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Meet the Faces of Sola - Success Stories in Transitioning to a Salon Suite

Lauren Salapatek | June 7, 2016 | 2:36 AM
Faces of Sola Salon Studios. (From left) Holly Santelli, Kanani Yasui, Autumn Morris, Lee Bryan Trevino, Kim Bennett Horvath

Whether you've been working in a traditional salon environment for a year, five years, 10 years or more, the thought of transitioning to your own salon suite can either be very intimidating or very liberating.

Whichever way you're feeling - these Sola Salon Studios owners say you'll be happier making the switch! Here, we dive into the past and present situations of these "Faces of Sola" and share with you a few of their success stories.

Kanani Yasui

After learning about the benefits of becoming a salon owner at Sola Salon Studios, professional hair and makeup artist Kanani Yasui signed her lease for LoCks Studio in Denver, Colorado immediately afterwards. Making the switch was a no-brainer for her. 

"After deciding to open LoCKs inside Sola, we experienced an outpour of love and support. Our wonderful guests, family and friends were all extremely eager to become loyal customers!" Yasui says she was able to build her business quickly and double her space in just six months after signing a lease!

What's her favorite part? She loves being able to create her own schedule and represent her studio exactly how she envisions it.

Modern Salon: How long have you been an owner at Sola?

Kanani Yasui: It will be five years this August. Time flies when you're having fun!

MS: What made you consider making the switch from working in a traditional salon to a Sola Salon Studio? Or, if you didn’t work in a traditional salon first, what made you decide that being your own owner was the way to go? 

KY: I wanted the freedom to be able to create a perfect workspace that my salon partner and I both customized and loved. Sola has allowed me to hand select who I work side by side with everyday. Together, we've created the perfect chemistry for our businesses to grow and we have so much fun doing it. Our happy and relaxing environment is really what keeps our guests coming back. 

MS: What support did you receive that helped make the transition easier?

KY: I always have the support of Sola. Most of all, I have the incredible support of my best friends that just so happen to be my business partners, too. Through all of the challenges we've had growing our businesses and taking big leaps, we've always given each other the support, courage and strength we've needed to get through it. And, when we do get through it, we realize that we actually had a good time.  

MS: What recommendations would you have for others who are thinking about making the switch to Sola?

KY: Sola is for the creative spirit that can't be put in a box. If you're ready to go in your own direction, opening up your own Sola Salon is your next step. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are or what you're doing. Sola supported my partner and I in ways that allowed us to successfully open our business right after graduating cosmetology school. If you want to do it, you'll do it. 

Lee Bryan Trevino

Coming from a top salon with a staff of over 50 people, Lee Bryan Trevino, owner of Tonic & Tweed in Jacksonville, Florida has only been with Sola Salon Studios for just under a year and a half, but loves every minute of it! "Transitioning from a full-sized salon, I never believed the switch would be such a step up!"

Trevino says he received all the support he needed from his Sola Manager - from setting up administrative forms and licensing to ordering products for his business. What's his favorite part about being a Sola Salon Studios owner? Trevino says one word - "Everything."

Modern Salon: How did you find out about Sola Salon Studios?

Lee Bryan Trevino: I heard about Sola through another traveling artist. She told me how amazing the space was and the surprising sense of community the Sola family offered. 

MS: What were the immediate benefits you experienced by switching to a Sola Salon Studio?

LBT: I gained a huge following on social media because I became my own small business owner. I gained more knowledge of the beauty business and I became more aware of the client experience from start to finish. 

MS: What recommendations would you have for others who are thinking about making the switch to Sola?

LBT: I tell anyone who has a great work ethic and who loves changing people's lives to take the jump. When you believe in yourself that much, then the rest will fall in place with hard work and talent. 

Kim Bennette Horvath

Kim Bennett Horvath, Paul Mitchell Senior National Educator and Sola Salon Studios Director of Education started Kim Bennett Studios in Centennial, Colorado after meeting Sola Salon Studios co-founders Matt Briger and Stratten Smith. During their meeting, she was inspired by their vision and culture for Sola. "I knew right then and there everything had changed for me," she says. "This was the start of becoming a business owner without the hassle and responsibilities of 'operations.'"

Working at Kim Bennett Studios, she's learned along the way - but suggests that others looking into becoming Sola owners start off with a solid business plan first before starting the transition process. "Create your 'salon systems' and check off steps every week!"

Modern Salon: How long have you been an owner at Sola?

KBH: 12 years at Sola!

MS: What were the immediate benefits you experienced by switching to a Sola Salon Studio?

KBH: First off, I noticed the benefits of one-on-one time with my guests. I was able to give my complete attention to them. It was refreshing and kept me focused! I also started reaping the benefits of retail sales! The salon intro deals from the brand I chose made it easy for me to start that part of my business. It has been very successful for me the last 12 years! 

