How To Startup… A Hair Salon
The hair and beauty industry will never run out of customers. Perhaps that’s why so many aspiring entrepreneurs want to start up their own beauty salons. Even during these challenging economic times, men and women still rely on hair salons and barber shops to keep themselves looking and feeling good.
Whenever you consider a new business venture, it’s always helpful to chat with experts who have already done what you’re trying to do. To help you explore the idea of starting your own hair salon, the BrandMakerNews team interviewed experienced salon owners to share their motivation, challenges and advice with you. Before you launch your own salon, heed the tips of the salon owners below, and get more clarity on what it’s really like to start-up a hair salon.
What inspired you to open your own hair salon?
“You can’t beat a culture that is all about happiness. This industry is about looking good and feeling good. I wanted a beauty shop that was unpretentious, yet with lots of attention on customer service, a place where people could always feel good no matter what was going on with their day or society. I wanted to be in the happiness business.” -Christine DiBenedetto, owner of Wink Heads and Threads.
“My business partner and I had the idea to open a European style salon and spa because we saw LA didn’t have a salon and spa that offered a modern vibe yet still encouraged relaxation and indulgence.” -Anton Akopian, owner of Le Posh Salon
“I began losing my hair to hereditary alopecia areata as a preteen. Though I am in fact one of the millions of women in this country who struggles daily with hair loss, I am unique in that my personal journey with the disorder also led to a joyous life. I am a 25+-year veteran hairstylist/hair-replacement specialist. I chose to follow my own voice instead of the voices around me, and I believe that’s a large part of why I’m a success today.” -Helen Owens, owner of Klassics International
“My mom and I started the business due to a lack of GENUINE virgin Indian hair that delivers on its promises. I, personally have spent countless hours learning about the world of hair manufacturing and gained quite a bit of knowledge in the process. Sundara Extensions started two years ago. We are family-owned, and black-owned…two rarities in the world of hair extensions.” -Melissa Thomas, co-founder of Sundara Extensions
What were some of the big hurdles you faced as a salon owner?
“The reality of running a busy salon is you spend a lot of time focusing on others happiness (your staff, your clients) meanwhile running a business is filled with lots of joy and lots of pain. So it takes really knowing yourself and refining your mission, vision and core values to truly reflect the business you are trying to create.” -Christine DiBenedetto
“A major hurdle Le Posh faced was drawing traffic to the salon. While many of the staff had clients, many existing clients were not willing to drive so far to keep their hair stylist, especially with LA traffic.” -Anton Akopian
“Our biggest hurdle has been funding. It is difficult to stock and supply hair at our level of quality without proper funding. As a result, we have built our brand from the ground up with our own two hands. I strongly believe that our “hands on” approach is what makes Sundara a brand dedicated to superiority, and exceeding our customers’ expectations. I create and maintain Sundara’s image, from web design, brochures, and logos to even modeling and photographing myself for our product photos. My grandmother sews our bags, and my mom manages every aspect of sales. We pride ourselves in the ability of our family to work together towards the same goal, all the while, upholding not only Sundara’s values, but also our family values.” -Melissa Thomas
What startup advice can you share with aspiring salon owners?
“Make sure your stylists are well educated- make that a priority in your salon. Establish good relationships with your distributors and make sure the product lines you carry give your salon education. This will make the clients happy, your staff happy and keep your business staying at the top. Always take time to check in with your staff, reward when you can and most importantly love yourself. If you fail at being good to yourself you can’t be good to your clients. Get your hair done, have quality time with friends, take a day off. Taking good care of yourself with help you survive any slump and keep you focusing on what drives you to be better.” -Christine DiBenedetto, owner of Wink Heads and Threads
“Be persistent. Set your goal, and believe that you can achieve it. You must be relentless in the journey to reaching your goal. Owning a business is hard work, and the journey to success can be even harder. But don’t let fear inhibit your dreams. If you want it…go get it!” -Melissa Thomas, co-founder of Sundara Extensions
“If the hairstyling industry is truly what you live and breathe, then do everything you can to ensure your success. Maintain your education and specialization levels via ongoing networking and relationship building, and have high expectations about the establishment over which you preside. Keeping the right frame of mind ensures you’re always ready for the next challenge and can embrace the next level of opportunity.” -Helen Owens, owner of Klassics International
“Try to offer something that your clients can’t get elsewhere. Le Posh offers complimentary valet, glass of champagne and a vibe that is not available to customers anywhere else. Without differentiating yourself, no one will be drawn to the space.” -Anton Akopian, owner of Le Posh Salon
Although the hair and beauty industry is fun and creative, running a salon can be hard work. Like with any new business, success takes hard work, dedication, and patience. It also helps to find other salon owners who are willing to mentor you and share the lessons they learned along the way. Best of luck with starting up your new salon!