My Life As A Hairstylist

Salon owner, hairstylist, educator, product maker, photographer

Empathy, Perseverance, Responsibility, and Thinking Bigger

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shutterstock_452441251I reached out to a realtor looking for a new space and discovered a very new salon, less than 2 years old, is now available for sale. This is the owner’s 3rd location that has closed, changed hands, or is closing. This is a person who may be a very talented stylist but is not equipped to own a hair salon. Salon ownership is hard, and if you go into it without plans for a real, actual business, you will fail. It’s inevitable, and it is why the vast majority of salons close.

I recently closed a salon, and I caught myself feeling like, “I’m tired of trying to take over the world.” I am reevaluating who and where I want to be in  the industry .”
I currently have 28 employees and 4 locations and I told myself I was no longer interested in growing and that I was simplifying.

And this is business suicide.

Salon ownership kicks you in the balls over and over again until you decide you don’t want to get kicked anymore. So you downsize and just rent the chairs. You’re done with the bullshit and you have no fight in you anymore. And this is where you will start hammering the nails into the coffin.

Luckily, like Kenny Powers, (very NSFW and dirty, I advise against clicking this link) I listen to my own recordings and I gave my head a shake and got my act together again. In business, you are either growing or you are dying. There is no such thing as maintaining what you have.

Salon owners are trying to make money by billing by the hour and relying on the talents and skills of individual employees. It’s very much like a law firm but but with much smaller income and a ridiculously low profit margin potential. In order to mitigate the losses when your top talent inevitably leave you, you must constantly be developing new talent. This year I lost 2 of my long term and high earning employees. And other than emotionally, I wasn’t really hurt in any way. In fact, our numbers really didn’t change much.

If you offer your team a path, provide them a cool salon in a good location, and never stop growing and developing your team because you know that you will lose people, you will be OK. You just have to keep the fire going.

A couple of years ago I was asked to speak at Paul Mitchell The School in Costa Mesa, California as well as do a Masters interview for Winn Claybaugh. This audio is and excerpt from that interview, where I cover a few different ideas, but they all come together with my usual message;
Grow up, look in the mirror, get your act together, and think big.

One thought on “Empathy, Perseverance, Responsibility, and Thinking Bigger

  1. Once again Michael, you have not only hit the nail right on the head, you drove the damn thing right through the 2 x 4. …………..just a side note….the young lady you spoke to that was “appalled” by the premise of 45% commission….she probably would have completely lost her fucking mind if you were to throw a service charge into the equation….. they may not understand now, ….hopefully in the future they will have their epiphany and it will hit them right on the head like a ton of bricks…..

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