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Open love letter to every salon owner


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