Look Both Ways

Six years ago, Andreas Zafiriadis, owner of Salon Buzz in Chicago, decided that he wanted to bring the commitment to high-quality hairdressing associated with New York City salons into the Midwest market. His simple goal of offering clients a superior staff in a comfortable environment caught on quickly with prospective employees and the community. Recently recognized with a Global Salon Business Award for Marketing and Promotion, USA West, Zafiriadis now leads nearly 100 employees in two prime locations. Here, he reveals how he did it.

 Salon Buzz owner Andreas Zafiriadis
Salon Buzz owner Andreas Zafiriadis


Before opening, Zafiriadis individually met with each of his employees to review the salon's goals and objectives and make sure everyone was on the same page. "Your staff is a reflection of you," he explains. "That energy builds up into a powerful message that not only binds the staff together, but also passes from each employee onto their clients, who in turn pass it on to other people they know."


Zafiriadis knew that the best way to make his crew successful was to raise its confidence, not only in their creative techniques but in their business skills as well. "We emphasize training our staff on how to make retail an integral part of the services and showing them how that builds loyalty," he explains. "If you don't recommend something clients can use to replicate the look you have created for them, they're going pick a product off a shelf somewhere that probably isn't the right one for them. Your work won't look as good, and they'll be less enthusiastic about coming to see you again." To accomplish this, Zafiriadis hosts quarterly in-salon hair skill seminars as well as short meetings every two weeks to share retail numbers and set selling goals for each employee.


Once his strong internal promotional core was secure, Zafiriadis found unique ways to communicate the same message to the outside world. After diligently pitching story ideas and sending press releases, he established a relationship with a local television producer and now has the salon on-air every few months as a source on leading trends and styling tips. Additionally, Salon Buzz has close relationships with local modeling agencies, which Zafiriadis says has helped generate influential word-of-mouth marketing and local editorial coverage.


Two and a half years ago, Zafiriadis opened a second location, in River North. While his original East Delaware Street salon boasts a minimalist interior with pearlescent white and dark zebra wood, the new spot has a relaxing loft-like feel, with exposed brick, a fireplace and a waterfall. Despite the aesthetic differences, however, he advertises both salons as a single entity, with a single phone number. "I want the second address to feel like an extension of the original, so customers feel comfortable trying out both places," he explains. More than anything else, Zafiriadis has learned that his founding principle—that employees working at Salon Buzz are top-notch—is promotion in itself.