What you see vs. What you don't see:
Salon Owner Edition
This one goes out to anyone who has ever owned or wanted to own a brick and mortar salon.
Now, before the Cosmo Karen's come for me, I still have mad love for suite owners. I've been one a dozen times over & am about to be one again for a few years as I shift my focus from the beauty industry to my personal life this next chapter.
However, there is a massive difference between the responsibilities one has if we are comparing the two.
As someone who has owned 2, learn from my discoveries and heartbreaks.
Feelings vs. Facts: most artist's don't know the difference. And as a creative woman-dominated industry, a lot of decisions are based on feelings rather than logic or facts.
I myself have made the majority of my business decisions (until recently) based on my emotional state and how I felt, or thought I would make others feel. This has unfortunately led to a lot of breaking my own heart moments.
I say break my own heart- because no matter what others do or say, they are not responsible or in charge of YOUR feelings. YOU are. And I always have such grace for myself and can acknowledge how my own actions and patterns lead me to certain situations, not only in business, but in life once I can step back and reflect. Owning our own bullshit is the halfway point when it comes to healing.
In theme of playing the comparison game, which lets BFFR, we are all guilty AF of in the beauty industry.
Let's compare the difference between suite + salon owners.
Suite owners are responsible for:
-Average Monthly rent which is around $1200 for a single suite across the market currently
-Decorating the space, it's the fun part!
-Supplying color- bleach, demi, permanent, toners, all levels of developer
-Supplying shampoo/back bar
-Supplying station products/and or bridal kits/makeup
-Supplying capes, towels, foils, bowls + color brushes
-Supplying hot tools, and cutting implements
-Supplying clips, combs, styling brushes
Either taking your laundry/towels home each night or paying for on site loads is really common when renting suites
-Typically a booking + POS system are not provided
-Running your own socials for marketing and client leads, paying for ad's and marketing materials
-Personal Cos License, insurance/liability
-Snacks, drinks, and any extra's to improve the guest experience
Salon owners are responsible for:
-The above list, sometimes x10 if it's a commission salon and they have stylist as employees
-If the salon is a co working space where the stylist just rent chairs the owner still has to supply themself with the above list, but most of us typically have added benefits to give the stylists the best of both worlds, and provide shampoo back bar, snacks, drinks and other like amenities.
Plus, the salon owner of a brick and mortar space has the added responsibility of the following:
-Double sometimes triple the amount of overhead rent (I was paying $4k+ a month for my space)
-Utilities; gas, electric, water, wifi, trash pick up (which totaled in $600+ / month for me)
-Real Estate taxes twice a year (I paid $2-3k every 6 months for mine)
-Furnishing the entire building/stations/rooms
-City permits, additional Salon License, Liability, and business insurance coverage
-A website domain, host, and google listing with SEO marketing
-Running and maintaining a separate social media precense, ads and marketing materials
-Even if you don't own the building, under a commercial lease the tenant (salon owner) is responsible for any and all maintenance issues that occur under the leasing term (furnace breaks, sinks leak, shit happens)
- Toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, and the basics, like the maintenance issues are provided for you by the suite company you are an affiliate with but salon owners are fully responsible for providing and maintaining
-Cleaning and maintaining a neat and sanitary work environment. Most suites are also corporate companies that have cleaning companies come in once or twice a week, however salons are responsible for doing or delegating this task out
- Music/sound systems to provide an enjoyable environments for stylists and guest
-I'm sure there are a dozen other things I am forgetting. So "etc."
What you really don't see:
Aside from the financial responsibility, salon owners also have to navigate leadership and balancing lots of personalities, energies, schedules, and like I mentioned prior, in this industry there are hella emotions and 'feelings' to consider when your work environment is full of independent, confident, striving for success, women.
In my eyes I failed at most of the things on that list
I made hella mistakes, was taken advantage of and took advantage of others at times
I would go back and do a million things different, and if I am being fully transparent
I would have never opened this current salon without more capitol saved, or a potential partnership
But my first brick and mortar salon was opened with friends turned business partners, in the midst of my divorce and becoming single mother. I ended up walking away from that investment and those partnerships to start over, and maintain my mental health.
However. I was a woman scorned and had so much to prove to myself (and in my head everyone else) that I built this 2nd brick and mortor from ego and living out old versions of myself's dreams
And as a single mother, as one income household, with no active investors (just a friend who blessed me with a $5k, no interest loan post pandemic) hardly any savings and no business loans for start up cost I am still really fucking proud of everything I accomplished the last 2 years
I didn't have partners to bounce ideas off of, or to split expenses with
I didn't have a management team in place to delegate tasks to, or to run things while I was out of town (which iykyk- I split my time between Columbus + Detroit as my boyfriend matched there 6 months after I opened my salon when he graduated med school)
I didn't have a, healthy, solid support system during this journey what so ever
Even the group of friends I thought were in my corner, I let down, they let me down and we all ended up betraying one another in each others eyes. Remember there's always three sides to every story. Theirs. Mine. And God's. And none of us are wrong.
