Very few salons empower their stylist with the ability to self-promote when building their own brands and expanding their client unless it benefits of the owner…mostly!
Most owners and managers are afraid of successful stylist becoming bigger than the salon itself or leaving them and taking clients with them. Fear and the lack of planning have left some salon owners feeling betrayed and overwhelmed, taking the changes personally. Some responses to the topographical shifts have been to; constantly monitor stylist for breaches of protocol, adding non-compete clauses into employment agreements, restricting cell phones from the salon floor, and worse, firing stylist for passing out personal business cards to customers. Wrong Move!
Unfortunately, technology and stylist mobility guarantees the reformation of the salon landscape. Smartphones have indeed changed the game with the advent of free online booking apps, ‘Paypal’ and other mobile POS (point-of-sale) systems like ‘the Square’, have made the necessity of salon life optional. Stylist CAN operate efficiently on their own and within their own salon space or suite…..and ARE!
Add to that the personal relationship most clients have with their hairdresser, not necessarily, the salon. Try as you like but with the advent of social media powerhouses like Styleseat, Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram; good luck controlling the ebb and flow of clients to stylist.
Beauty industry professionals, particularly, ‘the good ones’, have more options than ever in today’s market. And with the salon week being shortened or reduced down to only the busiest days; Thursday thru Saturday, stylist and make up artist have more flexibility to take on lucrative contract work. Supplementing income Monday through Wednesday has become very popular and very smart for beauty mavens. Demand is up for talented hairstylist and make up artist with positions ranging from product representative, educator, platform artist ….if your lucky or unlucky (depending on the Diva) enough to land a celebrity client you may only spend one week a month behind-the-chair.
Embrace and celebrate your industrious and entrepreneurial staff, WORK WITH THEM NOT AGAINST THEM. A collaborative environment is one where both owner and stylist both benefit from a mutually agreed upon arrangement. Salon owners should take advantage of highly requested stylist by presenting them with in salon opportunities that go a long way in acknowledging their value to your organization.
- Non traditional scheduling
- Aggressive commission strategy
- headhunters or Recruitment bonuses
- Promotion i.e Artistic Director, Marketing Director,Product Ambassador, Senior Stylist
- Ownership opportunities (profit centers or franchise opportunities)
Even if all of your efforts to accommodate your staff fail, which will happen, for no fault of your own or the stylist. Send them off with your blessing and offer as much support as possible. Its better to build a bridge than to burn it down….your run-a-way stylist may need it to get back home!
Meanwhile, double your recruiting efforts to build and develop your team. The perks of having highly requested stylist in your salon builds your brand as well as their own. Capitalize and encourage your stylist success by accommodating the new clients they attract even if they’re too busy to take them. Partner new or junior stylist with your senior more seasoned staff members to assist and hopefully pick up tips and tricks of the trade; hopefully those same junior assistants can fill in for their more senior co-workers.
The take away is…you can’t force loyalty; the best you can do is remain flexible, supportive and transparent. Successful stylist are a bonus, high maintenance, but the good outweighs the bad. The key to management is to motivate and lead your team, find out what they want, set goals and challenge them to exceed these goals. The result is brand loyalty, increased revenue and satisfied customers!
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