MS: What recommendations would you have for others who are thinking about making the switch to Sola?

KBH: My recommendation is to utilize all the new Sola tools available. The new Sola app and website has education at your fingertips. You can find videos on how to start your own Sola culture, choose a salon software or how to work with your distributor sales consultant, etc. The Sola Blog also offers business advice and shares Sola success stories! I try to read something every week to stay inspired! 

MS: What’s your favorite part about being a salon owner at Sola?

KBH: I love being a part of the Sola team that is inventing and creating more opportunities for all of the Sola professionals as a whole. I get to reap the benefits as well, because I still am one of them! 

Holly Santelli

Switching to ownership at Sola Salon Studios was a dream come true, says Holly Santelli, owner of Serendipity Beauty Parlour in Park Ridge, Illinois.

"The love and support from my clients, friends and family was amazing when I transitioned to Sola. My referrals tripled since starting my own salon. Also, the walk-in traffic was amazing. Two years later, people are still walking in and commenting on how much they love the concept."

Santelli has been a Sola owner for two years now, and recommends switching to Sola for those who love what they do, and want to bring in more money. "If you want to own your own salon, but don't know where to begin, go to Sola!"

What's her biggest piece of advice for those looking to transition? "Believe in yourself and the magic will happen!"

MS: How did you find out about Sola Salon Studios?

HS: I'd heard of Sola before, but really didn't know much about them. I was doing a Google search for salons in my area and Sola popped up. I thought, 'we don't have one of those nearby, why would that pop up?' So I clicked on it and saw that one was opening just a couple minutes away from my house. I was so excited that I called the number right away, even though it was at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night! I went in for a tour, and the next morning I made my decision right then and there - even though there were no walls up yet! 

MS: What made you consider making the switch from working in a traditional salon to a Sola Salon Studio? Or, if you didn’t work in a traditional salon first, what made you decide that being your own owner was the way to go?

HS: I have always dreamt of salon ownership but I really didn't know how I was going to do it, especially financially. Sola has been so incredible in helping me make that dream come true. I knew instantly that it was the right thing for me, because it was owning my own salon on a smaller, more affordable scale, and it gave me the freedom to make my own choices of expressing myself creatively in so many ways. 

MS: What support did you receive that helped make the transition easy?

HS: The support from Sola was incredible. They got the word out in our area that we had opened. They created a website for us, so we didn't have to start one of our own right away. The sales representatives for the product lines came to us, we didn't have to search them out. The retail bonus they give us is very helpful, too. They painted and hung everything for me. It was move-in ready!! I really can’t say enough about how incredible Sola is! 

MS: What’s your favorite part about being a salon owner at Sola?

HS: The freedom of creative expression! I love that my clients love to come to my salon! I was aiming for a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Every new client who sits in my chair tells me how comfortable and relaxed they feel in my salon. I love that its my "happy energy" they feel when they walk in the door. I also love having the freedom to make whatever changes I wish to make! It's just a love fest over there at Sola Salons!

Autumn Morris

After 20 years of working in a traditional salon, Autumn Morris, owner of Glamlocks Hair Lounge in Encinitas, California was skeptical of going off on her own and becoming her own salon owner.

"Five years ago, I developed my own product line called Glamlocks. As I dove deeper into the process, I realized that having my own salon would better help my name."

There was only one problem though, says Morris, owning a huge salon was not her dream. That's where Sola came in.

"What a perfect way to have the best of both worlds!" she says. After a few months of thinking about it, Morris made the leap and never once looked back.

Morris adds that owning your own salon suite is the way of the future. "By becoming your own boss, you can reach a new level of sucess and increase your income, through retail sales and well as having flexibility with hours."

Modern Salon: How long have you been an owner at Sola?

AM: Four years.

MS: What were the immediate benefits you experienced by switching to a Sola Salon Studio? 

AM: My clients were so exited and loved the concept so much, they wanted to support me by sending me more clients. I noticed that by selling my own retail, my income increased dramatically! Before I knew it, I was bringing in over $17,000 the first year (in retail alone) and have continued to increase my income for the last four years!

MS: What support did you receive that helped make the transition easier?

AM: The support was overwhelming! Sola helped make the transition process as smooth as possible! Whatever I needed, it was provided; including a mighty sweet bonus check to help start my retail shelf! Sola provided all the information needed to make the move, including things I never would have thought of. The Sola stylists were very welcoming and provided great much advice.

MS: What’s your favorite part about being a salon owner at Sola?

AM: I have to say my favorite part is the support you get from Sola and my fellow Sola stylists! In all the salons I have been in, I never had the support as I do here at Sola! I’m forever grateful to be a part of something so unrivaled. My studio is an extension of me and the artist within me. At Sola, the sky is the limit!

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