Solo Artist

Working Your Specialty

Victoria Wurdinger | October 1, 2015 | 1:44 AM
According to Kendra Eggleton, the high elevation and lack of humidity in Colorado make hair very dry, which makes oil-treatment products very popular.
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To stand out in a suite, do something different. Eggleton says her zebra-print wall attracts lots of attention. She did not “name” her salon, she says, because it can confuse clients who tend to look for suite renters by their proper names.
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Kendra Eggleton’s clients love natural-looking highlights.
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Posting color corrections on Pinterest is just one way Kendra Eggleton gets new clients.
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At Phenix Salon Suites, Kendra Eggleton is also a National Artistic Director for a color line, which underscores her color expertise.

When Kendra Eggleton signed on at Phenix Salon Suites in Colorado Springs, Colorado, eight years ago, the building wasn’t even completed, but she liked the idea of moving from an open rental chair to a suite. It would allow her to get to know her clients on a whole new level, and the rent was just $10 more than the salon from which she currently rented. As Phenix evolved, she discovered another bonus: Phenix presented the additional opportunity to educate other renters.  

“The company brought in an exclusive color line, and after shadowing other educators and assisting in teaching, I started teaching as an artistic director,” says Eggleton. “It’s an amazing opportunity for me because color is my passion.”

Naturally, renters can use any color line they want, but many like the exclusive opportunity, and the chance to network with other educators. And, educators get paid, which provides another source of income.

“After 12 years of industry experience, I can now focus on the fact I am a colorist, and my clients are very interested when I tell them I’m a specialist and an educator,” Eggleton says.

Natural Progression

Eggleton says she began her career in a commission/rental combo salon and moved to rental as soon as she had five to six clients a week, and could make more paying rent than working under a 60/40 split. The best way for new renters to get clients, she says, is through word of mouth. For every three referrals, she gives the referring client a free cut. Groupon can also work when you are starting out, she notes, but often, bargain-seekers are harder to retain.

 “When it comes to retention, be personable and honest about what’s best for the client’s hair,” she advises. “Because I am a color specialist, I can do that and use my expertise and confidence to gain their trust.”

Arriving at the point is a progression, she notes. In eight years of developing her social skills, focusing on continuing her education and building business through relationships, she now has a clientele ranging from early their 20s to 80 years old. She is booked three days a week with 10 clients on a busy day, to six or seven on a slow day. This allows her to tell clients who insist on potentially hair-damaging services (over-lightening) that she would rather have them go elsewhere than damage their hair and have to fix it.

“Six years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do that,” says Eggleton. “But if you are experienced and confident, clients will trust you and take your advice.”

While Eggleton keeps current with all the trends, she admits Colorado Springs can fall bit behind the times on edgier looks, and clients there prefer natural looks like blended highlights. Younger clients will progress to pastels, she speculates, but will not embrace obvious block color. “Clients here are outdoor types,” she notes.

And yes, it is Colorado, so she has had clients who come in with a legal high. “Whatever the situation, just be yourself, listen to your clients, be confident and don’t be afraid to change the subject when topics like politics, religion or personal preferences come up,” she advises. “Know your commonalities with your clients, and stay within appropriate limits.”



Pre-Booking Rate: 60%. Because I am busy working three days a week, I tell clients that those days fill up fast. When you are new, you may have to work whenever clients need you, but now, I can stick to my three-day schedule—I like my days off.

Weekly Rent: $175. Just one cut and color client brings in $148 and with tip, I usually make $170, so just one client practically pays the rent.

Best Hair Show: America’s Beauty Show, Chicago

Best Use of Social Media: Instagram. Use hashtags like #ombrehair, and new clients will find you.

Tracking the Books: I have a software program on my iPad and use a paper book as back up.

Credit Card Processing: Square

Extra Online Education: YouTube videos from regular stylists and colorists.

Favorite Products: Kenra for the backbar; Bedhead for styling

What’s Next: Taking my role as educator to the next level.


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