The Making of A Green Concept Salon
Prior to moving to Springfield, Missouri in 2005, I had only worked in commission salons. Booth rent is not as common in other parts of the United States, and I didn’t even know what it was. I moved around the country in my earlier adult life and would always seek out the most popular salon in which to start building my clientele. I did the same when I moved here, and when I found out that it was booth rent, it scared me. It was stressful trying to figure out how to pay for my rent, my products, and my equipment while making very little income. I would come to the salon and sit all day, waiting for someone to walk in. With booth rent, you have to pay to work whether you’re working or not.
I was used to going to work and having all the backbar and color inventory I wanted. It made me feel limitless when it came to what I could do for my clients. But, as a booth renter, I struggled to keep the stock I needed. I found ways to reduce my color inventory and work with products that cost less, but still did the trick. I took pride in the idea of being a good enough colorist to use inferior product to create beautiful color. However, the cheaper products were unpredictable and limiting, so I had to go back to experimenting with other color lines. Time went by, and I eventually was able to splurge on a better dryer, better clippers, and keep my shears regularly sharpened. I got comfortable and experimented with ways to budget my business income. My biggest challenge was keeping my bill with the beauty supply store paid down.
As I was growing in my business, I started to notice the shortcomings of the salon. The towels were stained splotchy or ripped. The owner would add water to the back bar shampoos and conditioners to make them last longer. The front desk wasn’t always staffed, the store inventory wasn’t always stocked. To compensate, I would buy my own shampoos and conditioners, and started handling my clients appointments myself. The owner would put as many stations in the salon as possible because that was their biggest source of revenue to help pay for the salon overhead. This made for a loud salon that was overcrowded and overstimulating.
I got more independent and gained the confidence it took to start looking for better standards for my clients. Changing salons is a big deal and feels risky. It’s not just me that I was thinking about. It’s was my entire book of clients. As a stylist, we’re their caretakers. If we don’t do what is best for them, we’ll lose them. I knew that I needed to upgrade their experience, but I didn’t know which salon I could trust with us.
I knew that commission salons, when they’re run properly, are better quality because there is more money to put back into them, but the commission salons in my town either had too many people on top of one another, or there weren’t any openings. I was also worried about fitting in. Commission salons seem to be a tighter knit group because they often have a stronger culture than booth rent.
Booth rent is a bunch of independent people sharing a space, kind of like an RV campground or a storage unit facility. It’s great if everyone behaves and if the owners take care of the grounds. The more you pay, the more you get in return. But, the rent has to be competitive, so adding more stylists is the way to go. Elbow to elbow. Luckily I always liked the people I worked with. It would have been rough if I didn’t.
After running the numbers, I realized that booth rent and commission come out, roughly, the same. It’s just with booth rent, you feel like you’re making more, so it messes with your head. Commission: you, theoretically, get higher work environment standards. Booth rent: you pay the same, but get to pick what you pay for.
I decided to rent my own studio. That way I could have more control over the experience my clients had. I was able to offer them a completely green salon experience. All the smells, cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent was eco-friendly. I started importing organic products from a biodynamic farm in Italy. I researched the best products, filters, towels, and treatments and gave my clients the best service I could offer. I did a ton for free and fine-tuned my services to be able to allow for all the extras without taking extra time or costing extra money. I spoiled them. Word spread and, after a little over two years, I outgrew my studio.
I debated about growing and adding other stylists to my concept, or just staying in the studio and playing it safe. I started to notice little things, like the smell of cigarettes near the front door, the lack of parking, and the tough exit on the busy street. I wanted something better for my clients. I loved my studio, but I knew we could do better. It was time to grow. But I needed whatever I grew into to not end up like every other elbow to elbow salon. I wanted to continue to spoil my clients. I even wanted the chance to spoil whoever worked for me. I want my salon to be known as an awesome place to work.
I found a space in an underserved, and growing part of town. We’re right off the highway for easy access, and right near an intersection for full visibility. We have tons of windows for all plants and natural light. I’ve created a large version of my little green studio salon, and am ready to add stylists who are wanting something more for the clients. A place that is clean, fully stocked, not watered down, and has a zen vibe. It’s a well-kept salon for well-kept stylists so they offer their clients their best.
I want the standards for salon life raised. I have a plan, and I’ll go first. I’ll show you what I mean. I’m excited to see who gravitates to this green concept salon.
If you’re curious about the details, swing by the salon. We’ll make you some organic tea, give you a tour, and answer all of your questions.
If you’re ready to apply, click the button below.
If you are growing, you will always be out of your comfort zone.