Better Business


Get More Out of Meetings


Want to make sure you never again hold an unproductive meeting? Pick up Jeanine O'Neill-Blackwell's new book Hold On, You Lost Me! (ASTD, 2007), which teaches leaders how to keep all learning types engaged in meetings and, therefore, how to maximize their potential. O'Neill-Blackwell is the founder of Inyu Training online, which provides salons and spas with everything they need, including meeting outlines and talking points, to run productive, successful meetings. The book is available at —C.W.

Jeanine O'neill-Blackwell
Jeanine O'neill-Blackwell


Beverly Hills Beauty



By lending his expertise to television shows like America's Next Top Model, Extreme Makeover and E! Fashion Police, and servicing star clients like Eva Longoria, Jessica Biel and Eva Mendes, Peter Ishkhans has made a name for himself in the beauty biz. He continues to do so with the recent opening of his new salon, Peter Ishkhans at Joseph Martin, in Beverly Hills. It's only a hop-skip away from his previous salon, Bahava, on trendy Melrose Avenue, but it feels like a world apart.


"The old salon was hidden from the street, but now we're located on a great corner spot, with much more visibility," Ishkhans says. "It was important for me to reinvent myself and to make the salon into something new and not be caught in the past."

With pale blue and stark-white walls, dark wood floors and soaring ceilings and windows, the new salon is light-filled and luxurious yet also minimalist—just the way Ishkhans wanted it. "I wanted to keep it simple so that the people inside would add the color, the texture and the interest," he says. "I wanted our clients to stand out and be the focus." —C.W.




Since CRAIG ALLEN, owner of a namesake salon in Sewickley, PA, doesn't like traditional business cards because "everyone's are always the same and often get misplaced," he made his an unusual size. Allen chose the bamboo design on the card because it's "peaceful and relaxing," and has a simple, feng shui-feel to it. He chose the font Tempas Sans ITC because he says it's classy and stylish. The back of the card features the salon's address and phone number, as well as five circles with the days of the week the salon is open under them, plus lines on which to write the client's name, date and appointment time. "It's an easy way to ensure the date and time are clear to the client," Allen says. —N.P.






Your salon's reception area is the first thing that clients and passersby see, so the design should never be just an afterthought. Here, Mark Cuellar, AIA, and Sylvia Helen Billisics, associate AIA, share their tips for designing a salon reception area. The pair was just awarded an architecture award from the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for their work on Touch Salon in Chicago.

The Reception Area at Touch Salon was designed with a modern, minimalist feel.
The Reception Area at Touch Salon was designed with a modern, minimalist feel.

1. FLOOR PLAN. The layout should lead customers straight to the reception desk, where they can be welcomed by staff or make an inquiry. The reception desk is "home base" for customers and employees, so it needs to be in clear view of all areas of the salon.

2. THE DESK. To avoid clutter, consider details like integrated signage, recessed computer screens, built-in niches or slots for menus, and a platform to highlight a weekly advertised retail product.

3. THE WAITING AREA. Materials, shapes and colors should always convey the brand image, but the furniture should also help a customer feel relaxed and at home.

4. RETAIL DISPLAYS. The retail displays should be visible from all areas of the salon and from the street. Place products at various heights so they can be seen from different viewpoints. Vary recessed and projecting shelves in order to highlight certain products. —C.W.





After 40 years in business, the family-owned salon and day spa SalonCapri in Newton Highlands, MA, has just undergone a major renovation, unveiling a new L'Oréal Professionnel Haircolor Center, one of only 10 in the country. "We couldn't be more honored to have the first and only L'Oréal Professionnel Haircolor Center in Massachusetts," says Nick Penna, Jr., SalonCapri's owner. The Haircolor Center is an open, centralized environment for consultation and mixing, where colorists can involve clients in the haircolor process from start to finish utilizing such tools as portable color swatch pens (long strands of colored hair), which allow clients to select and "try on" color before making a commitment. The Haircolor Center was designed to complement the salon's new look, which features polished zebrawood and stainless steel hardware. "The Haircolor Center will allow our stylists first access to new products and techniques, ensuring that they continue to rank among the most innovative in the country," Penna says. —L.A.



