Posted on October 7, 2015
At Sola Salon Studios, our goal is to make it easy for beauty professionals to own and manage their own businesses. From our onboarding process and ongoing educational offerings to our superior social media prowess, here are a few lesser-known tidbits to help you take full advantage of all of the benefits associated with salon ownership through Sola.
We’ve Taken the Guesswork out of Launching a New Business
Flying solo sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Before opening up shop, you’ll have to obtain salon and sales tax licenses, and file your trade name registration. Don’t sweat it: Sola managers are ready to help with a comprehensive start-up manual that makes the entrepreneurial process simple by providing incoming stylists with all of the requisite forms and necessary information.
“We try to provide all of the support a stylist will need,” says Director of Marketing, Jennie Wolff. Sola’s knowledgeable managers, Jennie notes, make it a point to be available for new Sola owners; they’ll answer questions about everything from registering an LLC to setting prices for services. Resume breathing — we’re here to help.
Our Sola Stylists Shine in the Limelight
In today’s fast-paced market, tapping into social media is essential to the health of every modern business — especially a small one. You already know that Sola provides stylists with a basic platform for setting up a website, and you know that we encourage our salon owners to build separate business website, too, and be active on Facebook, Instagram Twitter and Pinterest.
We don’t just provide you with a domain, though; we’ve taken it a step further by giving our salon owners access to one of the most powerful marketing tools available: visibility in the media.
“We work with Modern Salon, Behind the Chair, American Salon and Beauty Launchpad, among others,” explains Jennie. Sola Salon Studios publishes articles on these mainstay industry platforms with the ultimate goal of putting as many of our salon owners into the spotlight as possible. We also feature a new stylist every month on our Sola blog. “Sola gets you one step closer to the spotlight,” explains Jennie.
Sola also showcases in-house stylists on Facebook and Instagram daily. With nearly 40,000 likes, our Sola Salon Studios Facebook page is another “great way for stylists to get their names out into the community,” as Jennie puts it.
If you need more ideas for tapping into social media, check out our blog, which covers an array of current social media topics with articles such as 10 Facebook Promotion Ideas for Salon Studios, How to Use Pinterest Effectively and Salon Newsletter Best Practices.
There’s a Bonus for Retail, and We Want You to Use It!
When you’re the boss, you decide what fills the shelves. Retail, most industry veterans know, plays a huge role in building salon culture, and it can seriously augment a stylist’s income. That’s why Sola gives its incoming salon owners a $400 dollar retail bonus on signing.
“We talk about the retail bonus a lot,” Jennie says, adding, “What’s really cool is that it’s not solely for putting product on the shelf and cash in the pocket – it’s really about getting in the retail game for long term success.”
Based on industry-standard markups, $400 worth of product is actually $800 worth of sales, explains Jennie. “Many of our new stylists haven’t gotten to retail themselves yet,” Jennie says. “The whole idea with the retail bonus,” she continues, “is to jump start the second part of a stylist’s business with retail income because that’s a great way to increase overall revenue.”
In order to take full advantage of this Sola-specific incentive, Jennie recommends being thoughtful about initial retail decisions: Take the time to find the right distributor and sales rep— your local manager can help get you hooked up with one that suits your needs, and can help you discern the benefits associated with various lines.
Opting for a certain product, for example, might mean a closer relationship with a sales rep — one who will keep you informed about specials and new product intros. And, don’t overlook access to education and on-going support; these are things that help savvy stylists stay ahead in a fast-paced industry.
“Remember,” Jennie adds, “At Sola you get 100 percent of your retail profits, and that’s why we really encourage stylists to use the bonus on retail, not just combs, capes and clips. We want everyone to get into the retail game.”
Sola Values Ongoing Education
“One of our biggest goals is to keep stylists connected with the professional beauty industry,” says Jennie. Sola’s national team attends larger beauty events in order to bring the latest industry offerings to our network of salon owners. For instance, check out our blog for takeaways from the recent Business rEvolution 2-day event.
Speaking of national, Sola’s home office is gearing up to launch an educational website, Sola Professional, as a platform for giving stylists better, more convenient access to education.
And, in 2016 Sola is rolling out a national educational event series that will bring four unique events to stylists working within the Sola community. The series kicks off in February in Denver, and will give our impressive team of owners exclusive time with some of the biggest names in the industry.
You don’t have to wait until the New Year, though, to supplement your knowledge. Sola is home to some of the best educators that the salon industry has to offer, and that’s one of the biggest advantages to being part of this robust community.
“A lot of times you can work locally,” Jennie says, encouraging stylists to, “Identify leaders at your Sola, and build your own classes.” That’s exactly what happened at Sola Salons Alexandria, where long-time stylist Sue Scott routinely imparts her knowledge on fellow salon owners; you can read more about Sue’s informal educational offerings here.
Our Friends are Kind of a Big Deal
“When it comes to online scheduling and software, we have a lot of companies coming to the table with special offerings for our 6,000 professionals,” Jennie says. For Sola stylists, that translates into deep discounts on business management software.
“We offer special deals with Booker, Schedulicity, StyleSeat and Vagaro,” Jennie says. Each program has an incentive for snagging Sola stylists.
“There’s a lot you can do with online software, and it’s practically a necessity for modern salon owners,” explains Jennie. Each of the programs above act as one-stop-shops for customer management: They offer conveniences like credit card processing and retail management, and they’ll help stylists boost marketing efforts through email blasts and promotional flyers, too.
These programs also equip stylists with online booking services — another modern day must. “As a Sola stylist you are your own salon manager,” Jennie reminds. “With online booking, clients don’t have to wait for a call back from you; they can book 24-hours a day.”
We’ll Help You Jumpstart Your Décor
Sola’s studios are move-in ready, and Jennie says, “Most managers will help you paint your studio the color of your choice.”
Beyond covering the cost of paint, studio managers are happy to assist salon owners by coordinating and completing the color operation, making the decorating process easy from the get-go. From there, managers can help you get your suite ready for that very first client: They’ll hang your TV and help with Internet and cable hook-ups. And, because you’re part of a larger space, the costs associated with Internet and TV are significantly lower than what you’d expect to find with a stand-alone shop.
Once the basics are taken care of, check the Sola Salon blog for ways to really amp up your studio’s ambiance. Some of our favorite articles include 10 (Super Easy) Ways to Style Your Boutique Salon, Air Purifying Plants to Freshen Your Salon Studio and Refreshing Spa-ahh Water Recipes.
We’ve Found a Way to Give our Stylists the Best of Both Worlds
Salon owners within the Sola community are constantly harping on how Sola offers them the best of both worlds. What they mean is that Sola’s stylists reap all of the benefits associated with a larger salon community – mentorship, camaraderie and referrals, for starters – but, because our owners operate out of private studios, they never experience the traditional salon drama, and nobody’s pocketing their hard-earned profits. Taking advantage of this last secret is easy: all you have to do is open or close the door to your private salon studio!