The Girl with the Aveda Tattoo
Many salon owners feel a strong connection to Aveda’s mission statement. They print it in their employee handbooks, post it on their websites and sometimes even paint it on a salon wall.
“Our mission at Aveda is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.”
But how many salon owners have it tattooed on their back? At least one. Hanna Cannon, owner of Salon Linnea in Palmetto, Florida, feels so passionately about Aveda’s mission that she considers it not just part of her career, but part of her life, which is why she had the statement tattooed on her back.
An Early Start
Cannon’s path to becoming an Aveda salon owner and Purefessional started early. At age 16, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life: become a hairdresser.
“I first went to check out a local beauty school and was practically traumatized. I knew it wasn’t right and that there was something better,” Cannon says.
After consulting with a trusted hairdresser, she enrolled in a local Aveda Institute, and became the youngest person to attend. Nine months later, she graduated and went to work for Nuovo, a prestigious Aveda salon with several locations in the Sarasota area.
So in the middle of the 10th grade, she dropped out, got her GED, and started shopping for a beauty school.
“It was so much more than just getting a cosmetologist license,” she says. “I love the advanced education and that they stay with you every step of the way, whatever your path is, from educator to salon owner.”
“The Salon People had also just started and I got to know everyone there on a personal level because they were still small,” Cannon says of her distributor.
At Nuovo, Cannon became an assistant colorist and learned so much from the colorist she was working under that she stayed an assistant even longer to continue absorbing information.
Soon, Cannon found herself in Los Angeles as a color assistant at Planet Salon, owned by the renowned Ginger Boyle, among many others and returning with invaluable advanced education under her belt.
“After that, I decided I wanted to be a full-time educator and was hired by The Salon People,” she says. “And then I got the opportunity to audition to be a Purefessional.”
At age 21, Cannon became the first and only hair color Purefessional, and was teaching every weekend and at big shows all over the country.
“I was in salons all the time and owners would ask me to evaluate their teams or help them out in other ways,” she says.
Inspired by other owners’ faith in her, at age 22, Cannon opened her first salon.
The small Florida town Cannon lives in, Palmetto, seemed like an unlikely spot for an Aveda salon to some, but she knew better.
“It’s such a little cow town, but I knew there were a lot of residents who drove to St. Petersburg or Sarasota for Aveda salons,” she says. “So when I found a great existing salon for sale on the water near lots of high-end restaurants, I bought it and turned it into an Aveda salon.
“People were so excited to have access to Aveda in Palmetto,” Cannon says. “We have lots of snow birds here and we’re a huge wedding destination. In fact, a couple of my stylists specialize in weddings because so many people get married on the water right near the salon and come to us.”
With six stylists (all graduates of the Aveda Institute and former students of Cannon’s), one nail tech and two front desk coordinators, Salon Linnea is a boutique business. But there’s nothing small about Cannon’s growth.
Geared up for Growth
The existing salon Cannon bought had been established for 20 years and grossed $80,000 the year before she bought it. In her first year, she grossed $300,000, tripling the business. After four years in business, she’s now grossing $410,000.
Most of her growth is coming through referrals from guests who love the experience they receive at Salon Linnea.
“They don’t get the same one-on-one attention elsewhere—the scalp massage, Aveda tea and rituals at the end set us apart,” she says. “We even do polish touch-ups if the client wants it.”
But doing business in a small town has its own set of challenges. To combat some of these issues, Cannon and three other local Aveda salons (all about 15 miles apart), have formed a network to help each other.
The salons band together to bring in quality education to their staff as well as consult each other in hiring new employees and implementing new best practices.
Cannon’s support system also includes her salon development partner, Michael Cragnolin at The Salon People.
“He makes me feel like I’m his biggest account,” she says. “He does numbers with me, comes up with ideas, and connects me to the right people at Aveda if I’m ever having any issues.”
The Future Looks Bright
As her business continues to grow, Cannon remains a Purefessional™ and has her eye on a second location, which she thinks she may have recently found.
For other stylists who want to become owners, she advises utilizing the Aveda network to ensure success.
“Aveda will give you someone to sit down with and do everything from a rent analysis in the area to a projection for your first year,” she says.
“They will even go in and negotiate for you if necessary. Aveda wants to make sure you can stay open and will let you know if it’s not feasible. They’ll tell you if you don’t have enough customers or are paying too much per square foot.”
Cannon maintains it’s sometimes better to start smaller before tackling a larger location.
She recommends anyone wanting to open an Aveda salon to work with Aveda as they have the tools to help analyze if your location will work for you in the long run. If it doesn’t, they can point you to a better spot.
Cannon has embraced the guidance and advice she has received from her network of mentors at The Salon People and Aveda for successful results.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today with any other company,” Cannon says of her alignment with Aveda. “They follow through everything in their mission statement—it’s more than just a product line.”