Changing Markets


In recent years, women with curly, kinky and wavy hair textures have been embracing their hair's natural tendencies, forgoing chemical relaxers and working instead with what they were given. As curly hair has become a viable segment of the market, the way manufacturers view the market has changed, according to Titi Branch, founder and managing director of Miss Jessie's, products for curly and textured hair. "Traditionally, the market has been broken up into ethnic haircare and general haircare," she says. "What's happening now is suddenly the lines are becoming blurred. It's no longer about ethnicity; it's about hair type and texture." As such, a major shift has happened, according to Branch. You now have stylists—black and white—who specialize in cutting all types of curly hair textures. "It's important to think about hair in terms of textures and not ethnicity when formulating services, hiring staff and selecting products for your salon. If you don't, you will lose out on a major segment of the market." —C.W.

Help your clients embrace their hair's natural texture.
Help your clients embrace their hair's natural texture.




Customers are encouraged to help themselves to a fridge stocked with beer, wine and soda at David Guerin's new salon, THE CUTTING ROOM, in Albany, OR. The salon, which specializes in clipper cuts and features a garage-inspired interior, a classic rock 'n' roll sound track and seven TVs broadcasting sports all day, was designed to appeal to men, but women are loving it too, according to Guerin. "We've got college football on Saturdays," he says. "Now that the word is out, it's nearly standing room only and it's hard to get an appointment." —L.A.





From buying groceries to finding a husband, clients are doing almost everything online these days. Now they can even log on to book an appointment at your salon. The online service is available through STX, the spa and salon management software from Salon Transcripts. The service integrates into a salon's existing Web site, allowing salon owners to customize the online booking Web pages with distinct layouts, colors, fonts and graphics. Also, the program automatically performs real-time backup and remote data storage at Salon Transcripts' secure, online booking center, enabling owners to save appointments if Internet service is disrupted. "Our clients are taking advantage of being able to schedule an appointment 24/7," says Sonny Rapozo of Hot Locks SalonSpa in North Falmouth and Plymouth, MA, "even on days when we're closed." 800/766-4778 —C.W.






Redken's redesigned Web site will please both salon professionals and their clients.

Redken has channeled its sense of style and trend savvy into their recently revamped Web site, "The Web site is a true reflection of our brand," says Molly Mansur, senior director, Interactive Marketing for Redken. "The colors, the fonts, the images and even the innovation all reflect Redken's core brand attributes."

FROM TOP: Home pages for, and
FROM TOP: Home pages for, and

The Web site features refreshing, interactive functions, such as behind-the-scenes video footage of Fashion Week 2007, with commentary and step-by-step demonstrations from celebrity stylist Rodney Cutler, Vogue-teamed podcasts of fall 2007 and winter 2008 trend forecasts and a "Your Hair" quiz to help clients find the specific products needed for their hair type and desired look. Redken helps the average consumer and the salon professional by including a salon finder on the site that allows users to search for salons by location and available services.

The professionals-only area of the site links hairstylists and salon owners to a host of resources. For example, the Idea Exchange, a message board, connects salon professionals and presents them with an opportunity to trade support and advice, while the Salon Planogram shows how to best organize Redken products for retail display via a visual diagram. Professionals can also register online for Redken's Club 5th Avenue to receive product samples and educational aids to boost their salon's marketability. In addition, Redken is adding a feature that will allow salon professionals to store their clients' e-mail addresses on the Web site, so they can send their clients custom e-mails.

When designing a Web site, Mansur says it's important to think about what the user wants and needs. "Brands need to spend time with their customers to understand what they would want from a Web site and why they would return often. I see a lot of product Web sites that are very 'pretty' but ultimately aren't functional, so the user leaves not knowing much more about the brand than when they first arrived."

When developing the direction of its Web site, Redken conducted surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews to better understand their primary customer, the salon professional. By continuing to explore the possibilities of serving their clients through their Web site, Redken maintains an image that is both inspired and cutting edge. —A.L.





Software that can help you give your customers top-notch treatment at the front desk

In this, our inaugural column devoted to salon management software, we'll tackle how software can help you improve the salon experience for your clients where it all starts: at the front desk.


New clients are perhaps the customers you most need to impress at your reception desk, since it will likely be their first face-to-face encounter with your salon. Floydware's browser-based software, Rosy, identifies these clients to your reception staff immediately with a pop-up notice that appears as soon as the appointment is opened, while Nichesoft's BeautyTrack and BeautyTrack Express make creating a new client's account as easy as swiping the magnetic strip of their driver's license. (Currently, 25 states support magnetic strip drivers' licenses.)

