At Signature Salon, stylists and managers are reaping the benefits of the working only three days a week.
The idea of working less and making more money may sound like a distant dream, but at Signatures Salon in Lake Charles, Louisiana, it’s a reality. In addition to celebrating its 19th anniversary this month, the salon is also celebrating its fourth year under the wildly successful three-day workweek business model created by owner Wendy White-McCown. “I always wanted to be a hairstylist but I didn’t know anything about business,” White-McCown says. “It’s one thing to do hair but it’s another to own a hair salon.” Tired of seeing empty chairs and lack of productivity in the salon, she realized that it was time to make a change after reading The E-Myth Revisited (HarperCollins, 2005) by Michael E. Gerber. “It inspired me to retire my shears and work on my business,” she explains. “Over the next couple of years, I developed the three-day workweek.”
The new business model was developed out of White-McCown’s desire for a happier staff and higher profits, and it worked. “In a year and a half it increased our profits by 82 percent,” she says. “The biggest perk is that our stylists only work three days a week, which they love, but it has also enabled us to pay our support staff more. For them this has become a career and they’re in it for the long haul.” Her staff is divided into two teams and each one works three days a week. Despite the fact that White-McCown’s employees only work 25.5 hours a week each, the chairs in her salon are always full, which she says is a “win-win.”
In addition to increased revenue, White-McCown also noticed an increase in productivity. “It’s hard to be super productive several days in a row,” she
says. “Having that break makes a difference. My staff is more productive when they’re able to meet goals and numbers.” The improvement in workplace morale has led to staff longevity, saving on hours of hiring and retraining new employees—a tedious cycle that many salon owners face. “With this new way of working, we’ve been able to have profit-sharing with our support staff, and have been able to retain them for a longer time,” White-McCown adds.
White-McCown has written the e-book 3-Day Work Week (2014), in which she shares her success story and business model. She spoke at Serious Business in January and plans to again in 2016, and she also offers online coaching and virtual classes for other salon owners. Her long-term plans include building a classroom in the new space where she will provide in-person workshops and courses. While White-McCown spends a majority of her time educating others, she continues to learn. “Every salon is different so there isn’t a cookie-cutter approach,” she says. “The three-day workweek isn’t the magic bullet; it’s the perk of a well-run salon. It isn’t the three days that make it successful—it works if we’re doing everything right. People adopt different parts of what we do to make their salon more successful, so it has endless possibilities.” —Kamala Kirk, west coast editor
Photography: Courtesy of Wendy White-McCown