Owning a successful salon facility is a journey and the learning process simply never ends. David Bickle of The David Salon in upscale Orange County, California knows from first-hand experience and is a shining example of how the evolution can work.
A 40-year industry veteran, David opened his first salon 25 years ago. He started with 16 stations and a handful of talent that tracked him down from years in other salons. They soon outgrew the first location and looked elsewhere to find suitable accommodations. David doubled in size with his second location and with the added space, wanted the whole spa experience with nails, massage and facials. In place of offering just hair services as he did before, he instead dedicated areas in the new salon specifically for spa and nail services. The idea at the time made sense.
Several years passed and although business was good and steadily growing, there was room for improvement, as there always is.
In hindsight, the salon crew found that the front desk was becoming a bit overpowering as clients walked in, the retail area was not inviting, even hard to reach and seating in the waiting area was not as effective as it could be. Being the savvy businessman, David connected with his new Aveda representative and took advantage of their strong retailing background.
Taking their advice, David started his first renovation process by removing two unused stations, as well as the large desk in the center of the reception area. Instead he offset a smaller desk to one side. All seating and shelving was also completely torn out. He installed more streamlined shelving and added a few smaller stools among the new retail area and island style kiosks. The reception area was now very light, airy and inviting. It was a pleasant place to be and clients could wander fearlessly through rows of reachable retail while waiting for their services.
The change was successful. In the end, The David Salon tripled the amount of retail space and within two years of the first renovation, doubled retail sales. Not a bad investment!
Several more years passed and business was good, but, as David figured before, there was always room for improvement. After much research David found that the salon could improve its color services, both in eliminating color waste and in providing a more efficient facility to accommodate the growing market.
To minimize color waste, David decided to become a certified HeadMapping salon. The HeadMapping system specifically defines areas of the head into sections, creating a “map” that determines exactly how much time, product and cost is required to perform each service. Stylists can then dispense the right amount of color for specific color techniques, as well as amounts of hair being colored. In addition to minimizing waste, it helps clearly define pricing for color services.
As far as improving the facility itself, David found that the space allocated for the large color dispensary, nails and spa treatments could instead be used to allow expanded and more effective color services. At that point it made sense to drop nails and part of the spa services to accommodate the growing color market.
The plans were drawn up and David moved forward with renovation number two. He had the 217-square-foot enclosed color dispensary room, employee break room and laundry facility that originally floated in the center of the salon removed and instead opened it up into a spacious color bar. The laundry facility was moved into a former massage room and the break area into an enclosed nail space.
“We’re very pleased with our most recent renovation,” states David. “The color bar was the perfect solution for us not only offering the best use of space, but also opening the salon up visually. The place looks so much larger and we are so much more efficient even on our busiest days.”
He adds, “Doing our homework, seeking the professional advice of others and always looking ahead has really made a difference in the effectiveness and profitability of the salon. The lesson here is that we as salon owners are never done growing and changing. To be successful in any business one has to evolve as needed and should always be searching for how to make improvements. There is ALWAYS room for improvement. Being in the beauty business, we proudly preach change to our clients, but must lead even this part of business by example. Our business is a living, breathing entity and like our clients, is in need of a new, fresh look once in a while.”
Photos: Taggart Winterhalter for Purely Visual