It's also the responsibility of the front desk staff to keep traffic flow manageable, whether clients are checking in, waiting for a stylist or checking out. Fortunately, several software programs offer assistance in this area. Harms' Millennium Professional and Platinum editions, for example, include an Appointment Monitoring Station, with color-coded displays for the current day indicating if clients are late, checked in or pending cancellation. The software also enables speedy checkouts. Staff can open multiple transactions at the same time or place transactions on hold while customers write checks or decide to buy retail. ProSolutions also assists in traffic-flow maintenance with its Reception Load feature, which analyzes the appointment book to produce a simple graph that illustrates how busy your front desk will be at any time, on any given day, enabling management to schedule staff and breaks accordingly. And to minimize clients' wait times after they've checked in, ProSolutions Internal Paging System can be used to send an alert directly to staff's cell phones.

Salons that have a large number of walk-in clients are particularly vulnerable to traffic flow problems, which is what Shortcuts' Walkin Manager feature is specifically designed to address. It provides detailed information on the number of clients waiting, returning and in-service, in addition to tracking staff efficiency and abandoned visits.

With so many software options available, we encourage you to contact the companies mentioned in our new column for more information, so that you can find the software that's best for you. —L.A.

Floydware: 630/469-1078;

Harms Software: 888/813-2141;

Nichesoft: 877/488-2901;

ProSolutions Software: 800/710-3879;

Shortcuts Salon & Spa Software: 866/678-7324;


Our Town


Birmingham, AL, is nicknamed "The Magic City" because of the rapid growth it experienced at the turn of the century. Nicole Palmieri found four salons that transform clients from ordinary to extraordinary with the wave of a brush.


1. Richard Joseph SalonSpa


"Our focus is on providing top-notch guest services and producing a superior product," says owner Richard Joseph, whose namesake salon opened 21 years ago. The full-service salon and spa maintains its loyal clientele by staying on top of trends, by offering all clients a complimentary 20-minute aromatherapy stress-relieving shampoo and by partnering two colorists per client to speed up the color process without sacrificing the quality of the service.


The 12,000-square-foot salon and spa is situated on two levels and features a calming decor with soft earth tones accentuated with various shades of green. Aside from hair and body services, the salon and spa also offers clients complimentary food and beverages from its café.

In stock: Aveda


2. Hair Reflections


From a concierge who walks the floor booking clients' next appointments to massage chairs in the shampoo area and complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres, Hair Reflections owner Rose Fraser knows just what it takes to keep clients satisfied and eager to return. "We have guests who actually come in early just to relax in the shampoo area," says Fraser, who opened the salon in 1987, but moved it to its current location in 2005.


The Intercoiffure salon features an upscale, modern decor with an Asian flair. In addition to the main salon area, Hair Reflections also has a separate area called "the studio," which features up-and-coming stylists. "The studio guests are younger clients looking for skill and service on a budget," Fraser says.

In stock: Dimoda, HR Spa, Bumble and bumble


3. Studio 21 Hair Salon


According to co-owner Dana Beason, Studio 21 has developed a loyal clientele because of its knowledgeable and experienced stylists, who are encouraged to attend in-salon—as well as outside—classes to stay on top of trends. She also believes that her daily involvement in the salon makes the business run smoother. "We've learned what to do and what not to do by being so involved," says Beason, who co-owns the salon with her husband, Scott. "I think that being up close and personal contributes to the consistent return of clientele."


The 2,500-square-foot salon, which has been open for more than 10 years, features a classic, upscale decor with earth-tone colors. The diverse clientele enjoy the salon's high-energy, inviting atmosphere, as well as the variety of services available, including hair and eyelash extensions, and a unique highlighting technique that doesn't require the use of foils.

In stock: Schwarzkopf, PureOlogy, Paul Mitchell


4. The Blue Room SalonSpa


Upon entering The Blue Room SalonSpa, it's obvious how it got its name. The salon, which opened three years ago, features a different shade of blue in each room and a large chandelier near the entrance of the salon. Paintings from local artists are hung around the space and are available for purchase.


With a full menu of hair, skin and body services, as well as special services designed specifically for young girls ages 10 to 15, it's no wonder that many families visit this Aveda Concept salon and spa. "The area we are located in has a small-town feel, so we know every client who walks through the door, as well as their whole family," says manager Misty Phillips.

