You’ve made up your mind—you’re going to strike out on your own as an independent artist. You’re ready to set your own hours, choose your own products, be your own boss. Hurray! Now, there’s one more choice to make. Would you rather rent a studio suite or rent a spot at an existing salon? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you in making your choice.
Are you comfortable handling every aspect of your business? As a solo artist in a studio, it all begins and ends with you. While you might receive certain levels of support if you rent a station in a salon, in a studio you will be responsible for everything from client bookings and processing payments to accounting for inventory and ordering products. If you put your mind to it, it’s totally doable. “Take accounting and business management classes,” suggests solo artist Gioia Gomez of Akasu Hair Studio and Spa in Portland, OR. “Do your research. Create an outline of a business plan and a budget, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Do your clients require privacy? Maybe you work with high profile individuals or perhaps your clients are busy professional women who relish a few hours of peace and quiet in the salon chair. In these cases, your salon studio could be a haven—and a good reason for them to keep coming back to you.
Do you like working around other stylists? If you love the energy that comes from working with other stylists, you’ll want to do your solo act in a booth rental situation. You’ll have the best of all worlds—the independence you crave, and the company and companionship that keep your creative juices flowing.
Do you need walk-ins to help build your business? Experts agree that success in a salon studio is enhanced if you have a solid book of clients and you’re not relying on walk-ins for new business. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, though, if you make marketing a priority (which you should do regardless of where you work!). “My main form of marketing is word-of-mouth and referrals, but Instagram helps, too. I post every day, showing new techniques and up-to-date fashion looks,” says studio artist Rochelle Randall of Popular Movement in Costa Mesa, CA. “I also post from events and photo shoots so guests can see I am always furthering my education.”
Do you have strong ideas about how your salon space should look? Then a salon studio is the way to go. You choose everything from the paint on the wall to the towels, lamps and chairs. Before you start decorating, give some thought to your brand and your image. These crucial elements should be well represented in your studio décor. For example, if your style is Parisian casual, you may want to bring in a funky antique chandelier, brass mirrors and picture frames and an overstuffed chintz loveseat.
Whether you choose booth rental or the suite life, be sure to also consider the comfort and convenience of your clients. In addition to your talent, a clean salon, proximity to your previous location and accessible parking are all key factors for successful client retention and referrals.
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Photography: Courtesy of Sola Salon Studios/@solasalons