Salons and beauty services are a growing franchise sector – in fact, economic reports have shown that the industry is growing at a clip of 8.5 percent annually. This is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurially minded individuals who are looking to either grow their current business ventures or exploring franchising as an option.
Within the salon industry, however, there are trends too – namely, salon suites are becoming very popular. The simplest way to explain the difference between a salon suite and a traditional salon is ownership – in a traditional salon, the stylist doesn’t own anything, but pays a commission to the salon. In a salon suite, the stylist is simply renting out a private space in a salon complex, meaning that he or she has 100 percent ownership and takes in 100 percent of revenue.
Salon suites are very private, and each suite has four walls and its own door. For clients who appreciate the one-on-one interaction with the stylist, this is a big selling point. In a traditional salon atmosphere, there is a lot of hustle and bustle, with multiple chairs and mirrors in a row where clients can see what’s going on around them.
Stylists in salon suites are given the flexibility to book appointments that fit into their schedules. For example, if your salon suite is situated near a hospital and many of your clients are nurses, you can accommodate their night schedules by opening your suite during nontraditional hours. This is one example of the many ways salon suite stylists can tailor their business to fit their desired clientele, which helps deliver better results and build stronger client relationships.
Stylists in traditional salons are often incentivized to sell products and retail items on a very small commission – sometimes 10 percent or less. In a salon suite, stylists make 100 percent commission by selling products they truly believe in. They can recommend products for their clients on a more personalized basis without the pressure of the sales environment.
A traditional salon often has an overall theme, which is apparent to the clients from the time they walk through door, as well as throughout the styling and grooming experience. Individual stylists may have the option of customizing their respective stations with the support of the property manager. In a salon suite, each stylist has complete control over the look and feel of his or her suite. From the equipment and tools used to the paint color, decals and wall décor, each stylist has the opportunity to express his or her creativity in his or her surroundings. In essence, they’re taking the first step in building their personal brand.
The creative and entrepreneurial individuals who thrive in the salon suite atmosphere are just that: entrepreneurs. They have discovered within themselves a desire to create an experience larger than them and serve their community with the best salon, grooming and styling services on the market. Everything from their equipment to the atmosphere of their suite reflects who they are as stylists.
These stylists are artists who have been dreaming of their own businesses for years. They’re passionate about visual elements and they are connected to their space. They’re interested in creating their own brand – whatever it may be. The salon suite atmosphere helps empower stylists to share who they are as individuals and connect deeply with the type of clients they wish to attract.
They’ve often worked themselves through the ranks, beginning at a budget-friendly salon in a more collaborative environment, renting out a chair and focusing on paying their dues to the salon. Eventually, their skills begin to speak for themselves and they develop even more passion for their craft. This sort of entrepreneurial ladder leads straight to salon suites. It’s not for everyone, but many have found great success as part of the salon suite concept.
Whatever your background in the salon and beauty services industry, there’s plenty of great franchise concepts out there. As Gary Ratner, president of Salon Plaza, says – it’s important for a stylist to find a partner that’s on your side when it comes to your success and independence as a business owner and that’s the core of our business.
Stacy Eley is the director of operations at MY SALON Suite, part of Suite Management Franchising based in New Orleans. Founded in 2012, Suite Management Franchising’s brands, which also include Salon Plaza, offer more than 60 salon suite locations in the United States and Canada. More than a thousand salon owners have joined the movement and own their own salon in one of Suite Management Franchises’ suites across North America.