But I still somehow managed to keep the lights + wifi on, pass all state board inspections with flying colors, and provide luxury amenities most of the time to the stylist who rented from me and their guest's. Not to mention all the things I do behind the scenes for my teams. From hosting dinners at my home or pop up events at the salon, to certifying most of them in extensions to help increase their revenue and mentoring.
And on a personal, very fucking vulnerable level, if you were to swipe through my highlight reel these last 2 years I would have appeared to be living my "best life" . And it be would have appeared to be most wealthy version yet as I 'owned' one of the best located salons in downtown Columbus,OH and spent so much time traveling to see my boyfriend and thriving as a mom and friends.
These last two years I was the richest + the poorest version of myself.
At times when the salon was full and life was lucrative I was passively making close to $10k passively a month, which didn't include the $5-8k+ a month I could personally make behind the chair as an independent stylist myself.
During others, when the least talked about but most common thing happens in the beauty industry occurs- turnover - I would struggle to pay not only the salons bills, but my own as the overhead was so high and something that was hard to maintain on a single stylist's income.
Note to self, I've said this before and I will say it a million more, 10/10 only recommend securing spaces based upon your personal income vs losses profits so that you aren't in over your head or aren't dependent on others income to sustain.
Again, Rookie ass mistake.
Learn from my mistakes, as I experienced the ebb and flow of the beauty industry and my income rapidly decreased when stylists would make career or life changes.
During those lows, trying to keep the salon doors open, to keep everyone happy, I sacrificed so much and put everything/one before myself. There were months I would pay the salon bills over my own personal ones or stylists would pay their rent late(like I said, managing and relying on others is something they don't teach us in Cos School)
This lead to a few months of coming home to eviction notices on my apartment door and having to grab it before my daughter could see and ask what it said. Or weeks of not having enough gas money to drive to Detroit to visit my boyfriend without having to borrow money from him. I had to raid my parents pantry more times than I would like to admit & tell my daughter we didn't have the extra funds for chick fil a that day.
So the next time you think about coming for a salon owner, their commission rates, or why they haven't replace that thing in the salon.... I would run through this list mentally, and ask yourself if this was me, if this was my life, if this was happening to my best friend or loved one, what kind of grace + understanding would I expect or what would I give me if I was in their shoes?
You truly never know what someone is going through behind closed doors and beyond highlight reel
Not when you can slap a preset or filter over your trauma and call it boss bitch mode
This next chapter is about me and mine
And by that I mean, I am going to put myself before the beauty industry for once, and kick my ego's ass one last time as I believe that anything built from ego will dissolve itself as we evolve.
This last salon location was 100% built from my ego looking back. I felt I had so much to prove to old Molly who walked away from her first "dream salon"
And I wanted to make a name and income for myself as a single mother after my divorce....
Which I guess I did. I proved my old self wrong, I was able to still put my daughter through private school and pay off over $20k in debt when things were lucrative and thriving. However, after a long cry sesh with my financial advisor he said something that will forever be apart of my decision making in the future...
"You can only invest in what you can control + don't chase the returns"
For the second half of the year (you know the whole second year we all had in 2022 I swear I've lived two years this year) I have been chasing the returns and not facing reality. Chasing those $10k passive monthly income returns.
The life I want to live over the next few years doesn't even have space for a brick and mortar salon. And it's not built on money and how much of it is in my bank account.
The life I want to live is going to require me to move states, travel for work, and educate online.
The life I want to live is about impacting the beauty industry as a whole, not just within the walls of my salons.
The life I want allows me to share my beauty industry cheat codes with new stylist and cultivating a small, intimate team of like minded women who are ready to chase their dreams...
But to remember and remind them, that dreams change. It's okay to not believe the things you believed yesterday if that's no longer your truth.
It's brave AF to walk away from versions of your dreams you have outgrown, to cut your dead ends- and we aren't talking hair here hoes. ✌🏻
I have been resisting this new chapter and avoiding change for months now.
But all along, this was always the plan for me, always what was next, I just couldn't see it- let alone accept it when I was still operating from ego and not a place a pure love and trust in the universe and what my purpose is, within the industry.
So come 2023, catch me downsizing, making lateral moves, and relieving myself of all the extra responsibility as I focus on me and mines
I don’t really know what that looks like,
so stay tuned for season t w o