The French-born brothers Serge and Gaston Safar have been in the salon business for 30 years, starting with the opening of the Safar Salon on Boston's Newbury Street. Now they own three salons, including Salon Àcôté, also on Newbury Street, which is managed and co-owned by Alex Safar, Gaston's son. Here, Alex shares the principles that have made the family's businesses successful.
1. Target specific demographics of clients you hope to attract. "We attract brides and bridal parties because we offer free styling to our clients who are going to be brides on their wedding day," Alex says.
2. Be generous. Salon Àcôté provides complimentary cheeses, pastries, breads and fruits on the weekends for clients to enjoy.
3. Hire a publicist to tell your story. "You can have the world's best hair salon, but if no one knows about it, what's the point?" Alex says.
4. Reinvest in your business. The Safar family has purchased all of their salon locations rather than renting.
5. Play to your strengths. Salon Àcôté plays up the French heritage of its owners with a signature tag line, "Boston's most French salon," and by celebrating the French holiday of Bastille Day with discounts and giveaways.
6. Never stop training your staff. "We hold training sessions every Tuesday night to keep our staff as up to date as possible," Alex says.
7. Make your surroundings as beautiful as possible. Guests love sipping wine and eating lunch on Salon Àcôté's stunning outdoor terrace. "In the summer, we even cut hair out there," Alex says.