this newfound opportunity to use and sell the products (and tools!) you love by finding brands you’re passionate about. If you’re a vegetarian, for example, research vegan product lines; if you’re deep into the organic movement, opt for sulfate-free lines. Whatever you choose, become an expert on your favorite brand or brands — and don’t forget to share your knowledge with pride. If you believe you can’t live without a product to achieve a look you just created, your guest will believe it, too.
When it comes to branding, consistency is key. This means your website and your salon studio should have a similar look and feel. Guests should be able to visualize your physical salon simply by perusing your website and social media feeds. And, speaking of marketing, make a point of being upfront about the culture you’re creating. You can openly share information about your salon’s culture in your bio and on other “About Me” sections of your website.
Here’s something to remember: Consistency doesn’t mean deadlock. It’s okay to change your mind, and to switch things up over time as you evolve and learn more about yourself as a small business owner. The culture of your salon is simply your way of being; it’s going to be what makes you jump out of bed in the morning, and why you feel excited to return to work day after day. Have fun building your salon’s culture and showing it off to the world!
About: Founded in 2004, Sola Salon Studios provides beauty professionals with high-end, fully-equipped salon studios alongside the support and tools they need to experience the freedom and benefits of salon ownership. Sola's innovative salon model empowers hairdressers, estheticians, nail techs, massage therapists and other like-minded professionals to take control of their lives and their careers. Join the Sola community to experience a level of creative independence and career support you won't find anywhere else. For more information visit www.solasalonstudios.com.