Wednesday, November 08, 2017

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

private hair studio salon ownership studio concept salon private studio independent salon

Studio Concept Salons and Hair Salon Suites are everywhere.  But are they right for you?

I had a private hair studio for 10+ years and there are many highlights and low-lights to running one of these independent salon concepts.  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.

Unlike a traditional salon setting where an owner may have 5, 10, 15 or more chairs on the salon floor, the studio salon suite concept is basically a real estate model which enables industry professionals the opportunity to own their own business by leasing smaller spaces at an affordable rate. By affordability I'm speaking in terms of monthly or weekly rental totals and not actual cost per square foot.  In today's salon world, "studio concept salons" are popping up everywhere.  These are usually found in traditional office spaces (5K to 20K square feet or more) that have been converted 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 promote their businesses by marketing camaraderie amongst other workers and independent "salon ownership" feel when you rent an independent studio. But many beauty professionals get into this working environment and find they miss the interaction and "floor talk" with their peers so they end up hanging out in the common areas or the back break rooms. 

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

1.  Costly per square foot - but on this small a scale - affordable when you think of independent "salon ownership"
2.  Inclusions like sink, chair, cabinetry already built in - saved time and $
3.  A bit isolating
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 beauty pro 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 when it comes to filling up those retail spaces.

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 learning as you go, mentorship, 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 while I love the idea of independent salon spaces, 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 think about and 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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