In stock: Aveda, Babor, Redken


Big Fish, Small Pond


In every small town across America, there's at least one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. Stockbridge, MA, (population 2,500) has Seven Salon.Spa.

First settled by missionary John Sergeant in 1734, Stockbridge, MA, was once the territory of the Mahican/Stockbridge Indians, who later relocated to Wisconsin. It was also home to painter Norman Rockwell and singer Arlo Guthrie and, more recently, to Seven Salon.Spa.

From Top: The exterior of the salon and spa; the decor is modern, featuring natural materials throughout; the waiting area is warm and inviting so clients are able to relax before their appointments; the manicure and pedicure stations.
From Top: The exterior of the salon and spa; the decor is modern, featuring natural materials throughout; the waiting area is warm and inviting so clients are able to relax before their appointments; the manicure and pedicure stations.

New York City transplants Maurice Peterson and Mark Johnson opened Seven in June 2006 after buying a house in a nearby town and realizing that there was a need there for upscale hair and spa services for locals. "We got tired of Manhattan and decided that we wanted a change in life, so we bought a building two years ago and converted it into a salon," Peterson says.

Peterson handles the general managing of the salon, while Johnson is creative director, as well as a hairstylist with more than 20 years of experience in the salon industry. Johnson sees clients at Seven and also two days a week at Space Salon in New York City.

The 3,000-square-foot salon, which got its name because it's located on 7 South Street (Route 7), features a modern, loftlike decor with natural materials and stone elements. Each year, the salon features artwork from a different local artist. This year, eight paintings from renowned artist Matuschka Maxi can be seen throughout the salon. Haircuts, color and Japanese straightening are offered on the bottom level of the two-floor salon, while the top level is for nail services, facials, massages and waxing.

According to Peterson, the clientele at the salon and spa ranges from locals to tourists. Intuitive Consulting/Tarot days are held at the salon every few weeks, when clients can get a tarot card reading by psychic healer Sheilaa Hite. "We are very welcoming here, which is what attracts a lot of clients," Peterson says. "Even in the winter when many of the tourist-oriented businesses are slow, we stay busy."


In stock: Davines, Schwarzkopf, Jane Iredale


My Brilliant Career


Joyce Hampers traded in a successful career in law and government to open two day spas—and she's loving it.

When Joyce Hampers opened her first day spa, Guiliano, on Boston's Newbury Street in 1994, the day spa concept was only just beginning to catch on. After enjoying a successful career as a lawyer and a stint in the U.S. government as assistant secretary of commerce for economic development with the Department of Commerce during George H. W. Bush's administration, Hampers longed to start a small business of her own. She envisioned a "one-stop shopping" destination for beauty, where clients could get haircuts, haircolor, manicures and pedicures, massages and facials—not such an unusual idea today, but fairly uncommon in the early '90s. "We spent the first year just trying to explain to people what a day spa was," Hampers says.


Since then, the number of day spas in the country has skyrocketed, and the market of spa-goers has diversified to encompass groups as varied as men, couples, young professionals and baby boomers. When the opportunity arose for Hampers to open a second day spa on Newbury Street in 2006, she jumped at it. "After 12 years in business, I decided it was time to start tapping into these new markets," she says. Her new day spa, Emerge, fills an entire building that houses a salon, treatment rooms for couples, a rooftop garden, a fireplace lounge and an area for male clients called the Men's Club, which features a private waiting area with a flat-screen TV and treatment rooms for shaves, manicures and pedicures, facials and massages. "When we first started out in this business, maybe 10 percent of our clients were men," Hampers says. "Now men make up about 35 percent of our clientele at the new spa."

Joyce Hampers opened her second day spa in Boston, Emerge, in 2006.
Joyce Hampers opened her second day spa in Boston, Emerge, in 2006.

With two day spas on Newbury Street, Hampers recognized the need to distinguish one from the other. She designed Emerge as a traditional spa environment, blending Asian influences with European design to attract the sophisticated and seasoned spa-goer. Meanwhile, Guiliano morphed into g2o, a minimalist, edgy space for trendy, young professionals. Hampers says the response from her clients has been phenomenal, and she couldn't be more pleased.

"I've run huge bureaucracies, I've practiced law and now I'm running a small business," she says, "and I can tell you, this is the most challenging, rewarding, satisfying thing that I have ever done."