Salon Suite Operations Newest Tact is to Beef-Up Education

Published on: 06/29/2019 12:04 pm

Today, Suite Renters Have More Choices Than Ever in Free or Affordable Training.

Suite renters want educational opportunities that are convenient, affordable and fun, and suite owners are obliging. Naturally, manufacturers want to connect with suite renters directly, so they were the first to send educators marching in. But now, private educators, renters who are also trainers and even educational reimbursements are coming into play. What’s notable here: Employee-stylists often complain about mandatory training sessions they aren’t paid to attend, but suite renters, who opt-in, are demanding and getting the quality education they need.

Stage Shows and Beyond

Thanks to economies of scale, Sola Salon Studios offers the Holy Grail: The Sola Sessions, which feature several educators and are held in hotel ballrooms across the country. Vendors often have an area for their own “Side Sessions” supplemental education, and nearly 200 salon professionals gathered at the most recent one in Dallas. Phenix Salon Suites held its first “Education Experience” in late 2015, featuring workshops from its own Phenix International Artistic Team. But even smaller operations can help renters stay up to date. For instance, Style Suites notes at its website that it reimburses renters for attendance at a hair show or workshop of their choice and offers the opportunity to have all of Ohio’s CE hours paid for by the company.

Jon Haigwood, president of the new Salon Independence in Columbus, IN, is a licensed cosmetologist and former salon owner who remains part owner of Salon Concepts. In his own operation, he applies everything he has learned in his extensive beauty-industry career. He says that education hasn’t changed much; perhaps, it’s just more in-demand in suites. To that end, he offers renters various options. The most common education classes are coordinated through himself and local distributors.

Jon Haigwood says renters at Salon Independence can request classes. They currently favor ones in high-ticket hair extensions and smoothing services.

“First we find a venue, then, working with distributors and manufacturers, we secure top-quality educators and sell discounted tickets to our renters,” says Haigwood. “We usually invite stylists from outside our operation to create awareness of our educational agenda. We also hold several smaller, hands-on classes within our building that are typically free to our stylists. Additionally, local accountants will conduct free educational seminars for our stylists.”

Technical Versus Business Training

At iStudio Salons, the marketing department once taught many of the official classes that were tailored to help renters succeed. According to Brittani Johnson, iStudio Salons’ Marketing Manager, these included Intro to Studio Ownership, Tips and Tricks to Generate New Clients, Beginner Social Media, Intermediate Social Media, Advanced Social Media, Website Design & Development and iStudio Salons Website, which taught renters how complete a successful profile on the corporate site. While these were held at the corporate-office conference room, Pivot Point haircutting classes were held in a hotel.

Pivot Point’s cutting classes got a big turnout at iStudio Salons.

“The cutting classes were $75 each and the others were free,” says Johnson. “In the end, the Pivot Point classes were the most popular. Now we’re revamping our educational offerings. We want to bring in experts who relate to salon professionals, who also provide content that will be of value to them.

“We’re arranging speakers for a business-management component that’s geared toward small business owners and will include social-media marketing. We are attempting to have the educators within our community teach others, as well. Additionally, we’re looking into a social-media training portal geared towards hairstylists, which we can provide to our renters. In the interim, we’re scheduling one-on-one sessions with our salon professionals to provide marketing guidance.”

The Future of Education

While many manufacturers are investing heavily in on-line education and videos, hairdressers who check them out and share them still crave local hands-on learning classes. When they pay to travel to the big shows, they want to see friends and industry social media stars. And while most say they want education to be “pure business” what they really mean is that they don’t want technical classes to be all about product sales. When it comes to learning about accounting and running a business, creative beauty pros want education to be visual, not boring.

“Stylists are ‘hands-on’ individuals who learn more effectively at a hands-on event,” notes Haigwood. “I believe videos are an effective way to gain stylists’ interest, as well as to educate them in areas of product knowledge. But when it comes to creativity, hands-on education will always prevail.”

Adds Johnson, “In the future, I see our education being easy and accessible for our salon professionals. We genuinely care about them and their success, and want to provide valuable education that re-energizes them and helps them build their craft.”

Gina Rivera

Gina Rivera

Beauty Icon and Expert

Gina Rivera skyrocketed to success when the company she founded in 2007, Phenix Salon Suites, became the fastest-growing salon suite company in the beauty industry. With more than 300 locations nationally and international expansion occurring in the UK, Entrepreneur Magazine named Phenix Salon Suites a Top 500 Franchise list seven years running.