ST200 Owners Share Best Practices at America's Beauty Show
The Salon Today 200 panel takes America's Beauty Show by storm: From left to right, Red 7 Salon's Jason Hall, Salon Today's Stacey Soble, Groupon's Sylvija Martincevic, Jamison Shaw's Candy Shaw, Gordon Salons' Tony Gordon, Five Senses Salon and Spa's Paola Hinton, and Impression's Kitty Tierney. (photo credit: Ronit Enos)Photo By Ronit Enos
At a special, invitation-only gathering of top salon owners at America’s Beauty Show on March 22, five Salon Today 200 honorees shared their best business practices. At the special event sponsored by Groupon, Candy Shaw, owner of Jamison Shaw Hairdressers in Atlanta; Jason Hall, co-owner of Red 7 Salons of Chicago; Tony Gordon, co-owner of Gordon Salons in Chicago; Paola Hinton, owner of Five Senses Salon and Spa in Peoria, Illinois; and Kitty Tierney, owner of Impressions in Mequon, Wisconsin, gave the attendees in ABS’ Diamond Owner Club a close look inside their own businesses.
Shaw shared her systems for recruiting top talent, training them and establishing incentives for them to reach top goals. She admitted she used to have very different hiring practices. "I'd say, 'Oh you're cute, I like you, can you start tomorrow?'
Now Shaw's screening procedures include having the applicant fill out a detailed three-page application, writing an essay, designing a photo board and working in the salon for two weeks with an assessment at the end. Shaw also shared that she asks the newest employees to mentor the next newest employees. "Your senior people are busy, and don't necessarily want to train the newbie how to fold towels," Shaw says. "Plus, by teaching someone else, it really reinforces to the younger staff what they've just learned. They pay better attention knowing they will be training the next person."
Hall of Red 7 walked attendees through his concept of Emotional Branding, which he says combines the push of marketing with the pull of branding for a 100 percent connection to the client. Hall shared his own salon's ideas of how he connects clients with the salon’s brand with either ‘for here’ or ‘to go’ examples. For example, in his clean graffiti example, Hall hired a power washing company to ‘spray’ the salon’s brand onto dirty sidewalks in the neighborhoods surrounding his salon locations with the use of specially created stencil. In addition, the salon printed its mission on pillows in the reception area to share it with guests.
"We all want to be 5-star salons, but there's got to be points of differentiation," Hall says. "We do that through emotional branding."
Hinton stressed the importance of developing a customer service strategy that touches on all five of the guests’ senses. She shared the visual service wheel she created with the help of Qnity so staff members always had the customer service steps in mind. And, through a quick slide presentation, she gave attendees a virtual tour of her new salon design which includes specially designed manicure chairs, a twinkling star ceiling in the shampoo area and a chocolate fountain in reception.
"Average is no longer the middle of the road, it's now below average," Hinton says. "Today's customers want more and we have to provide it."
Tierney walked the attendees through a series of clever and humorous marketing campaigns she’s developed for the salon. Believing the typical ad featuring a model were more successful at attracting staff than they do clients, she worked with an agency to develop her Downside campaign, featuring the downsides of having a great haircut from Impressions, such as “The police may pull you over just to talk,” and “You Ex may being calling again.” She also shared the success of her recent 50 Shades of Grey preview/fund-raising party.
Gordon focused his presentation on his salon’s philanthropic activities and how they help bring goodwill to the organization. He shared his strategy of having one employee handle all the gift card requests the salon group receives, and how he and his team choose the charities they want to work with throughout the year. "If you embrace philanthropy, it becomes an aspect of your branding and your culture," Gordon says. "Plus there's a business opportunity through reciprocity--it not only impacts who we are, it helps make a direct connection to your customer."