Corrine Mathison, a renter at My Salon Suites in Roseville, MN, named her salon the unisex and easy-to-remember “Hair Forum.” In her 30 years in the business, she’s been a commissioned stylist, a salon manager and educator (for the once-large Hair By Stewarts chain), and a renter. And what she’s learned she says, is to get in early on whatever is new, mind your mentors and don’t move locations too often.
“This is my third location in 30 years,” says Mathison, who began renting 19 years ago. “I’ve been here for eight months, but every time I moved, nearly 100% of my clients followed me.”
That enviable loyalty comes from consistency, professionalism, a strong educational foundation, and not moving too far, geographically, she notes.
While Mathison says she doubled her income her first year as a renter, she only moved to her My Salon Suites location 8 months ago, because her previous rental salon closed. Suites are the up-and-coming thing in the industry, she says, and she looked for a near-by location, a large-enough space to accommodate two clients at once (she double books), a good security system and a front seating area. “I also love the software system, “Rosy,” which we get at a discount,” she says. “It saves me a lot of time. I had thought it would be a challenge to have no receptionist, but the software simplifies booking, automatic appointment reminders and numbers-tracking.”
With about 276 clients in her database and 218 regulars who return every 4-6 weeks, Mathison also has a 90-95% pre-booking rate. All this is the result of what she learned early on: that it takes a village to succeed in business.
Working The Human Network
Being able to create and keep a large clientele starts with education, and Mathison has a masters license in trend cutting and coloring. “Learning the basics well and keeping up with the trends is extremely important in this industry,” says Mathison. “I have clients who range in age from 80 to pre-teen, and you can only do this if you stay current.”
What else she learned that fueled her success:
Mathison also stays community-involved through the American Cancer Society’s Look Good Feel Better program. While it is not the place to promote your business, it’s a rewarding way to give back and use your skills, and program has a great need for licensed stylists. She’s cut back on her usual monthly classes due to her recent move, she says, but she hasn’t changed her educational goal to attend at least two shows a year, to keep up with spring/summer and fall/winter trends. Attend local classes, and you’ll not only keep up with what’s new—you’ll meet a network of potential mentors the truly social way, face to face.
Must-Attend Education: The Redken Exchange
Fav Online Education: Modern Salon magazine’s website and various YouTube videos
Best Color Technique: Right now, I love foiling different ways. You can get so many looks by varying sectioning and placement patterns.
Best Money Saver: Using my software system to book clients. I don’t let them book online themselves because I know when I can fit someone in, and who and how to double book.
Best Add-on Service: Olaplex
Favorite Tools: FHI Heat flat irons and dryers.