Opening a salon can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the beauty industry. There are many benefits. You are free to operate everything the way you please with potential for greater earnings. You can choose to be hands-on and still style clients or be more hands-off, hiring others to take over.
However, there are some drawbacks. Running a business of any kind means that you are always on the clock as there is always something to do. It means that you have to manage your money well. It means that it is crucial to have some entrepreneurial traits. According to Forbes, some of the most essential skills to be a successful business owner include resilience, gut intelligence, vision, leadership, and sense of community.
I was intrigued by Kiss Salon located at the Ritz Carlton Hotel snuggled in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C, so I reached out to learn more about how Kiss Salon owner and master stylist, Jean Claude, operates his business. Claude’s background with hairstyling started in France with the Haute Coiffure Franchise under the mentorship of world-renowned stylists Jacques Dessange, Maniatis, and Alexandre de Paris, according to his salon’s website. He then relocated to Georgetown, working his way up to master colorist and becoming extremely in-demand in the Washington D.C. area.
Claude opened his salon in August 2021 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most challenging times for the beauty industry, in hopes that there will be substantial opportunities when the economy restarts. The most critical advice he recommended in a nutshell is being financially secure, having positive energy, and hiring a strong team at the very start. Not only is a salon’s team one of the most important aspects for success, Claude also said that working with his team is the best part about being a salon owner.
“To create the team and the energy of your salon is the best part,” he said. “Joy and happiness are extremely important as we spend a lot of time at work, and that energy transfers to our clients.”
On the flip side, Claude said that the worst part about being a salon owner is the “financial burden” that the start-up creates since it is an investment as well as the lack of vacation time. There are very specific things that go into opening up a salon that take time and money such as developing a loyal client base, advertising something different than other salons, talking to distributors to get supplies, and obtaining all the proper licencing beyond a cosmetology license (e.g. salon license, building permit, sanitation license, and employer identification number), according to Business News Daily. At the end of our talk, Claude emphasized the need to trust your own judgment to make your salon as amazing as possible.
“Many salon owners, when they open their salon, have a tendency to copy the policies of their old salon, even the parts that make them leave that specific salon,” said Claude. “Be sure to create a place where your team members will want to be for a long time.”