It’s a Small World

I’ve always believed that the most intelligent solutions for overcoming obstacles to success result from an exchange of ideas. Such was the case at a Wella salon forum that I recently attended in Frankfurt, Germany to discuss the Challenges and State of the Salon Business in 2014. The panel was comprised of experts from around the globe—Sonya Dove (SD) from The Doves Studio in the United States; Christian Sturmayr (CS) of Sturmayr Coiffeure and Red Level in Austria; Frank Apostolopoulos (FA) from Biba in Australia; Warren Tang (WT) from Essensuals in Singapore; and Adil Mehboob-Khan (AMK), Wella’s global president. Here, the industry aficionados share their advice for beauty pros who are contemplating opening their own salon.

SD: Do what you truly love, and learn to delegate what you don’t like to do. Delegation is key.

CS: Whatever it is you want to do, do it with passion. Go for it—but make sure that you give proper thought to what you’re doing because you’re taking on responsibility for other people. I think that’s a huge thing. You need to be sure you do the right thing.


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FA: For me, it’s coming to the realization that hairdressing and business are two entirely different things. You can be the most amazing hairdresser simply because you love it. However, if you decide you want a business, you must learn about business. You need to truly understand it and not just think, ‘I’m a fully booked operator so if I open up my own business, it’s going to be successful.’ Not only are you employing other people and taking on responsibility for their careers and training, but you need to be able to understand what things cost. Rent and wages have to be paid and somehow, the money has to add up. Just because you’re an incredible hairdresser doesn’t mean you’ll be an amazing businessperson, unless you put just as much effort into it as you have in the way you’ve trained to be a great hairdresser. Appointing someone else who looks after this area is something you might want to consider.

WT: Evolving from an artist to a businessman is not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. For the most part, artists like to splurge and spend, especially when they’re opening their own space. Cost-cutting is very important in our trade. You must learn how to keep them to a minimum. That’s when profits will go up. When you’ve got profits, then you can splurge on the luxury items.

AMK: Invest in education. An educated salon grows between 20 to 40 percent versus a salon that doesn’t access education. With 170 studios around the world and 100,000 educational activities in a year, Wella is doing all it can to help stylists succeed. ✂ —Kelley Donahue, editor in chief, [email protected]

Industry experts share their advice with Wella’s Srebi Hanak, right, who moderated the panel.

Photography: courtesy of Wella