With nearly a million hair salons and even more hairstylists in the United States alone, how do you stand out? With so many people offering the same service, it’s easy for them to become commoditized. What makes one stylist’s chair booked all the time, and another’s station always empty? I’ve found that the difference between success and failure in the industry boils down to these specific things.
Providing a quality service every time is imperative in the beauty industry. A client needs to know that the haircut, color, or extensions they get will be the same every single time. One bad experience and you will likely not only lose a customer but also suffer additional losses through negative word-of-mouth. If you’re the owner of the salon, you also have the extra pressure of ensuring that everyone working for you provides consistent quality. The way to keep consistency is through proven systems. These processes not only keep quality high, but they can also be used to create and promote the culture you want in the salon.
As a service provider, your reputation is everything. Most stylists and salons build their clientele through word-of-mouth. Not only do my clients know that they will receive the same quality service each time they’re here, they know that I am honest, and my word can be counted on. I’m on time for my appointments, I’m not afraid to tell a customer if I think what they want won’t work or look good and I will always go the extra mile in terms of attention and effort. Those little things make a big difference in client perception.
Mark Twain said, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” That’s all fine and good, but it doesn’t magically lead to success. It’s true that when you’re good at something, it makes the path to success more accessible, but you have to be more than good, you must be passionate. Making it a successful stylist or salon owner is tough. Competition is fierce, and you need to bring the hustle. If you aren’t excited about the industry, you’ll never make it to the top. Feed your passion, cultivate it, hone it, and allow it to grow and lead you to success.
If you’re a salon owner, there is nothing more important than the team you build. Your reputation, and ultimately your success, is built on how well they perform. This means you need to hire not only for skill but also for personality, values, and growth potential. It’s also essential to make sure whomever you bring in fits your salon culture. For stylists, the coworkers you have can make a world of difference. Ideally, you’re in an environment where everyone pitches in and is willing to help you with a client when needed. When you evaluate a potential employer, know that the other stylists can either lift you up or make success much more difficult.
At the beginning of my career, I was busy, and I loved the feeling of being really booked. But when I started to want to do more and grow my business, I couldn’t because I was so busy being busy. Entrepreneurs need to learn the hard lesson that one person can’t do it all and be willing to give up control for growth. To build a business, you must learn to delegate. Believe it or not, you aren’t an expert in everything! Hone in on what you do best and what you enjoy doing and bring in employees or freelancers to do things that are outside your wheelhouse. For example, I don’t do my own social media, website design, media relations, or scheduling; I have people who are good at those things working for me. It frees me up to do what I love and to have the time to plot the next direction my career and business will take.
Hair expert Deb Monti is an industry veteran who owns a successful salon and is also the founder of Milvali Hair Extensions. As a hair extensionist for over 20 years, she has mastered the art form and is now a leading educator for hair extensions.