Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Salon Ownership - The New Generation of Owning a Hair Salon via Private Hair Studios

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Studio Concept Salons are everywhere.  But, are they the right answer?  

I had a private hair studio for 10+ years and there are many highlights and low-lights.  If you're a seasoned salon professional this business model can provide a great level of independence, client management and strengthening client relationships in a more one-on-one setting.  They provide independence and the sense of salon ownership without the costly overhead (time and money) of owning a traditional salon - trust me I've had both.

In today's salon world, "studio concept salons" are popping up everywhere.  These are large office or corporate type locations (5K to 20K square feet or more) that have been designed to house 20, 30, 40 or more private studios (usually 10 x 10 or a little more) and give beauty experts lock and key to their own "business."   But what comes with that?

Studio suite owners and franchisees market camaraderie amongst other workers and independent "salon ownership" but when you're in a closed off environment working one-on-one with your client, I didn't find this to be true.   However, there are many benefits and downfalls of owning a private hair studio.

Here's what I DID find in my 10 years of owning a private studio suite: 

1.  Expensive cost per square foot and a great sales pitch
2.  Inclusions like sink, chair, cabinetry already built in - saved time and $
3.  Isolation
4.  A hall pass to start your own business - even if you're not ready
5.  A wonderful learning opportunity


Here's my biggest concern.  Today's studio salon concept has given a hall pass to any beauty professional to start her/his own company even if they aren't ready.  It allows them a place to conduct business, yet doesn't guarantee their success.  It's a real estate model with a great sales pitch and a nice shiny key.  However it can allure and distract the young business hopeful into a world of business and beauty ownership that they aren't ready or groomed for. Franchisees will say that tenants are pre-screened and qualified but when they're sitting on 10,000 sq feet of rental space and only 20% occupancy, there's a  lot of forgiveness to a young beauty hopeful.

A beauty school graduate is equipped with the basic foundations of hair dressing but just like any profession, the true "day to day" education and learning opportunities come from mentorship, shadowing, and growing in a business culture.  This is the very foundation of hair styling without which - no stylist is ready for the salon floor.

So yes - I love the idea of the studio salon concepts.  But I do not believe they are right for everyone.  They are also not right for the hair stylist whose clients enjoy the buzzz of the salon environment.

If you're considering a studio salon concept for yourself, there's much to consider.   I'm  happy to speak with you.  There is much that goes into running a hair or beauty business and I have had the great fortune of managing the world's finest beauty brands on a corporate level as well as working the red carpet as a hair stylist and on-air personality.  If you are considering starting a salon or beauty business, or perhaps you're interested in salon coaching beauty education opportunities, I look forward to hearing from you. 

Billy Lowe
Celebrity Hair Stylist - National Beauty Expert
Founder of Gloss & Toss Hair Care

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